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What to Expect During a Home Inspection

January 08 2018
by Jeremy Decker
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For both buyers and sellers, home inspections are a necessary service. They tell you the things that matter when you’re looking to get involved in real estate. They tell you what needs fixing, what’s fine, and what might be a problem later on. These inspection reports also take local laws into consideration and can reveal details that you may not be aware of if you’re unfamiliar with the area or otherwise not in-the-know.

It is not only a recommendation for sellers to make use of a home inspector. In many areas, it is an outright requirement. Buyers have more leeway here in what they need to do. However, it is a worthwhile investment regardless of how much you might trust the seller or the realtor. It can confirm what you already know, corroborate what the seller has told you with their own report, and allows you to investigate any potential avenues to lower the price for eventual purchase.

Home Inspection Pricing & Making an Appointment

The cost for a home inspector can vary based on experience, use of technology, and area. The national average is $324. Some inspectors may charge as little as $200 while others may charge as high as $480. More testing equals higher cost. Radon testing and checking for mold, for example, may come at a higher the cost.

When you make your home inspection appointment, you’ll be asked a series of questions. Answer these to the best of your ability. Details such as the size of the home, where it is, when it was built, and presence of utilities will be asked for. Have these on-hand before you call. This preliminary phone call will determine the price of the inspection and the date the inspector will come out to review your property. Most often, the inspector will see the house for the first time when they arrive on the inspection date so accurate information is important.

The actual inspection can differ in execution. How it goes down is ultimately dependent on the inspector and how they do their work. Some inspectors will want you to be present while others won’t. Don’t be afraid to voice your own preferences and concerns so you feel comfortable with what’s being covered!

State Limitations for Home Inspectors

Somewhat unknown in this equation is that home inspectors are often liable for things that they miss during their inspection. This has resulted in many states and city municipalities having specific laws on how long an inspector is liable for problems that were missed, as well as laws on what inspectors are allowed to look at (or how they’re supposed to do it). There is no universal expectation here, making it difficult to know what to expect during an inspection and in the report you receive afterwards.

Discussing what to expect, then, becomes more than prudent when you are speaking with a residential lawyer or the home inspector themselves. For example, it is possible that you will need to hire a separate inspector to check the electrical work in the home. These are called “home electrical inspectors” and they make sure everything in your home is up to the minimum standards of the National Electrical Code. It is possible that your home inspector is certified in this so be sure to ask!

Concentrating on the Right Information

The report you’ll get from the home inspector can be lengthy. Information you consider superfluous will be present and the important stuff might slip by your attention. This becomes a more significant risk if you aren’t well-versed in the subject matter. It is possible that your inspector will have a sample report to look at and this is worth inquiring about if you’re worried.

Home Inspection Photos/Videos

Most inspectors will take photos and possibly video footage of their inspection. These photos are invaluable; they can highlight problems and are useful in any future scenarios where tangible evidence may be required. Having these photos available will guarantee that you are taken seriously in any negotiations with the homeowner.

Fortunately, the majority of home inspectors are aware that the people hiring them for an inspection likely don’t use this service on a regular basis. When you receive your report, you can expect a ‘summary’ sheet of some kind that immediately tells you what needs to be repaired or replaced. Pay special attention to this section of the report as the things listed here will be what ends up being a problem after your purchase of the home.

The summary section will also make it clear what wasn’t inspected. This will help them with any liability problems and will also help you remember what was skipped over if you want to get another inspection done after repairs and changes have been made to the property. For example, if you know that the windows in the living room are being replaced, the inspector will likely skip them during their inspection.

Why Home Inspections are Important

The report you get from a home inspector can be incredibly helpful in your negotiations with the seller. Glaring issues are a useful tool to reduce price as they will be fixed before purchase and can result in additional price slashes.

Hiring a home inspector can address future problems before they crop up. As a buyer, the cost to you may get a sizable chunk carved out by a home inspection report that encourages the seller to lower the sticker price for the home you’ve got your eye on. Clever can take this to the next step and save you even more with a flat commission rate and an up-to-1% commission rebate on homes in qualifying states.

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