Expert Advice on the Ins and Outs of Home Inspection
Nationwide, more homes are bought and sold in the spring and summer than in fall through winter. The days are longer, the temperatures milder and with spring rains, your landscaping has the potential to look its best. If you’re getting ready to buy or sell, you’ll want to pay special attention to home inspections—either understanding what the report tells you as a buyer or being prepared to get a clean report as a seller.
We got perspectives from a residential realtor and a residential contractor to help you understand the ins and outs of home inspections.
So you’re buying a home. Should you get it inspected? Absolutely! For most people a home is the single largest purchase they will make. It’s smart to have a licensed professional examine it and prepare a report for you so know what you are buying. The best home inspectors are thorough, complete and will take the time to meet with you at the end and answer your questions. Your realtor should know several inspectors they can recommend based on past experience. A typical home inspection may take 2-4 hours, depending on the size and age of the structure. You’ll definitely want a few minutes to talk with the inspector when they are finished. You may have questions, and they might want to point things out to you. Expect a detailed written report with photographs. A good inspection report is fair but not alarmist and should leave you informed and educated. The inspection report will cover all elements of the home: foundation, framing, structure, roof, appliances, electrical, plumbing, windows, etc. Inspectors will identify problems that you should be aware of—big and small—and let you know how serious those things are. That crack in the foundation or in the walls: is it normal settling and nothing to be concerned about, or is it significant enough that you should call a structural engineer to take a look? The inspector will let you know. The inspector may also recommend that you call a specialist to look at certain elements of the home, such as the roof, plumbing or wiring. Can you force the seller to do repairs? Unfortunately, no. Although buyers may want repairs done before closing escrow on a home, there’s no rule that says they must be. Repairs are a point of negotiation between buyer and seller. Sometimes sellers will prefer to reduce price or give a credit rather than do the repair. If you are financing the purchase the lender may require that certain repairs are made such as seismic straps to a water heater, health and safety issues if it is a VA loan, etc. Remember, a good inspection report can be used as a negotiating tool with the seller if repairs are needed. Don’t be afraid to walk away from a problem home. If the seller refuses to do repairs you consider essential, you generally have the right to terminate the purchase based on the inspection report. If the inspection report turns up problems that you don’t want to deal with, it’s better to walk away than buy a dream home with nightmare problems! If you aren’t satisfied with the report, or think your inspector got something wrong, it’s time to call in another expert. On rare occasions an inspector may miss something, and a second (or third) set of eyes never hurts. The home inspector looks at hundreds of homes each year, top to bottom. You want that set of experienced and trained eyes working for you, helping you to make the best decision on this large purchase. If you want to know more about the home buying process, feel free to reach out to Jeffrey with any questions.
Jeffrey Nagel, Broker with the NW Group at John L. Scott Real Estate - Ashland Home Inspection Advice from a Realtor
By Jeffrey Nagel, Broker with the NW Group at John L. Scott Real Estate- Ashland,Oregon