If you’re buying a home, you need to know what a home inspection covers. That way, you can make the most informed decision possible. This guide explains everything home inspectors look for, as well as the home inspection contingency in a real estate purchase contract.
Home Inspections: The Basics
Usually, when you purchase a home, your real estate agent builds a home inspection contingency into your contract. This contingency, which is a condition that must be met in order for the deal to close, says that you have the right to have the home inspected, and that if the inspection turns up anything you can’t live with, you have the right to negotiate with the seller or exit the deal.
Sometimes, people waive home inspections. However, this isn’t the right choice in all situations. In fact, sometimes it’s a bad choice. If you’re thinking about waiving your home inspection contingency, you should talk to your REALTOR® at length — because for many people, this contingency the only way out of a deal when something is terribly wrong with a home.
What is a Home Inspection?
A home inspection occurs when a buyer pays a qualified inspector to check out a home’s major systems and setup. Sometimes, sellers are allowed to pay for a buyer’s home inspection, but that’s not always the case. Either way, an inspector must be qualified to evaluate a home’s condition and provide you with a comprehensive report telling you everything wrong with the property.
What Do Home Inspectors Look For?
Home inspectors look for problems with the home’s:
- Structure and foundation
- Exterior and roof
- Interior, insulation, attic and ventilation
Here’s a closer look at each.
Structure and Foundation
Your home inspector will check your new home’s structural integrity, including its foundation, walls, ceilings, floors and roof. The inspector will look for signs that the foundation isn’t stable, that the home has been water-damaged or that there are weak spots in the walls or roof that could cause you problems down the road. This is a very important part of any inspection, because structural damage is expensive to fix.
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Exterior and Roof
Your home inspector will check the exterior of your new home. That includes the siding, outdoor structures such as decks and fences, and your driveway. They’ll make sure the home has been properly maintained and that they can’t identify signs of structural issues or water damage from the outside. Your inspector will also most likely have a quick look at the roof. Some inspectors use drones to examine a roof’s condition. You also have the option of hiring a professional roof inspector who only does roofs.
Your inspector will check your home’s systems to the extent possible. They’ll turn on the water, check your breaker box, and assess the home’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning system to make sure everything is in proper order. They’ll also check the condition of the ductwork and make sure that all the vents in your home are properly placed and are working. If they’re not, your inspector may suggest that you hire a specialty inspector, such as a plumber, electrician, or HVAC professional, to ensure that any issues are brought to your attention before you finalize your real estate deal. If you’re not sure which systems your inspector covers, ask.
Interior, Insulation, Attic and Ventilation
Your inspector will check out your home’s interior, including the appliances, ceilings, walls, floors and other components. They’ll even check for smoke detectors and CO2 detectors. As your inspector goes through the entire home, they’ll look for signs of damage, make sure windows and doors open and close properly, and ensure that stairways and railings are safe.
Getting an Inspection Report
Your inspector will provide you with a complete inspection report after wrapping things up in your new home. Most often, these types of reports include photographs of any issues, as well as descriptions of the problems and what needs to be done to address them.
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Why Should You Have Your Home Inspected?
Often, you can use the results of your home inspection to negotiate with the seller. That means if the home inspection uncovers an issue, you may be able to ask the seller to fix it or compensate you for it (because you’ll have to get it fixed yourself), or you may be able to back out of the deal if it’s what you’d consider a “deal-breaker.”
For example, If the home has mold growing in the attic, you can ask the seller to remediate it and fix the underlying issue (such as a ventilation problem). You may also be able to ask the seller to take money off the sales price or offer you a credit so you can pay for remediation yourself. If the seller refuses, it may be in your best interest to cancel the deal and keep looking for a home that checks all your boxes.
Is It Ever Okay to Waive Your Home Inspection?
Usually, real estate agents build a home inspection contingency into real estate purchase contracts. However, in some cases, buyers waive this contingency; that means they’re okay with purchasing the home without having it inspected by a professional, or that if they do have an inspection, they won’t back out of the deal based on the results.
Sometimes, waiving a home inspection contingency makes an offer stronger so sellers are more likely to accept it. However, it’s up to you whether you want to waive your inspection contingency. If you’re considering waiving your home inspection contingency, you should discuss the pros and cons of doing so with your REALTOR. For many people, that contingency prevents them from purchasing a home that requires more work than they’re willing to put in; for others, the home is just fine and an inspection isn’t a be-all, end-all necessity.
Are You Buying a Home in Sierra Vista or Cochise County?
If you’re buying a home in Sierra Vista, Huachuca City, Palominas, Tombstone, Bisbee or elsewhere in Cochise County, the Amanda Ohnstad Team is here to help you have fun and get it done. While you’re here, check out our hottest home searches:
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