Did you know that, according to CNBC, the total of existing home sales in 2020 was the highest it had been since 2006? Additionally, sales of homes were 22% stronger than they had been in December 2019.
If you’re a home buyer or seller who’s currently looking to buy or sell a home, then you need to take the right steps to make that sale go through.
One of these steps is the home inspection. It’s an important step since a home inspection can be a process that slows down or completely voids the sale.
Whether you’re a buyer who wants to use the inspection who wants to use the home inspection to get more negotiating power, or you’re a seller who wants to avoid a delay, you need to know about what to expect during a home inspection.
Otherwise, you might face significant delays or financial consequences.
That’s why we’ve put together this guide. In it, you’ll learn everything you need to about what a home inspection is and how it works. Read on to learn more.
What a Home Inspection Is
If you’re asking yourself the question, “What are home inspections?” we’ll answer that question here. Basically, when you’re in the process of selling a home, the home inspection occurs while you’re in the closing part of that process.
It’s usually the buyer who pays for the home inspection. They’re paying a professional home inspector to complete a visual observation of the home.
During this visual observation, the home inspector will note whether there are any safety, health, or big mechanical issues. These are all identified according to state standards.
When the Home Inspection Happens
There are two kinds of home inspections that occur: the seller’s inspection (also known as the pre-listing inspection) and the buyer’s inspection. If you’re a seller and planning a home inspection, this occurs before you list your home.
If you do a pre-listing inspection, you can find out about issues and fix them before you put your home on the market. As a result, you’ll save time later on during the closing process.
Additionally, your buyer will have less negotiating power during the closing process if there aren’t any issues they identify when they do the buyer’s inspection.
If you’re a buyer, then the buyer’s inspection occurs after you’ve made an offer on your potential new home, but before the sale has been closed.
If there are any necessary repairs that come up, you can ensure they get done before you move in.
Additionally, this gives you a bit more negotiating power with the price. For example, you could ask for a lower price and do the repairs yourself after you’ve moved in.
What Happens During a Home Inspection
If you’re asking yourself the question “How do home inspections work?” we’ll provide the answer in this section. It includes several steps, such as meeting the home inspector, the inspection itself, the report, and sharing the findings with your real estate agent.
Meeting the Home Inspector
Before they complete the home inspection, you should meet with the home inspector at the property in question. This way, you can ask any questions you might have beforehand. You’ll also want them to stick around so you can talk through issues they’ve uncovered.
If you’re the seller of the home and can’t be there to let in the home inspector, you need to let them know beforehand.
Additionally, give them the information they need to enter your home. Hide your key in a lockbox and give them the code, or have a relative or friend let them in.
Also, put together a list of questions for your friend or relative to ask.
The Inspection Itself
Next, the inspector will go through the house, doing the inspection. They will look at every part of the home, including the garage, basement, and attic. If you’re asking yourself, “What does a home inspection cover?” here’s what’s on a home inspection checklist:
- Structural issues
- Water damage
- Damaged electrical system
- Damaged or old roof
- Plumbing issues
- HVAC system issues
- Pest and insect infestation
If you’re asking yourself the question, “How long does a home inspection take?” here’s the answer. The inspection itself will last between two and three hours, though it sometimes goes on longer. In addition to all of the above, they’ll also check the doors and windows of the house.
Keep in mind that there are some things home inspectors don’t look for.
If you’re asking the question “What do home inspectors look for?” is, “cosmetic issues” isn’t an answer. Of course, they’ll report if there’s a big water stain or crack in a wall, but they won’t add peeling paint to their report.
It’s also important to be aware of red flags during the home inspection if you’re a seller.
If your buyer starts pointing out cosmetic issues they want you to fix, or they threaten to raise the price, this isn’t a good buyer.
Additional things not covered in a typical home inspection include termite infestations, radon, lead paint or piping, asbestos, water damage, mold, and additional safety issues.
If you’re worried about any of these, you may need to pay for another inspection.
Once they’ve completed the home inspection, the inspector may discuss their findings with you briefly. If you’re a bit confused, don’t worry. Afterward, they’ll send you a report. This will include all the details and pictures they’ve taken that will clarify everything.
Sharing the Findings With Your Real Estate Agent
After receiving the report, you’ll share the findings with your real estate agent. If you’re a seller, they can let you know which repairs are necessary for avoiding delays during the sale. If you’re a buyer, then you’ll know if there are any fixes that must be done before you move in.
Your real estate agent can also let you know how much to lower the price if you want to do that instead of getting repairs.
Seller Preparing for Home Inspection
If you’re selling your home, there are several steps to take to prepare for your home inspection. By taking these steps, you’ll be less likely to end up with any big issues on the home inspection report, which would slow down the sale or cost you money.
Keep (or Find) Receipts
If you’ve had any routine services or maintenance done to your home or parts of it, you should keep (or find) the receipts for these payments. You should be ready to show them to buyers and inspectors. These might include receipts for a water heater service or a swept chimney.
Clear Out the Clutter
Clear out the clutter in crawl spaces, your garage, attic, and basement. Inspectors need to be able to access these areas so they can check for damage or moisture. If this isn’t possible, they’ll flag the area as “uninspectable.”
This could delay the home-selling process. Additionally, make sure that the inspector can access the water heater, furnace, and electrical panel.
Check the Light Bulbs
Before the inspector comes into your home, you need to check that all your light bulbs are working. If they aren’t, change them. Otherwise, the home inspector could erroneously report this an issue with your electrical system.
If you change them and they still don’t work, then you should check for electrical system issues and fix them before the inspector comes in to see your home.
Fix Draining Issues
Run water out of the faucets in all your sinks and out of the showerhead in your shower. If there are any minor clogs, clear these immediately with Liquid Plumber or Drano. Otherwise, if the home inspector sees these issues, they might report your home as having plumbing issues.
Make Minor Replacements and Repairs
Replace the filters in your HVAC system. If the filters are dirty, this is a sign that the air quality in the home is compromised. This is one of the things the inspector will be looking out for. Additionally, if you have any broken screens or cracked windows, repair these.
Finding the Right Home Inspector
To find the right home inspector, there are certain things you should look for. First of all, you should check their credentials. Depending on your state, there might be a licensing requirement, in which case you should find out if the inspector has the right license.
Additionally, do your research online and look up reviews of the home inspector. Read both positive and negative reviews to have a good idea of what customers think of them.
Need More Information?
Now that you know all about how a home inspection works, you might need more information. Maybe you need help finding a home inspector in your area. Or maybe you’re worried about some issues with your home and you need help resolving them before the home inspection happens.
Whatever information you need, we’re here to help. At Assured Home Inspections, LLC, we’re experts when it comes to home inspections, buying, and selling. We also provide home inspections.
To learn more about how we can help you, contact us now.