This might feel like a formality. Like something you are supposed to do. But trust us, a home inspection is a crucial step in the home buying process. This is a big investment, and a professional inspection is one of the best ways for you to find out exactly what shape that investment is in.
Unfortunately, most people don’t have much experience when it comes to home inspections. What does a home inspector look for? What happens if the house fails inspection? Will we miss out on this house because we are asking for an inspection? Getting quality home inspectors will help you check all through the things you need to look for.
Moreover, we’ll give you some tips on how you can check it on your own. That’s why we put together these 9 home inspection tips for buyers so that you can not only better understand the home inspection process, but also have a better expectation of what to do with the inspection report.
- Make the inspection part of the contract.
Speak with your real estate agent about ways you can require a home inspection as part of any offer you put on a house.
Typically, a contingency clause will be added to any offer or contract on a house that will specifically allow for the buyer to either back out of the deal or renegotiate should some problem be identified during the inspection.
- Don’t hire the cheapest inspector.
Remember that the home inspection process is about protecting you—the buyer—from purchasing a home with major issues.
It’s easy to think that the inspection is some hurdle that you need to pass before you can get to the exciting stuff. But this isn’t something where you just want to bring in somebody to rubber-stamp their approval. You want a professional who is going to take their time and do their job the right way.
- Pre-Inspection Checklist
It’s a great idea to make sure that your professional inspection is done by…well, professionals! But that doesn’t mean you as the home buyer should not be involved as well. You should be an active participant in the inspection, and some of that requires a little bit of work before the inspection begins.
- During the Inspection
One of the most important home inspection tips is to be present at the house during the inspection! Yes, it might be inconvenient and you might have to get out of work for a few hours, but it is worth it.
- Order some extra inspections and testing.
A typical home inspection covers a lot of areas, but sometimes a more specialized inspection or test is needed. This could be a termite inspection or testing for mold. There might be areas a specialist is needed to come out and take a look at something, whether it’s plumbing, electrical, or the HVAC system.
- Don’t expect a perfect report.
Nothing in life is perfect, certainly not your home inspection report. With all the numerous things the inspector is looking at, it would be unrealistic to expect for everything to come back working perfectly. It’s important to remember that the report is designed to give you an accurate assessment of the current state of the home.
- Make an effort to read and understand the report.
The home inspection report will contain a lot of information and can be somewhat intimidating—especially for first time home buyers. But it’s important to read through the document, looking not only at the deficiencies and areas that might need to be improved, but also at the strengths of the home.
- Know what should be fixed, what you should get credit for, and what you should leave be.
There are three broad paths forward for every deficiency found during a home inspection. You can either ask the home seller to fix the issue before closing, ask for a credit on the price of the home so that you can make the repairs yourself, or leave it be.
- Make sure to re-inspect any repairs.
The last of our home inspection tips seems obvious but is forgotten by so many. If the first home inspection identified issues that the seller agreed to fix, make sure to have those repairs checked! Ask for receipts to prove that the repairs were done, but also have your own inspector head back out to make sure everything was done properly. You want to make sure that the seller didn’t cut corners, or tried to do it themselves and didn’t do it properly.
While this might carry an extra cost for you, it’s one that is well worth it and could save you from an even bigger expense down the road.