Do you worry about investing money in a home only to discover that it has damage that will cost you thousands of dollars? A home is a major investment and worrying about buying a money pit is a real and normal response.
But there is a simple solution to your worries. Getting a thorough home inspection before you close on that deal will help put your mind at ease.
Yes, but how much is a home inspection? Well, the value of the home inspection is well worth the price tag. The home inspector will look at all the major areas of your home and give you a full report that you can use in many ways.
What Is a Home Inspection?
When buying a home, a buyer may contact a professional home inspector to take a look at the property to ensure there’s no structural damage that could affect the value of the home. They have a home inspection checklist to follow.
When choosing a home inspector, choose an inspector certified through the state board. And don’t forget to check online reviews.
If you’re not sure who you can choose, ask your real estate agent for some suggestions. Chances are they have worked with many home inspectors and can share a list of their favorites with you.
The home inspection itself will take approximately 2-4 hours to complete and covers several areas:
- Electrical system
- Windows and doors
- Insulation and ventilation
- Structural integrity
Once the inspector has completed his observation of these key areas, he will compile his findings in a report to share with the home buyer.
Armed with this thorough inspection of the home, the buyer can make a much more informed decision on the purchase of the home.
In real estate contracts, an inspection period is generally built-in. The inspection period gives the buyer a set amount of time, from a few days to a few weeks, to perform any inspections they choose to help them make the best decision possible.
In most cases, a home inspection should be the first inspection performed. The home inspection alerts the potential buyer if the home needs other specific inspections.
Who Pays for the Home Inspection?
During most real estate transactions for the purchase of a home, it’s the buyer’s responsibility to pay for the home inspection. And that makes sense because you definitely want to choose your own, objective inspector to perform the inspection of the home.
In other words, it’s a conflict of interest for the seller to hire the home inspector. The seller is motivated to find an inspector who will give him a clear report. As the buyer, you want to control the inspection to make sure you get an accurate and thorough report from the home inspector.
Most home inspections will cost between $300-$500. The actual cost will depend on the size of the home and sometimes the distance the inspector has to travel to perform the inspection.
Some home inspectors will work with buyers to collect at closing. But most will need payment before they perform the inspection.
What About a Pre-Listing Inspection?
A pre-listing inspection performs a different purpose. As a seller, you may want to invest in your own home inspection before putting your home on the market.
A pre-listing home inspection will help you head off any potential issues your future buyers may discover. Many home purchase contracts have fallen through due to a major issue found by a home inspector.
If you find the issues before you list, you can choose a number of options to move the sale of your home forward. You can choose to fix the issues. Or you can adjust your offer price on your home to compensate for the problems.
For example, if your home inspection discovers that your home’s roof needs replacing or if your home has aluminum wiring, those issues can kill a real estate transaction. Most buyers don’t want to take on repairs that will cost more than $10,000.
As the seller, you can choose to replace the roof or the wiring before you list the home. Then you can offer your home at a premium price because you’ve added value to the home for the buyer.
Many pre-listing inspections turn up smaller projects that the seller can repair before listing. That gives the seller peace of mind crazy things won’t come up once a buyer is under contract to purchase the home.
How Can I Use a Home Inspection?
As a buyer, once you get a home inspection for a home you’re under contract to purchase, you may be able to re-negotiate the asking price on the home.
If the seller did not have a pre-listing inspection he may not be aware of any issues until a buyer performs a home inspection during the inspection phase of the contract. If the home inspection uncovers some sort of damage or something that needs repair or replacement, the buyer then has the power to ask for repairs or negotiate a lower price for the home to reflect the cost to make the repairs.
For example, a home inspector may discover during his inspection that the HVAC is old and only has a year or two left before it needs replacing. That’s typically a hefty cost – depending on the size of the unit and installation it could cost between $5,000 – $12,000.
A buyer may not want to pay the full asking price for a home if he knows he’s going to have to replace the HVAC within the first few years of owning the home. He might ask the seller to knock $5,000 off his asking price. And the seller, not wanting to pay for the replacement of the HVAC himself, might consider the buyer’s offer and accept $5,000 less to purchase the home.
In another example, if the home inspector discovers that one of the windows has a crack in it or is fogged, that’s a simpler repair. The homeowner will most likely replace window panes that are broken or damaged to keep the ball rolling on the real estate transaction.
Most real estate contracts allow for a certain dollar amount of repairs that the seller will have to meet. It’s a negotiable amount, but whatever the amount is, the buyer can ask for repairs up to that amount.
In the case of VA loans, certain requirements must be met, called Minimum Property Requirements (MPRs). Things like broken windows and missing window screens must be repaired before approving the VA loan.
Honestly, most of the smaller items discovered during the home inspection may not be repaired before the closing of the contract. But, the great thing is, your home inspection report can serve as a checklist of home improvement projects you can take on once you own the home.
Is It Worth It?
At the end of the day, working with a good home inspector is totally worth the money you spend to get the home inspection.
Wouldn’t you agree that paying a few hundred dollars is well worth the information you get inside the home inspection report? For the peace of mind as well as the leverage you get during the home buying process, the money you spend on the home inspection pays for itself.
If you’re thinking of buying or selling a home in Northeast Ohio, contact Class Home Inspection and check out our Sample Home Inspection Report.