Conducting inspections is a standard part of most real estate transactions, but too many buyers and sellers find it to be a tense and often stressful experience. As long as you have an accurate idea of what to expect from the home you’re buying or selling, there’s no need to panic. Your agent is here to make sure you have as much information and preparation as possible going into inspection day, and these are a few important points to consider as it draws near:
- Pre-Inspections: When you sell your home, you have the option to pre-inspect it. Most buyers will still conduct their own inspections after they go under contract, but there are some advantages to having your own done ahead of time. First of all, if you want to avoid surprises during your buyer’s inspections then this will reveal any potential issues that you may have to address and prepare you for the cost that could be involved. You may also wish to correct any defects revealed in pre-inspections before you put your house on the market to attract more buyers to your property. If you’re a buyer on the other side of the transaction, a pre-inspected home shows that the seller is invested in the process and desires a smooth transaction for both parties.
- Show Me the Money: Inspections are the primary negotiating point in most real estate transactions, so if anything significant is revealed and both parties wish to continue with the transaction they typically pursue one of two options: the sellers will pay out of pocket to repair the items of concern before closing the deal, or the buyers will negotiate the price down and accept the existing defects. While this decision is up to the buyer and seller to agree upon, the best course of action for both parties is to negotiate the price. This avoids disagreements regarding who should complete the repairs or the quality of the workmanship, which can be a big source of contention. One important point both parties should remember is that a hefty report doesn’t necessarily mean hefty problems; in fact, according to realtor.com the average inspection report covers around 1,600 items, and it’s not uncommon for even a standard report to be about 35 pages long.
- Additional Options: A general home inspection focuses on the overall condition and function of the home, such as the soundness of doors and windows and functionality of appliances, as well as the condition of structural and major mechanical elements, such as the roof and electrical system. Based on the findings from the general inspection as well as other factors such as location and age of the home, buyers may want to hire specialists to conduct other inspections. If there are any signs of settling in the home, a foundation inspection is always a good idea since those repairs are quite costly. Chimneys are another item that can quickly rack up repair costs if the liner is compromised or there are cracks in the flu, so if you plan to cozy up to the fireplace during cold weather then a chimney inspection is worth the money up front. One important inspection that many buyers and sellers don’t think about but is often needed is a sewer inspection; the homeowner is responsible for the portion of the sewer line on their property, and if it is compromised it can cost thousands of dollars to fix. If the home is in a more rural area and on a septic tank instead of a sewer line, you’ll definitely want to get that checked.
- Make the Right Choice: After hiring the right real estate agent, one of the most important decisions you make during your transaction is hiring the right inspector. There are a lot of great companies out there and ultimately the decision is up to you, but it’s extremely important that you have someone trustworthy who knows their craft and doesn’t have an alarmist nature. Your agent will be happy to recommend companies that they have a professional history with and who have proven their trustworthiness and excellence.