With interest rates on home mortgages coming close to the record low, you might feel that now is a good time to start looking for a home.
However, the home buying process involves more than picking the perfect house and getting financing. You usually also have to schedule a professional home inspection to make sure your new home doesn’t have any serious issues that could hurt your health or happiness.
So, what happens during a home inspection? Read on to learn all you need to know about the home inspection process.
Arranging for the Home Inspection
Before learning about what happens during house inspections, you should first know how to set up the inspection.
Usually, your real estate agent will have you set up the inspection within a week of signing the home purchase contract. They can often suggest local inspectors, but you can also do your research online. Consider calling around to compare pricing and check out reviews to find the best fit.
When you choose an inspector, you’ll usually choose a time slot of around a few hours. Expect to be present during the whole inspection since this will give you a chance to take notes and ask questions.
Attending the Home Inspection
When you show up for the home inspection, you can expect the inspector to take a thorough look at the house’s condition, both inside and out. Not only will they visually inspect items, but they’ll usually take pictures they can refer to later when writing the home inspection report.
A home inspection will require assessment of both the home’s safety and functionality. You’ll find that the inspector has a checklist ready so that they don’t forget everything they’re required to inspect.
The inspector will take a look at the house’s systems to assess their age and identify noticeable problems.
This includes things like the plumbing and electrical systems along with the furnace, air conditioner, water heater, and other included appliances. If the inspector notices leaks or signs of fire damage, they will be sure to jot that down in their notes.
Home inspections also involve checking for a sound structure.
This means making sure the foundation, roof, ceilings, and walls don’t have cracks. It also means checking that the roof is in good condition, that the doors and windows work properly, and that the attic has the proper insulation.
If your house has a patio, deck, or basement, they’ll make sure these have no issues with stability or functionality. Your inspector will look for home safety issues too such as mold growth, asbestos, and fire hazards.
Throughout the inspection, you should be asking questions so that you get the information you need to make a safe home purchase.
For example, if you notice that the air conditioner looks very old, don’t hesitate to ask the inspector to check the age. The same applies if you wonder what a strange stain on the wall could be or if you notice signs that pests might be present inside the home.
Reviewing the Home’s Report
So, you’ve spent a few hours with the inspector and saw them writing down all kinds of details about the house. You’ve also asked all the right questions.
Now you’ll need to wait a while to get the actual home inspection report. Sometimes, you can get the inspection report the next day. But other times, it can take at least a couple days to hear anything.
This delay happens because the inspector needs to go through all their notes and pictures and possibly do more research about the property.
The good news for you is that their work will lead to a very detailed report. You’ll end up with helpful visuals and explanations for defects you need to consider before you decide to complete the home sale. You may get this in paper or digital form depending on your preferences and the inspection company.
Your inspection report will have sections dedicated to different systems and components. For example, these include the home’s exterior, heating system, appliances, structure, electrical system, and plumbing system among others.
You can expect each section to have images of defects when possible alongside text descriptions. Usually, the inspector indicates whether the problem looks serious or minor. They may also categorize the issue as a safety, structural, mechanical, or another issue.
The inspector will usually recommend further action when necessary. They might mention fixing it yourself for a minor problem or calling a repair professional for a serious issue.
Moving Forward After the Inspection
After you’ve read the home inspection report, you might feel overwhelmed. But know that most homes have at least some problem. Further, the home inspection report isn’t a simple pass or fail for the home.
Many times, the issues are minor things like chipped paint, outdated appliances, or a squeaky door that you can fix whenever you have time. However, you might also have issues with the house’s systems, roof, or foundation that warrant action before you move forward and close on the home.
If you only notice minor issues that don’t bother you much, then congrats! You’ve likely found a great home and can move on to closing.
When the report uncovers more serious issues that you need fixed, don’t stress too much. You have a few options to consider.
First, you could try to negotiate with the seller. This means asking them to have the most important repairs done as a term for closing on the home.
Second, you could ask for monetary compensation. This might mean cutting the home’s sale price or getting help for closing costs.
Third, you could decide to bail on the home entirely. This is thanks to the home inspection contingency that you’ll usually include in your home purchase contract.
You’re Ready for the Home Inspection Process
When you find your perfect home, you’ll have the knowledge now to prepare for the home inspection and get the most out of this step. You also know your options for when the inspection report shows issues, which is completely normal.
After you’ve had the inspection done, don’t hesitate to get a second opinion. If you’re considering doing repairs yourself, it pays to get quotes to know what you’re really in for.
Now that you’ve learned all about the home inspection process, go check out our other blog posts.