How Important Is A Home Inspection?
By Wendy Volk
Should a buyer get a home inspection for a home they are buying? Should a seller order a home inspection prior to putting the property on the market? There are advantages for both.
Simply put, a home inspection is a visual examination of both the physical structure and major systems of the entire home including: walls, ceilings, floors, decks, exterior covering, the roof, foundation, insulation and ventilation, plumbing, electrical, heating and air conditioning. It is not an appraisal to validate the value of a home, nor a pass/fail exam. A third-party inspector will give a report on the physical condition and suggest repairs.
For buyers, a home inspection clause in the written offer that makes the purchase contingent upon the findings can provide peace of mind. If a serious problem is found, it allows room to renegotiate the purchase price or “opt-out” of buying the home altogether. However, this is usually uncommon. Typically, the seller will already have told the buyer about any major problems.
More often, inspections reveal less serious defects that aren’t enough to warrant backing out of the transition. However, knowing about these minor problems can prevent major disasters down the road. In addition, if specified in the inspection clause, the cost of the repairs can be at the seller’s expense.
Another advantage to having a home inspection is it offers buyers an opportunity to become familiar with their new home and learn about maintenance to help in its upkeep. Although not required, it’s recommended that buyers be present during the inspection. This allows them to observe the inspection; ask questions about the condition of the home; and receive an objective opinion.
For sellers, conducting a home inspection (or pre-inspection) before listing their homes puts the control back into their hands.
When the buyer inspection finds problems, it can impede negotiations and cost the seller more in repairs. By having a pre-inspection, the seller can help eliminate any surprise findings after an offer has been made. The seller can make repairs before placing the home on the market and possibly even increase the value of the home.
A pre-inspection can also serve as a great marketing tool. Sellers are required by law to disclose any known defects in the home. Having a pre-inspection report available for buyers tells them that the seller has nothing to hide. It also gives them a clearer picture of the condition of the home.
If there are major problems found during the pre-inspection, it gives the seller an opportunity to disclose the condition up-front, making it less likely for the buyer to pull out of the deal or try to renegotiate the price.
Knowing the true condition of a home can bring peace of mind to buyers and sellers; and be one less hurdle in the home buying and selling process. Ask your real estate sales professional for a list of certified independent home inspectors in your area.