Did you know that the housing market in Ohio is at a record-breaking high!?
The local housing scene is on the up-and-up. Houses on the market in June of this year spent an average of 23 days on listings.
What does this mean for home buyers? It means that when you find your dream home, you’d better make a move on it. Of course, being fast doesn’t mean not being thorough.
Before you make the commitment to buy your home, it’s very important to have a home inspection done. An inspection may uncover things that weren’t disclosed to you before making an offer. Or it may only solidify your love of the home.
But you won’t know until you get one done. Here’s what we have to say about them – from when you should get one, to what they reveal!
What Is a Home Inspection?
It’s exactly what the name suggests!
A professional home inspector gives your potential future home the once-over. They inspect the important things like electricity, foundation, mold, and the like. They know what to look for and where to look for it.
What hidden dangers do inspectors search for when walking around a home?
- Leaking pipes or roof
- Electrical problems, such as exposed wiring
- Issues with the foundation of the home
- Unwanted moisture, which can live in stucco walls
- Pest problems
- Outdated mechanical systems
- Water damage
- Problems with the pool
A home inspector checks your home from the roof to its foundation.
Not every issue is here. Are you buying a home that predates the ’70s? Then you may have a backyard contaminated with oil. That’s right – homeowners used to have large oil tanks in their basements or underground.
Of course, every potential buyer is able to do their own inspection. But unless you’re a professional, it’s worth paying the extra money. This way you know exactly what you’re investing in.
Not every seller discloses problems with their home. First, they may not even know the problem exists! Or they may have forgotten about it, think they fixed it, or they may be hiding it.
A home inspection cuts through the back-and-forth and gives you a straight result.
When Should You Get One?
Home inspections usually happen in the time between when you make an offer and when you make a purchase. It’s not typical for inspections to get performed pre-offer. At this point, the home is still on the market for other potential buyers.
In other words, inspections happen when the home is in escrow. That is what this interim stage is.
Does the thought of inspecting your home after the offer make you nervous? Like you may end up getting stuck with a home overflowing with problems?
Don’t worry – that’s what an inspection contingency is for!
This saves you in the event that the inspection turns up problems you are not ready or able to fix. You’re not “locked in” to a contract until the inspection is over and you’ve made a decision.
What if the inspection reveals issues? You have a few options:
- You can disapprove the report itself and back out of the deal
- You can ask for more time to perform further inspections
- You can request the buyer to perform repairs
What if the seller doesn’t want to perform the necessary repairs? A “due diligence contingency” gives you the space you need to back out of a deal that no longer suits you.
Understanding Disclosure Laws
The law also protects you with disclosure rules. What if the seller knows about a problem but doesn’t disclose it to buyers? They face potential legal issues.
A seller will want to work with you. But why?
If your inspection reveals a problem – and you back out – the seller has to disclose the issues to the next buyer. They don’t want their home going back on the market!
If you hire someone to perform an inspection and then back out, other buyers will want to know why. Those potential buyers could bid a lower amount or ask that the seller perform the repairs.
What Should You Look for in a Home Inspector Service?
A professional service will inform you beforehand what they’ll be looking into. For your peace of mind, an inspector should agree to check out the following:
- Entire interior and exterior
- The crawlspace, basement, and foundation
- The quality of the roof
What if your inspector finds issues? They should provide a detailed list of every problem, with photos and notes to accompany each.
Don’t forget to ask for credentials. Is your inspector a member of the American Society of Home Inspectors? Do they have errors and omissions insurance?
Even an inspector can miss something. Remember to do your part by realizing that they are human, too!
Many services provide a sample report, as well. Feel free to ask to see one before scheduling your own. The more prepared you are, the better you can handle what comes.
An inspector should be an objective third-party. An inspector who also performs repairs may “spot issues” that need repairing! Make sure your home inspector has no agenda.
If you feel weird staying out of the inspection, then don’t! See if you can accompany your inspector, ask questions, and get involved in the process.
One last thing you can do to ensure you’re getting the best inspector possible is ask for references. Previous clients relay information that will help you solidify your decision to hire.
Home Sweet Inspected Home
So, you got a home inspection and it turned up something bad. What should you do next?
Here’s how to handle a bad report!