You’ve fallen in love, you found the one! Like the other “three little words”, these words will also make your palms sweat, your heart race and are strongly recommended in order to continue the courtship. Real estate inspection. For a buyer, an inspection is a means to ensure that the one they fell in love with doesn’t harbor surprises…expensive surprises. For the seller, this stage of the romance may mean that they will end up feeling devalued or forced to repair things.
The dreaded home inspection….but for both buyers and sellers it doesn’t have to be.
Contrary to popular misconception, home inspectors aren’t there to kill a deal. They are there to help a buyer understand better what they are buying. Another misunderstanding is that a home inspection offers a sort of warranty on the house; it does not. Good inspectors will make a concerted effort to work with all parties involved in an inspection, but it helps if both the buyer and the seller know what to expect.
What a Buyer Should Expect
For the buyer, a home inspection is designed to let them know what they’re getting into. A home inspection is a detailed analysis of the condition of a house and each of its operating systems. The list includes structural elements — foundation, walls, support beams, chimney, roof and systems including heat, plumbing, electrical and air-conditioning. An inspection helps the buyer make an informed decision and determine whether there are any major conditions they weren’t aware of. The inspections can also be every educational as they also learn about the different systems in their house, and what to expect based on the age and condition of things. A buyer is always encouraged to be present during the inspection; follow along and ask questions! But there are some limitations. Inspections are visual inspections, not technical inspections, nor is it a building code inspection.
An average home inspection should last about three to four hours and will vary based on size and age of home. A buyer should expect to receive a comprehensive written report styled like a checklist that summarizes the key components of the home and makes note of items that are working, deficient or in need of repair. Photographs are usually also included for reference to items that are brought to attention. An inspection will not cover superficial or cosmetic items. Try to maintain an open mind and obtain estimates and/or second opinions for any items that are of concern. Remember, most homes aren’t “perfect”, so it is your decision whether its “perfect for you”.
For Sellers-Get Ready
For the seller an inspection produces different anxieties — starting with the discomfort of allowing strangers into the house to poke around and, potentially, find faults. Some sellers may prefer to avoid surprises and perform a pre-listing inspection and have the house fully inspected to identify and possibly fix any existing problems before putting the house on the market. By doing this, its usually cheaper to fix something under their own terms as opposed to a reactive price reduction that may threaten a successful closing. A pre-inspection can produce problems however. If the seller decides not to address any problems found, he or she is legally obliged to disclose them in Texas and also make the recent inspection report available for review.
A seller should prepare for the inspection day by removing any objects blocking access to key components and have all of the utilities on. The inspector will note on their report that an area was not accessible and this may pose a problem with the buyer if they can’t conduct a full inspection. It is also suggested that the heating and air conditioning systems be serviced and provide the paid receipts upon request. This lets the buyer know you are keeping up with maintenance. Don’t make them wonder what else you might not have maintained.