The 4-1-1 on Inspections

| Sunday, August 1st, 2010 | No Comments »

WARNING: The following information about inspections is based on good old-fashioned real estate experience, not scientific research! But first I need to back up a little and explain what an inspection is. I work with a lot of first time homebuyers who are not aware of the inspection process. An inspection will run a buyer between $250-$450 depending on the size of the home and will not only give you piece of mind that you are buying a house that’s in good condition, it will help identify any potential problems that could arise with the home.

I like to consider the inspection Step #2 of the home buying process. Step #1 is the offer and once the offer reaches “mutual acceptance” (meaning the buyer and seller have agreed on all aspects of the offer) we move to the inspection. This is done at the buyer’s expense and there is usually a 7-10 day window in which this needs to be done. It is long, a bit boring but extremely necessary in my opinion. Is it necessary on new construction? You bet! Even the best builders can overlook things if they are under a time crunch or are working on several homes at once. So whether you follow the inspector around and ask questions every step of the way or simply wait for the report at the end, you will learn more about the home you are buying then you ever thought possible.

So the inspection is over…now what? Typically the inspector will give you a report either on the spot or a few days following the inspection with a section highlighting the items that need immediate attention. At this point there are 3 main options for the buyer. 1.) The buyer can take the information and proceed with the purchase of the home making a mental note to attend to the items once they own the home. 2.) The buyer can use the inspection items as part of the negotiation by asking the seller to either fix the items, lower the price or give a credit to the buyer so they can fix them on their own. 3.) Terminate the offer.

I will tell you that in my experience (again, this is not based on scientific research) the biggest “freak out” issues for my buyers are almost always RATS and/or MOLD! Are these really the most concerning items facing a new homeowner? Not in the least. They are usually easy to remedy and are not nearly as expensive as a new roof, faulty wiring or a bad foundation. But I guess it’s similar to how most of us involuntarily itch our heads when we hear the word lice; hearing the words mold and rats conjures up bad images in our heads. But usually no matter what the outcome of the report, my buyers are able to get through the inspection and move onto the last step of the home buying process which is securing financing and closing the deal. And here is where all parties involved (seller, buyer and agent) are usually ready to celebrate!

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