Should a buyer arrange a home inspection for a home they are buying? Should a seller order a home inspection prior to putting their property on the market? There are advantages to both. Simply put, a home inspection is a visual examination of a home’s physical structure and major systems. It looks at things like walls, ceilings, floors, decks, building envelope, roof, foundation, insulation, ventilation, plumbing, electrical, and heating/cooling systems. An inspection is not an appraisal to validate the value of a home, nor a pass/fail exam. A home inspector will give a report on the physical condition of a home, and suggest areas that need repairs, replacement, or maintenance.
For buyers, a home inspection clause making the property’s purchase contingent upon reviewing a home inspection report’s findings, can provide peace of mind. If a serious problem is found, it allows room to renegotiate the purchase price, negotiate additional terms, or back out of buying the home altogether. In many cases, the seller will have already informed the buyer about any major problems, but a home inspection is still important to identify issues. More often, inspections reveal less serious defects that aren’t enough to logically justify backing out of a transaction. However, knowing about these minor problems can prevent more serious problem down the road. Sometimes, neglecting small maintenance and repair issues can lead to more costly remedies in the future. It’s important to note that inspection clauses can be drafted in such a way that, if defects are found, the cost of the repairs can be at the seller’s expense up to a certain pre-specified limit. Conversely, an inspection clause could be drafted in a way to protect the seller, indicating that the buyer can walk away from the deal if the inspection uncovers defects over a certain monetary limit. It’s important to consult with your REALTOR® and lawyer on this. Another advantage to having a home inspection is that it offers buyers an opportunity to become familiar with their new home and learn about maintenance to help in its upkeep. Although not required, it’s recommended that buyers be present during the inspection. This allows them to observe the inspection, ask questions about the condition of the home, and receive objective feedback on the home’s condition.
For sellers, conducting a home inspection (or pre-inspection) before listing their home for sale, can put control back into their hands. When the buyer’s inspection report points out problems, it can impede negotiations and cost the seller more in repairs. By having a pre-inspection, the seller can significantly reduce the chances of any surprise findings after an offer has been made. The seller can make repairs before placing the home on the market and possibly even increase the value of the home. A pre-inspection can also serve as a great marketing tool. Sellers are required by law to disclose any known latent defects in the home. Having a pre-inspection report available for buyers tells them that the seller has nothing to hide. It also gives buyers a clearer picture of the condition of the home. If there are major problems found during the pre-inspection, it gives the seller an opportunity to disclose the condition up-front, making it less likely for the buyer to pull out of the deal or try to renegotiate the price. As already mentioned, the seller can also opt to make repairs based on the pre-inspection, before listing the home, thereby alleviating any concerns about these items.
Knowing the true condition of a home can bring peace of mind to buyers and sellers – and it be one less hurdle in the home buying or selling process. Consult your real estate sales professional for a list of recommended certified independent home inspectors in your area.