When buying a home, one of the most important steps prior to closing is having a home inspection. This inspection is done by a professional and can reveal many things about your potential new home that you may not have known. It’s essential that you have one of these inspections done so you know if there are any potential issues with the property.
While appraisals are generally required for those buyers who are taking out a mortgage, you do not have to have an inspection. However, it’s highly recommended that you do. You do usually have a specific period of time in which to have a home inspection done. The normal period is ten days after your offer is accepted. If you do not have an inspection done within this time, you may no longer have the option of doing one.
What Will the Inspector Do?
Your real estate agent will usually arrange for the inspection on your behalf, but you have the right to be at the property while the inspector is there. Usually, your agent or someone from their office will be there as well. You can talk to the inspector about any concerns you have and ask questions.
Most inspections take about two hours, and the inspector will examine the property from foundation to roof. They will look for signs that the foundation is sinking, check all electrical outlets and fuses, get up on the roof, and much more. These inspections are designed to be incredibly thorough. Everything from doors that don’t latch quite right to major roofing issues will be listed on the report you receive. They will take photos of anything they believe is a problem.
It usually takes a few days for the inspector to complete their report. When they do, as the buyer, you are entitled to a full copy. Your agent should provide you with the report. If they do not send it automatically, you can request it. This report will detail all of the findings and include a summary page of all issues found. It will include photos of specific issues, suggestions such as “consult an engineer,” and may even include estimates for repairs.
One thing to keep in mind is that a home inspection is not a complete process. There are things that inspections do not look for. To find a full list of what is not inspected, it is best to ask your agent. However, some common things that inspections do not always cover includes areas where insulation is missing, problems with the septic tank or sewer lines, the roofing material itself, and smells within the home. While not all of these may not be immediate issues, some of them can lead to expensive repairs down the line.
What Do You Do with this Information?
Once you have the inspection report, you have a few decisions to make. First, if the report has uncovered major issues that were not disclosed to you before you put in your offer, you may make the decision to withdraw the offer. This is completely within your right, and your earnest money will be returned to you in full. However, you will likely still be required to pay for the home inspection. Fortunately, inspections often cost no more than $500, so it’s not a major expense.
Your second option is to reopen negotiations with the seller. If the inspection indicates major foundation issues, you may ask that the seller either pay for repairs or reduce your offer. You may go back and forth a few times, but if both parties can accept the new terms, you can move forward with purchasing the home.
Your third option is for your agent to create an “Inspection Resolution” request. This is a list of repairs you are requesting be completed prior to closing – submitted in writing to the seller. The seller does not have to complete any of the listed items, but if choose that route, you then have the option of withdrawing your offer without penalty. If the list is fairly minor or if the seller is motivated to sell the property quickly, they are likely to agree to complete what you have asked them to.
In some cases, the seller may offer you a credit rather than completing the repairs/replacements. This credit may be taken off the total price of the property or applied to your closing costs. This is often done when the seller is unable to afford to do many repairs, is in a time crunch, or lives out of state and would have difficulty coordinating contractors. In some cases, such as an FHA mortgage, a cash reduction may not be an option. Your lender may require specific repairs to be done before you can receive a loan – you’re agent will guide you in this regard.
Have the Right Agent on Your Side
A home inspection may reveal very minor issues that you can overlook, or it may bring to light necessary repairs that could cost thousands of dollars. Either way, you want to make certain you have the right agent on your side to help you negotiate these repairs. For those who identify as a part of the LGBTQ community, having a gay, lesbian or gay friendly agent can be helpful. These agents understand the particular needs and concerns of our community. They will be able to help you find the home that meets all of your needs, and is in the condition necessary for you, you and your partner, and/or family. You can connect with an agent online at www.GayRealEstate.com, a website that has been helping the LGBTQ community with home buying and selling for over 25 years – there is never a cost or obligation.