Home Inspections 101

Lori Jones
Lori Jones
Published on September 24, 2019

What is a home inspection?

A home inspection is a limited, non-invasive examination of the condition of a house.  Home inspections are often done and highly recommended prior to the purchase of a home.  However, a home owner at any time can have an inspection on their home.  Some homeowners do this when considering putting their home on the sales market so they can take care of any items ahead of time. Inspections are performed by a trained, licensed, and insured professional.  There are many companies out there and some offer additional (add-on) services as well such as, but not limited to including a termite inspection or including a re-inspect after repairs have been made.

Be fully informed about the properties condition

Why have a home inspection?

Purchasing a home is typically the most expensive single item a person will purchase in their lifetime.  A home inspection gives the new home owner the information about the condition of the home to make an informed decision about the purchase. A buyer cannot tell the condition of the plumbing by looking at the home, nor can they tell the air return differential of the air condition by standing in the hall way. Home inspections are typically done during the option period of the home sales contract.  This allows the buyer to terminate the contract should the inspection reveal items the buyer is unwilling to accept and not lose their earnest money.  The option fee would be forfeited.

My home is new construction – Do I still need an inspection?

Yes, a home inspection is still recommended.  A home is built by human beings and sometimes humans make mistakes, get interrupted and forget to circle back.  Case in point, I recently sold a home that was 18 months old, still under builder warranty. The dryer was vented to the attic to exit at the roof line Upon inspection it was noted, the vent pipe from the entry into the attic was not connected to the pipe at the roof line.  There in the attic laid the pipe, unconnected.  In another sale of the model home of a builder.  The inspector note that the bathroom had rubbed brass fixtures, but the showerhead was stainless steel.  He also noted that the home had lever door handles except for one bedroom that had round knobs.  Sometimes in a pinch a builder will take needed items to complete one home from the model.  Yes, these are cosmetic issues, but not something anyone wants to deal with when moving into a new home.

There are many factors to consider when evaluating a home inspection report

What a home inspection is not.

A home inspection is not a laundry list of repairs that a seller must make.  Nor does a home inspection necessarily mean the home is in horrible condition.  There are many factors to consider when evaluating a home inspection report.  Firstly, the age of the home.  The inspection report may have a long list of items out of code.  A home built in 1960 was built to different codes than a home today. Unless remolding was done the home would be deemed acceptable if it meets 1960 code.  Many inspectors report on both the code now – deficient – the code 1960 – acceptable.  A loose light fixture or switch does not indicate electrical problems.  A good inspector will make sure you understand the report and any high-level concerns. All concerns should be addressed with your inspector and/or a licensed professional of the required field, (plumber, electrician, structural engineer, environmental engineer, etc.)

After the inspection – now what?

After the inspection, the inspector will send you a detailed report noting everything that was found during the inspection.  Once you receive and review this report you will have a few decisions to make:

1.  Do you still want the home? Even if nothing was to be repaired?

2.  What repairs would you like to be made?

3.  What repairs are you willing or able to do yourself?

Once your decisions have been made your REALTOR can help you negotiate repairs and/or cost adjustments.  Be mindful of your option period end date.  Negotiations cease after that date and the contract is final. If you need recommendations for a home inspection service or want to talk to someone about buying or selling your home, please feel free to contact me.

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