If you are searching for a new home, there are a few things at the top of your mind: does the space fit your needs? Could you see yourself living in it? Is it clean and could it meld with your personal style? But most importantly, you want to know: is the home safe?
That is exactly what home inspections are for! Home inspectors take a thorough look at the home to ensure it is safe and that you have all the info you need to be ready for move-in day. As you move forward on your home buying journey, it’s important to know what exactly a home inspection is, why you need it, and what you need to do during the process.
What does a Home Inspection Include?
During a residential home inspection, the home inspector will thoroughly observe, test, and evaluate many aspects inside and outside the home. They will document and photograph concerns, safety hazards, and other observations in an inspection report, and relay the information to the homebuyer or real estate agent. Home inspectors will also take note of anything that may need a close eye on, or that may need further attention in the future.
But, what exactly does a home inspector look out for? The beauty about home inspections is that the process is very detailed and thorough, looking at things that you may never even think about. With a trustworthy inspector, you can have confidence that everything you need to know about the home is in one report. That is because home inspectors look at the home’s:
- Grading and drainage
- Floor, wall, and ceiling structures
- Roof drainage system
- Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
- Electrical outlets
- Water supply system
- Waste and vent system
- Heating and cooling equipment
- Garbage disposal
- Range hood
- Range or oven
- Trash compactor
- Bathroom exhaust fans
- Garage door operator
This is a common list of what home inspectors look for, and encapsulates what Marigold Home Inspectors look for. However, each home inspection company varies on what is included in a home inspection.
Why is a Home Inspection Important?
Once you have the home inspection report, you can make confident decisions in the rest of your home buying or home maintenance process. The home inspector may find minor concerns or safety hazards that can be easily and inexpensively fixed. This can reassure you that the property is well maintained, and is ready to move into with little to no negotiation.
However, the home inspector may also find major, and possibly life-threatening hazards such as structural issues or possible fire hazards in the electrical system. If this is the case, you and your Realtor can discuss the implications of these findings on your decision to purchase the home. While it can be very disappointing to find these major concerns, it’s always best to find them sooner rather than later to ensure you always have a safe home to come back to.
In addition to being a tool to aid in decision making, the home inspection report can also be used as an ongoing checklist to plan and budget for future repairs and maintenance.
When Should You Get a Home Inspection?
If you are buying a home, it is recommended to have a home inspection soon after the seller accepts your offer. Homebuyers often make an offer with an inspection contingency, which allows the homebuyer a certain amount of time to conduct a home inspection. A home inspection contingency also allows the buyer to negotiate with the seller or back out of the purchase if major concerns are found.
You may have heard about the recent real estate market seeing inspection contingencies waived, but our experience has shown that the majority of buyers are still including them, and if not, requesting permission to have a home inspection completed for their own information. If the seller does not approve, then buyers will schedule their inspection after they are in the home.
A pre-listing home inspection is a great option for those selling their homes. This inspection is completed prior to listing the house in order to find out the condition of the home and either make the recommended repairs in order to be able to list for top dollar, or to acknowledge any issues on the front end to avoid any delays in closing later.
If your home has never been inspected, or if it has been many years, you can schedule a full home inspection or higher level 5-Point Inspection at any time so that you can know the condition of your home. This way, you can catch minor concerns before they become more expensive and dangerous.
How Do You Start the Home Inspection Process?
So, now that you know the ins and outs of what a home inspection is, how exactly do you get started on the process? Well, first things first, once you know you will need a home inspector, it is time to give a home inspection company a call. Searching for “home inspectors near me” will give you a variety of home inspectors to choose from. You can reach out to a few different companies to compare pricing and availability, and it’s always recommended to take the time to read their reviews. As in most industries, not all home inspection companies are created equal, and you want to be sure you will not only get a high-quality inspection, but that the home inspector will take the time to walk you through the home to answer your questions, and be sure you understand the inspection report.
Another important thing to know prior to scheduling is whether you want to have any other aspects of the home tested. These are called ancillary services, and are offered to take a more in-depth look at areas of the home that are not included in the home inspection. Examples of ancillary services include radon testing, visual sewer scopes, level 2 chimney inspections, mold testing, water testing, etc. Not all home inspection companies offer ancillary services, and it can be very helpful and convenient to choose one that can do all the services you need at once.
It will be the homebuyer’s responsibility to pay for the home inspection. However, if you include in your offer that the seller contributes to the closing costs, you may not have to pay for the entirety of the inspection. The home inspection could cost anywhere between $300 and $1,000, depending on the property, how thorough the inspection is, and what home inspector you choose.
What Do I Need to Do For The Home Inspection?
While your home inspector will take care of the actual inspection, there are a few things you can do to get the most out of the inspection and help it go smoothly. What you need to do for a home inspection depends on your role in the process.
As a homebuyer, it is highly encouraged to attend the home inspection. Most companies will offer a walkthrough which is the time dedicated to walking you through the home and reviewing everything that was found during the inspection. This can help you become more familiar with the home, and show you important places to check while maintaining it. When you attend the walkthrough, the inspector can also answer any questions you may have. And of course it’s another chance to get into your new home which is always exciting!
As a real estate agent, it is also recommended to attend the home inspection, with or without the homebuyer. You can also take the chance to discuss the report with the inspector. This will give you crucial insight as the homebuying process moves forward and can help you advise the homebuyer.
As a homeowner, you will need to provide access to the home, ensure the utilities have been turned on, and make sure the home inspector has access to key inspection points such as the electrical panel and crawl space. If any pets are living in the home, it is also recommended that they stay at a loved one’s place or a kennel while the inspection takes place.
What Happens After The Inspection?
After the actual home inspection is complete, it’s time to take a look at the report. Many home inspectors will provide you with a physical home inspection report for you to flip through. At Marigold, we deliver a digital report the same day of the inspection. You can view a sample report here. This digital report provides a thorough view of everything the inspector analyzed, with many pictures and explanations of the home’s condition.
You can then take a look at the report and take note of any serious problems that you would like to be addressed before moving forward with the purchase. As a homebuyer, your real estate agent can talk to the seller about your repair requests and start the negotiation process. Once the report is in your and your real estate agent’s hands, you are well on your way to making confident home-buying decisions.
Home inspections are a crucial aspect of buying and maintaining a home. Home inspections help you catch concerns before they become bigger, and major concerns before they put you or your loved ones in danger. With the right home inspection company, you don’t have to be stressed about another aspect of buying a home. Instead, you will be able to learn more about the home, while ensuring you can move into and maintain the home of your dreams.