What to Expect with a Home Inspection

June 29, 2021

Buying a home is likely the biggest investment you’ll ever make. A home inspection gives you a better understanding of the property, discovering any underlying issues with the home, so that you can complete your home purchase with confidence.

Home inspection

Your real estate agent should be able to recommend several well-qualified home inspectors, or you can choose your own inspector. Your real estate agent can also answer any questions you have about the inspection process or the resulting inspection report about the overall condition of the home.

Who schedules a home inspection and when?

The home inspection should take place after you make your offer but before you close on the home. As the homebuyer, you are responsible for hiring an inspector and scheduling the inspection.

Typically, the homebuyer is also responsible for paying for the inspection, but this is something you may be able to negotiate with the seller.

In some cases, the seller will have the home inspected before listing it. This pre-listing inspection isn’t required, but it gives the seller the option to fix any potential issues before they come up during the buyer’s inspection.

Even if the seller has done an inspection before listing the house, you should still arrange for a home inspection by an inspector of your choice before closing.

What happens during a home inspection?

During a home inspection, the inspector will look at the home’s interior and exterior features to identify any health, safety or mechanical issues. The inspector will look at the following:

  • Roof
  • Plumbing
  • Electrical components
  • Appliances
  • Heating and air conditioning systems
  • Ventilation
  • Windows
  • Fireplace and chimney
  • Foundation
  • Attic and any of its visible insulation
  • Basement
  • Floors

After completing the inspection, you’ll get a detailed report about the overall condition of the home, including any issues and necessary or recommended repairs.

As the potential new owner, it’s recommended that you be present for the inspection. That way, the inspector can explain the results directly to you, and you can ask questions about the findings.

What happens if a home fails inspection?

It’s important to note that a home inspector does not pass or fail a home. Instead, the inspector will point out conditions that may require repair or replacement.

If the inspection uncovers major issues with the home, and if you have an inspection contingency clause in your purchase agreement, your contingency gives you the chance to back out of your offer within a specific timeframe without penalty.

You might consider asking the seller to make the repairs or negotiating the sale price before walking away from buying the home.

Is a home inspection required to buy a home?

A home inspection is strongly recommended as part of the homebuying process. The home inspection will reveal any underlying or potential problem areas in the home before they become bigger, costlier issues for you.

If the inspection reveals no red flags, you can proceed with the confidence that you’re making a solid investment.

Note: Lenders don’t always require a home inspection, but they do require an appraisal, which considers both the value of the property and its condition.

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