A home inspection is not a legally required part of a real estate transaction. I will always, however, highly recommend that buyers hire a professional home inspector after you have secured a property in order to know exactly what you’re getting yourself into before you buy.
Let’s go over how they work and what you need to do.
1. HIRE INSPECTOR: Once you’ve find a home you love, submitted an offer, and all parties have agreed on the terms and go “under contract,” you are then encouraged to hire a home inspector to look things over.
This is an out of pocket expense for the buyer and will typically cost somewhere between $350-600, depending on what services need to be completed and who you choose to hire. Not all inspectors are created equal so I would encourage buyers interview a couple different companies to see who you best jive with and that you feel will provide the best quality inspection.
2. INSPECT: Schedule a convenient time for them to come out to inspect. Make sure your agent is aware of the time, incase they need to coordinate with the sellers agent for access to the property. Typically, an inspection should take around 3-5 hours, depending on house big the house is.
This is a general home inspection. They are not experts in pools, roof, plumbing, or any of the major components of a house. The inspector will thoroughly investigate all the nook and crannies to make sure that things are properly working, note the ages of various features, point out anything that seems abnormal or concerning. They will not (or should not) properly diagnose issues nor give price quotes.
Typical inspections you’ll want to complete during this first round of inspections are:
– A GENERAL HOME INSPECTION
– A FOUR-POINT INSPECTION (for insurance purposes)
– A WIND MITIGATION REPORT (for insurance purposes)
– WDO INSPECTION (for financing)
If there are issues with the major features that the inspector notes, we are encouraged to get professional experts out to further evaluate.
3. EVALUATE: After the inspection report comes back, you and your realtor will go over the major concerns. You are evaluating whether or not this home is still of good value or if there are things that need to be addressed before purchasing. This is NOT a nitpick period regarding small paint scratches, squeaky door hinges or the like. We are making sure that the roof is in sound condition, the A/C is in working order, the electrical is updated and your plumbing is flowing smoothly.
Within your inspection period after you go under contract, you are able to negotiate on various items that you feel need to be addressed. After the inspection period, there is little room for negotiations so be mindful of the time frame.