In short, Yes.
As a homebuyer it can be exciting to have an offer accepted. Once you have found the home you can imagine growing your life in, being able to move forward with the process is an immense feeling. The next step in the homebuying process is to get a homeowner’s inspection. Typically, you will have a ten day period after the acceptance of your offer to schedule an inspector and make any repair requests or negotiations. After the specified inspection period, if you haven’t gotten your dream house checked out, you waive the ability to do so. In an aggressive market, some agents might tell you that waiving your inspection from the outset makes your offer more competitive, but it is a rare case that waiving this contingency is advisable. Even new construction can have a few quirks that you’d rather know about than not. It is certainly worth the extra cost to get an expert to look over the home.
What can I do with the information in an inspection report?
A homeowner’s inspection must be conducted by a licensed home inspector. Inspectors are familiar with building code, condition requirements, general structural issues, and overall fitness for purchase. They won’t necessarily catch every problem with your home, but a good inspector will make you aware of as many things as possible. The main function of the inspection is to inform you, as a buyer, about the maintenance and repair needs of your new home. In the event that the inspector finds a problem that is too serious to live with, you have a few choices.
- One thing you can do is ask that the seller fix the problem before close. However, they can refuse to do so.
- If the seller refuses to repair the issues, you can ask that they either pay for the repairs to be made after close, or that they reduce the sale price of the house.
- If they refuse to negotiate on those terms, then you are free to walk away from the deal with your initial deposit in tact.
- You can also decide to take on the home in its present condition. If you really love the place and can afford to make the repairs, there is no reason to leave the table.
- It is worth noting that if something is found in a homeowner’s inspection it becomes material fact, whether or not the seller agrees with it. In the event that a seller has had a previous homeowner’s inspection conducted by another party, it is incumbent on them and their agent to disclose that information to any buyers.
What kind of defects can the home inspector find?
Not all problems are created equal. Every house has issues, and some of those are just part of homeownership. Understanding the findings of the report can save you some headaches as you decide how and if to move forward with the sale. Generally, issues can be broken into three categories of seriousness.
Category 1: Safety Issues Requiring Immediate Attention:
These could include items such as mold, termites, structural damage, or a failing roof. This type of issue is the most rare of the three categories, but also the most important. Should the inspector discover something in this category, it would be a good idea to negotiate with the Seller to either remedy the issue prior to closing, or financially compensate you for handling it on your own.
Category 2: Material Defects:
This category does not necessarily affect the safety or habitability of the home, but does affect the market value of the property. Examples could include: wear and tear of floors, a furnace that only has a couple years left of useful life, cosmetic defects with the windows, etc. These should be handled on a case by case basis. The price of the home may already reflect these issues.
Category 3: Home Maintenance Items:
This category does not affect the market value of the home, but instead contains helpful information for you to maintain your property once you are the owner. Examples include: Showing you how to change the air filter in the furnace and reminding you to shut off the exterior water valve to prevent frozen pipes in winter. These items are generally for informational purposes.
How do I find an Inspector?
If you are the homebuyer, your experienced real estate agent can offer you a short list of trusted inspectors. If you are the home seller, your agent is prohibited from recommending an inspector, as this constitutes a conflict of interest. The seller’s agent is allowed to offer a complete list of licensed inspectors, but the client must choose on their own.
At Coastal Point Properties, we are experienced representatives of both sellers and buyers. We can help you through either side of the home inspections process. As seller’s agents, we will do our best to anticipate any issues the inspector may find and factor those into the original list price. This approach limits negotiations during the inspection period and offers a fair value for your home. As buyer’s representatives, we will help you to assess the information in your homeowner’s report and use our experience and market understanding to guide you through the nexts steps.
It would be our pleasure to assist you in the homebuying process. Give us a call today to speak with an agent about your real estate needs. Check out next month’s blog for more great tips from Coastal Point Properties!