A buyer home inspection is typically scheduled after the seller accepts an offer and before closing. The buyer is responsible for scheduling and paying for the inspection.
Home inspections can uncover issues that didn’t show up in the listing or during your initial tour of the property. These discoveries may lead you to ask the seller to make repairs or reduce the sale price. If you don’t know what to look for, talk to Axios Home Inspection experts.
Buying a home is a big deal, and buyers need to know as much as possible about the property before they close the sale. A detailed inspection report can help buyers understand the condition of the property and determine if any issues need to be addressed through negotiation with the seller or as part of the buyer’s contingencies in the sales contract.
Most inspectors will provide a written report after the inspection is completed, typically with a table of contents or section headings for easy navigation and reading. The inspection report will include sections describing home systems, such as electrical, plumbing, and heating/AC, as well as exterior, interior, and roof areas. The report will also likely note the presence of wood-destroying organisms and any other environmental issues.
A good inspection report will make note of major issues that need to be addressed right away, as well as minor issues that can be dealt with on a more long-term basis. The report will also usually include a section that outlines red flags found during the inspection, which may impact the safety or value of the home.
When reviewing the inspection report, it is important to read carefully and understand all of the information provided. Some reports are color-coded to make it easier for buyers to identify what each issue means, with green meaning everything is in good shape, blue indicating a moderate concern, and red indicating something that needs immediate attention or repair. The report will also list the cost and severity of each item identified.
Buyers should also pay particular attention to the notes and photos included in the inspection report. The inspector will likely take photos anywhere there is an issue, such as a missing roof shingle or signs of termite activity, and these will be documented in the report for reference. This will allow the buyer and real estate agent to reference these photos as they review the report and prepare for negotiations. Having clear, understandable notes and photos of any issues can help avoid misunderstandings and ensure all parties are on the same page moving forward with the transaction.
Many buyers choose to make their home purchase contingent on the results of a home inspection. This gives them a certain window of time to schedule the inspection and complete any follow-up evaluations, and it also allows them to withdraw their offer if the inspector discovers safety or structural issues that they aren’t comfortable with. Depending on the situation, the seller may be asked to fix the problem, give credit toward closing, or simply back out of the sale altogether.
Home inspections often uncover several minor repairs that need to be addressed. These include things such as missing doorstops, a broken window or light fixture, old paint on walls, and outdated appliances. Getting these items taken care of before the home is sold can save the new homeowner a lot of work and money after they move in.
When negotiating with the seller to address these issues, the buyer needs to be prepared to discuss how severe each one is and what the cost of making the necessary repairs will be. It’s also a good idea to bring a notebook and pen so that the buyer can write down notes about each problem as the inspector points it out.
Buyers should always hire a qualified professional for the home inspection, an expert says. Too many people go with whoever is recommended to them, rather than doing their research, and it could end up costing more in the long run. When choosing an inspector, he says, ask the person how long they’ve been in business and what their education and certifications are.
If the seller disagrees with an inspection report, they can either agree to fix the problems identified or accept the buyer’s offer with a credit at closing. If the sellers aren’t willing to agree to these terms, the buyer can back out of the transaction with their earnest money and find another property.
For the sellers, it’s important to disclose any known flaws in a house, says an expert. “People react more strongly to things they don’t know about, so it’s best to be upfront and honest,” she says. The sellers should also hire a professional to do the repairs, she adds. Attempting to DIY or hiring someone on the cheap can result in poor workmanship that will show up later and require more repair work.
A home inspection contingency is a standard clause that most real estate contracts have. While they can vary by city and state, most include the buyer’s right to have a home inspection done before closing. The purpose of this contingency is to ensure that buyers don’t unknowingly purchase homes with significant issues or defects. During a home inspection, the inspector can identify problem areas and give the buyers a chance to back out of the contract if they don’t want to buy the house.
If the inspection turns up major problems that the buyers aren’t willing to accept, the contingency gives them a way out of the contract without losing their earnest money deposit. But even in the best-case scenario, finding a perfect home isn’t possible, and there’s no guarantee that a property’s problems will be easily resolved once a sale is complete.
When creating the contingency, buyers should be sure to clearly define what the home inspector will be looking at. For example, many inspectors will exclude attics and crawl spaces from their inspection, but these can be the ideal places for mildew and mold to hide. Buyers should also make sure to include a time frame within which they must review the report and respond, with some contingency addendums giving them the ability to terminate the contract within that window and receive their earnest money deposit back.
Another important aspect of the contingency is the right to hire additional experts for more in-depth testing and inspections. For example, a structural engineer may be needed to evaluate foundational damage or a radon expert to test for radon in the basement. Buyers will need to be aware of any potential additional fees for these specialized services.
It’s also worth noting that a home inspection contingency does not guarantee the buyer will get their offer accepted, especially in a competitive market. The sellers will still consider other offers. If the buyers are unable to waive their inspection contingency, they will either need to negotiate with the seller over repairs or a monetary concession, or they’ll have to find another property.
A home inspection is a key step in the purchasing process. It can reveal problems that you might not have noticed and give you an idea of the cost of repairs. Those issues may be so costly that it doesn’t make sense to purchase the property, or they could simply be a red flag that you should walk away.
Home buyers can negotiate with the seller to have some or all of the inspection findings addressed. The best way to do this is to be as specific as possible in your requests. For example, if the inspector notes that the roof needs to be replaced, you can ask for a percentage of the total cost of the replacement to be paid by the seller before closing. This can be a good option if you don’t want to ask the seller to repair it or are concerned about their response.
If you are requesting that the seller make major repairs before you close, it’s wise to get a quote from a reputable contractor and use that information as the basis for your counteroffer. It’s also a good idea to take a look at comparable properties and recent sales data, as this will help you come up with a fair offer.
As the buyer, you have the right to request any repairs that you feel are necessary, but it’s important to remember that the seller wants to sell their property and isn’t happy with a situation that delays or derails the sale. For this reason, it’s helpful to keep the negotiations “all business” and remove emotions from the equation.
It’s also a good idea to divide the defects found into categories. The most serious issues should be a top priority, followed by those that are less expensive but not trivial. For example, if there is evidence of mold, it should be at the top of the list of repairs. This isn’t just an aesthetic issue, but one that can cause health and safety concerns for the buyer. This will help you and your agent craft a reasonable request for the seller to address.