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Home Inspection

What to Expect from a Home Inspection

When you’re buying or selling a home there are many steps in the process between an offer and closing. One of the most crucial steps is the home inspection. A home inspection is an examination of the condition of a property. Inspectors come to the home before closing to review everything from the foundation to the roof. Their main job is to search for any potentially hazardous or unsafe elements in the property.

While home inspections can make some buyers and sellers nervous because of the unknown, they are vital to ensuring there is no stone left unturned and all the cards are on the table. Inspections are not to be confused with a home appraisal, which is a step taken after the inspection. During the appraisal, a certified appraiser visits the property and gives an unbiased property review determining its true value. Essentially the inspection determines the condition of the property whereas the appraisal determines the value. 

How does a home inspection work?

A home inspection is a necessary step during the home buying process. Because they are so critical and happen with almost every property sale the process is often quite smooth. Inspections are one of the first steps in the home buying journey after signing a purchase agreement. Once a seller accepts an offer on their home, buyers can then hire an inspector to examine the property. In order to gain invaluable insight, the buyer and/or realtor might decide to attend the inspection. 

Buyers are free to hire whomever they’d like and often their realtor will have recommendations of reputable inspectors who are familiar with the area and have all the important certifications. While inspections aren’t cheap (often costing between $300-$500) they provide invaluable information to buyers. Once an inspection is complete, the inspector will provide a full report and buyers can decide how to proceed.

What does a home inspector look for?

Home inspection reports are incredibly detailed as the inspector is doing a full analysis of the property condition. The American Society of Home Inspectors estimate inspections take 2-4 hours to complete depending on the home’s size and condition.

While inspectors review the home in full, there are very specific things they look for on a checklist that helps generate a report. These include structural elements like walls, ceilings, floors, foundation, and roof. In addition to examining the structure of the home, they look carefully at systems and appliances. The main ones inspected include the heating system, air conditioner, plumbing and electric system. If the home has a basement and/or attic the inspector will also spend a great deal of time reviewing these. 

It’s important for those selling the home to provide easy access and clean spaces for inspectors to navigate. During the inspection the last thing anyone wants to do is have to move things around in order to access important structures. Sellers should tidy basements and attics, clean areas around major appliances and leave any keys necessary. 

Home inspectors look at hundreds of variables that determine the condition of a property. While they can look at the home on the surface, there are a few things that the blind eye can’t determine. In addition to a home inspection, a buyer may opt to bring in a termite inspection or pest control company. It’s important to know what flaws the home holds both visibly and under the surface before finalizing a sale.

What are some of the most common issues home inspectors find?

Since the home inspector checks the entire home, some issues about its condition might come to light in an inspection report. Great reports provided by home inspectors can be quite extensive. These reports include photographs, checklists and suggestions based on the inspector’s findings. The main thing they will look for are if something in the home is broken or a hazard, rather than anything cosmetic. There can be countless issues both big and small found during a full review of any property, but there are a few common ones. 

One issue found during many inspections is water damage. Inspectors look for signs of water damage in the form of stains on walls and ceilings as well as dampness in the basement area. Depending on the severity of the damage, this could be an easy fix or a deal-breaker. Another common issue that inspectors find are roof issues. Roofs are constantly being tested as they are the barrier between the home and extreme weather elements. Aged surfaces, leaks, and improper installation can all lead to costly future repairs. 

HGTV states that in addition to water and roof issues, inspectors often discover faulty electrical wiring. Depending on the age and state of the home, electrical wiring could create major issues down the road. While many of the issues inspectors find are small and easy to fix, it’s important to know as a buyer what your deal-breakers are so you can feel confident in your purchase.

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What happens after a home inspection?

Homes are meant to be lived in and even though sellers often do their due diligence to prepare their home for sale, there’s no such thing as a perfect home. After a home inspection report is final, the buyer can then make a decision whether they want to leave everything as is, renegotiate the offer, withdraw their offer or ask the seller to fix any issues the inspector found. It is up to the buyer to decide what is a deal-breaker and what is important to negotiate and up to the seller to decide whether or not they can fulfill any requests.

Understanding the full process of your home buying journey is incredibly important. Our team at MHS Lending knows that full transparency is critical and working with an experienced team is the best way to feel confident when buying your dream home. Veteran to veteran, we’ll help you make strong, well-informed decisions and are here to help every step of the way.