Being an informed consumer and homebuyer is essential to purchasing your new home. You might be a buyer looking to buy your first home, so you should equip yourself with as much knowledge as possible before hitting the open houses with your REALTOR®.
A deciding factor in the purchasing process can come down to a home inspection, so you should know what they entail, and what the possible outcomes mean for your potential home.
Here’s what you should look for in a home inspection.
What’s a Home Inspection?
First things first, what’s a home inspection, and what is the purpose?
When you buy a home, you should have a home inspection. It needs to be conducted by a professional to assess the condition of the property. It’s a non-invasive process, where the professional simply inspects what they can with ease, to ensure you’re not about to buy a property with some significant flaws or incoming repairs.
They will typically check the primary parts of the home, like the roof, garage, appliances, heating system, electrical, and look for any cosmetic damages along the way.
The home inspection works in favor of the buyer because it can be used as a tool to bargain with. If the results are unsatisfactory, the buyer can negotiate a lower price or some other compensation. It’s even possible that the seller would offer you a home warranty.
If there are minor issues that require immediate attention that you feel ambitious enough to take on yourself, an inspection remains solely for peace of mind.
You and your REALTOR or agent can discuss the results of the examination, and based on how good or bad it is, you will determine your next steps.
Know Your Stuff
When you hire a reputable home inspector, with an excellent reputation and experience, that will be half the battle. Going into a home inspection blind is not recommended, so you should do some research on the process before it happens.
Knowing what is going to be inspected and asking the inspector questions along the way will provide you with knowledge and perspective. An inspection should take a few hours, so dedicate at least half a day with your realtor, the seller’s realtor, and the inspector.
Finding a great home inspector could be as easy as looking up Google reviews and finding local favorites. Your realtor likely has someone that they’ve worked with numerous times in the past. Hiring a professional, experienced inspector with certifications is essential to getting a trustworthy opinion. As the home buyer, you’ll be paying for the inspection service, so don’t skimp on the expense.
Here’s What’s Included in a Home Inspection
Here’s a checklist for you to focus on during your home inspection.
Your Home’s Exterior
- Is your roof missing shingles?
- Will the roof need to be replaced soon?
- What is the state of your flashing and trim?
- Could there be leaks in your roof or foundation?
- Are there any visible foundation cracks?
- Are there trees close by the foundation?
- Where is the placement of the drainage around your home?
- Does your yard have any soggy spots?
- What’s the condition of your sidewalks and driveways, if applicable?
Your Home’s Interior
- Have you been maintaining your appliances, or will they need to be replaced?
- What is the age of your Dishwasher, Oven, and Refrigerator?
- Does the kitchen fan work?
- Are there any visible leaks from your sinks or appliances?
- Has there been previous damage to the home, like a fire, flood, etc.?
- Are there any cracks on any of the interior walls?
- Does the ceilings or walls have any staining on them?
- Are there any noticeable odors in the home?
- What’s the condition of the AC and Heating system in the home?
- How’s the electrical in the home?
- Do the switches and outlets work?
- Are the outlets adequately grounded?
- Are all the ceiling fans and bathroom fans functional?
- Is the electrical panel in working order?
- Do all the toilets, faucets, and pipes function correctly?
- How is the water pressure?
- Are the noises that come from the plumbing unusual?
- Check for cracks and damage on all walls, the ceiling, the door, and the roof.
- Are the lights functional?
- Do the remotes work for the garage door? Does the switch?
Post-Inspection: What Now?
Once the inspection is complete, thoroughly go through the report. If the results are on the cosmetic side, you can decide if you can live with those issues, or if you’re willing to take care of them yourself. If that’s the case, then great! You can proceed to purchase your dream home without issue.
If some significant issues could end up being costly repairs, you need to decide if it’s worth the purchase. There are certain major repairs you could tackle on your own.
Perhaps you were planning on making renovations anyways, in which case you can proceed if you wish. If there is structural damage, or electrical or plumbing issues, you may want to consider bringing in a contractor or two for a quote on fixing up the damage before you agree.
You may be able to leverage a negative inspection to get a better price on the home or have the seller take care of the issues before you move in. Being a strong negotiator or having a seasoned realtor on your side is a huge benefit in these scenarios.
Having a clause in your contract based on the home inspection is vital in any real estate transaction. It’s there to protect you if the review comes back poor, you can decide you want to back out, and there will be no penalty to you.
Purchasing a home is one of the most important and most significant purchases you’re going to make. You want to make sure you’re getting a quality home for your money that isn’t going to require a lot of repairs in three months.
While inspections will never be 100% perfect, and there will be some things that get missed, it’s crucial in the home buying process. Checking the quality of your new home thoroughly with an inspection, along with other little thoughtful upgrades, can really increase the value of your property.
Other Home Inspection Resources:
- A home inspection is much like having a pre-inspection on a used car. The inspection provides you with information to determine if you want to move forward with the purchase.
- Don’t overlook having a home inspection on new construction. Joe Boylan points out it is just important on a new construction as a resale to have a home inspection.
- Is a home inspection required? Petra Norris says no, but why would you skip your home inspection?
- Make the most of your home inspection. Luke Skar provides nine tips for a successful home inspection.
Home Inspection Checklist: Here’s What To Look For, was written for Kevin Vitali by Chandler Crouch Realtors.
Chandler Crouch Realtors is a full-service real estate brokerage specializing in helping people buy and sell homes in North Texas. We bring together top Realtors, unparalleled service, and cutting-edge technology to provide the best possible experience for our clients.