Home Inspection 101 For The Home Buyer

Why is the home inspector the buyer’s best friend? In a real estate transaction, there are many parties involved with different interests. The buyer, the seller, the real estate agent, the mortgage broker, the appraiser, the attorney, the title company, the insurance company and the home inspector. The inspector and the buyer’s attorney are the buyer’s best friend because they help protect the buyer’s interests. A home inspector is hired by the buyer most often to inspect the house he/she is buying to offer a professional and unbiased report on the condition of the house. So what is at stake here for the buyer? The money he is going to pay for the house as well as the future money he is going to pay for the house plus his and his family’s health

How does they buyer choose a home inspector? What are the fees associated with a home inspection? Since a home inspection is so important, a buyer should choose a inspector carefully. A buyer should not choose a inspector just based on the fee he charges. Ask questions about what he is going to inspect and how long his inspections take and how quick his report will be ready. There are home inspectors who charge $100 to $150 flat fee inspections, but whose inspection takes 1/2 hour to 1 hour and those inspections are not as accurate or has the quality as those inspections which require more time and equipment. A good inspection of a house can take 3 to 4 hours at a fee of $500 dollars. This fee is minuscule compared to the price of the house.

When should a buyer get a inspection done? Never use the home inspector your real estate agent refer to you even if the agent represents the buyer. This is obvious because the success of the transaction hinges on the outcome of the inspection. Nor use the home inspection an attorney refers you. To get the most unbiased home inspector, pick one who is not related to the other parties of the transaction. You should get the inspection done before you go into contract.

When should a seller get a inspection done? A seller should get a inspection done before he list his home for sale with a real estate agent.

What does a home inspector inspect? A general home inspection is defined by different home inspection organizations. One of the largest home inspection organizations is NACHI. Membership with one of the home inspection organizations is a good sign the inspector is following some standards of practice when he does his inspections. Click on this link to view the InterNACHI Standards of Practice.

How does a inspection help the home buyer save money? The answer is an inspection will most likely reveal a defect with the house you are buying that would cost some money to fix in the future if you are going to buy the house. You can save some money here by bringing up all the defects the inspection report reveals up to the negotiation process before you sign the contract, make the earnest money deposit, or the deposit.

Home Inspections… Just Another Expense?

Congratulations! You’ve found the perfect home, and now it’s time to do the offer and close the deal. If you’re like many people, you may be feeling a cash crunch by this time. You may be wondering why you would want to incur yet another expenditure, such as a home inspection. A valid consideration!

In my experience, a home inspection can do two important things.

Firstly, you will have an unbiased, professional opinion of the overall condition of the home, and an understanding of any areas of concern. You can be made aware of hidden or unrecognizable defects or potential problems in the home.

Secondly and equally important, is the opportunity to have a thorough explanation of how to operate and maintain the home. The inspector can give you a wealth of information about the different types of systems and components in the home. He or she will also cover how each system works, life expectancies, current conditions, and advice that will help you to move in and live more successfully in your new home.

As a purchaser, you can use the inspection as a seminar in home ownership.

10 Tips for Best Value:

Here are some tips on how to get the maximum out of your home inspection:

1. Recognize that from a structural or mechanical point of view there are few, if any, perfect houses. Don’t be disappointed if the inspector indicates numerous items in the house that are in need of repair, maintenance or monitoring. Most of these items will likely be minor in nature. Only a small percentage of homes have significant structural or mechanical deficiencies.

2. Ask questions. If you’re not sure – stop the inspector and ask. Inquire about timing for suggested repairs. Should they be done immediately, or can they wait a month, or a year? This will help you determine your budget more accurately.

3. Ask for possible solutions for any areas that need repair. There’s usually more than one way to make a repair. The more options you have, the better the choices you can make for yourself.

4. A pre-purchase inspection can be used to view the house more objectively. And this can assist you in being more comfortable with your purchase.

5. Realize that the age of the home may have an impact on the condition of the systems and components. However, “older” does not necessarily mean problematic. Many older materials and workmanship are of high quality, and have longer life expectancies than their modern replacements.

6. Do your research and choose an inspection company wisely. Not all companies offer the same services and levels of professionalism.

7. Look for someone who is a professional home inspector. Even an architect or an engineer is not automatically a good home inspector.

8. Inquire about the level of experience of the individual inspector. Finding the symptoms and clues of problems, and deducing their meaning can’t be learned by building new homes, or doing renovations. On-site practical experience is proven to be the best preparation for inspecting resale homes.

9. Look for an inspector or company you feel comfortable with, in terms of their ability to communicate with you. An inspector should be able to empathize with your individual situation – otherwise you may lose a valuable opportunity to learn the most about your new home.

10, Finally, if you can hold that any problems or defects are not something “terribly wrong” with the property and look at them simply from “how much will it cost, in terms of time or money” to correct things – then you’ll have a better, and more objective understanding of the true nature of the situation.

The Bottom Line:

A pre-purchase home inspection won’t eliminate all the risk associated with home ownership. It can however, be a value-added, information gathering process that gives you a better understanding of your new home.

Home Inspection: Pre-inspected Listings

The future of real estate?

* Home inspections have traditionally been for the benefit of the purchaser.

* Pre-inspected listings benefit all parties – purchasers, vendors and Realtors.

Deals are less likely to fall through.
Home inspections, performed as a condition of the offer, can kill deals – and often needlessly. Sometimes this is because the purchaser gets cold feet; sometimes there’s a big problem no one knew about. Sometimes it is because the house has been misrepresented; sometimes it is because the home inspector scared the purchasers by not explaining that minor and typical problems are just that – minor and typical.

If the home inspection is performed prior to the house being listed, all parties will be aware of the physical condition of the house before an offer is drawn. There will be less likelihood for surprises after the fact. Deals will be less likely to fall through.

Pre-inspected listings can avoid renegotiation.
In a buyer’s market, most houses have to be sold twice. It takes a lot of work to get a signed Agreement of Purchase and Sale… then the home inspection is conducted and the purchaser wants to renegotiate.

If all parties know the condition of the house prior to the offer, there is generally a lesser need for renegotiation. As most Realtors know, renegotiation can be very difficult. Vendors have already mentally sold the house; purchasers are suffering from ‘buyers’ remorse’. Egos, pride and frustration can muddy the already emotional waters.

A vendor who pays for a home inspection will be further ahead than one who has to renegotiate. He or she may even sell their house faster.

Unrealistic vendors.
An inspection at the time of a listing can also help a Realtor deal with a vendor who has unrealistic expectations. The inspection report is good ammunition for explaining why you can’t ask top buck for a house that is not in top condition.

Repairs prior to sale.
Sometimes, the home inspection will reveal items which should be repaired immediately. A pre-inspected listing allows the vendor to repair the problem prior to putting the house on the market.

If the inspection occurs after the Agreement of Purchase and Sale, the purchaser could walk, renegotiate or depending on the inspection clause, the vendor may have the option to make repairs. A repair made by an unmotivated vendor to satisfy the condition may not be the best repair and may not meet the purchaser’s expectations. This has caused more than one deal to not close.

Peace of mind for the purchaser.
There is no doubt that part of the value of a home inspection is a guided tour of the house for the prospective purchaser. Perhaps the inspection company could return to do a walk-through with the purchaser, if requested.

Reputable inspection companies.
Pre-inspected listings will only have value if the home inspector and/or company is perceived to be reputable, qualified and properly insured. Prospective purchasers might have little or no faith in a report created by someone they perceive to be working for the Vendor or Listing Agent.

Editor’s Note: This article is for discussion purposes only and does not represent any policy or opinion on the part of Electrospec or it’s representatives. It is intended only as “food for thought”, and it is hoped that no one will be offended by the suggestive nature of any parts of the article.

Does the future of home inspections lie in pre-inspected listings? Will offers be cleaner and deals less likely to be renegotiated or fall through? Will pre-inspection afford purchasers, vendors and Realtors a new measure of equilateral protection?