In a typical real estate transaction, the home inspection is conducted after the offer is accepted and before the purchase and sales agreement is signed.
But there’s another side to the home inspection coin – one that is rarely considered. In certain situations, sellers should also consider engaging in a “home inspection” of their own to identify issues that could short circuit an otherwise smooth transaction.
But, let’s start with the most typical home inspection, the one that comes following an accepted offer.
Real estate professionals have a short list of inspectors they’ve worked with in the past and can recommend. HGTV suggests that buyers consider the following five areas when choosing the right home inspector for them:
1. Qualifications – Find out what’s included in the inspection and if the age or location of the home may warrant specific certifications or specialties.
2. Sample Reports – Ask for a sample inspection report to review how thoroughly inspectors will be checking the home. In most cases, the more detailed the report, the better.
3. References – Ask for phone numbers and names of past clients to call and discuss their experiences.
4. Memberships – Not all inspectors belong to a national or state association of home inspectors, and membership in one of these groups should not be the only way to evaluate the choice. Membership in one of these organizations does, however, often mean continued training and education are required.
5. Errors and Omission Insurance – Find out what the liability of the inspector or inspection company is once the inspection is over. Inspectors are only human and it is possible they might miss something they should see.
Ask your inspector if it’s okay to tag along during the inspection, so he/she can point out anything that should be addressed or fixed.
Don’t be surprised to see the inspector climbing on the roof or crawling around in the attic and on the floors. The job of the inspector is to protect the buyers’ investment and find any issues with the home, including but not limited to: the roof, plumbing, electrical components, appliances, heating and air conditioning systems, ventilation, windows, fireplace and chimney, foundation, and more.
Buyers should thoroughly review the inspector’s report, then meet with their real estate professional to discuss their concerns and how they wish them to be addressed.
So what about a home inspection for sellers? You don’t necessarily have to pay an inspector to go through your home, but it might not be a bad idea, if your house is older or has a history of structural or mechanical issues.
You also might consider a professional home inspection, if you have limited knowledge about a property, because you are a family member selling a home for an older relative or one who has passed away. We recently experienced this situation with one of our clients.
From all appearances, the home was in fine shape. However, a buyer’s inspection revealed several issues that the family member was unaware of, but a professional inspection would have identified. They were all addressed, but the process was derailed.
As homeowners, we’re well aware of items that need to be dealt with. Some will be identified by an inspector as areas of concern.
For example, the back bedroom window that doesn’t open that you’ve been going to repair for years? Fix it. The buyer’s inspector is sure to identify it as an issue. The broken step on the basement stairs? That should be fixed, too. It’s a safety concern.
It’s hard to do, but step back and look at your home, as if you were going to buy it. What would concern you? Ask your realtor for his/her thoughts, too.
By addressing the obvious, you’re opening the door for smoother discussions should any hidden — and potentially costly — issues appear.
With most experts predicting that home prices are going to continue to increase, this is a great time to purchase your first or dream home. If you do so over the next few weeks, you should be settled in time to entertain family and friends in your new home during the holidays.
For sellers, inventory remains tight so it might be wise to take advantage of the lack of competition. Qualified buyers, who understand what they can afford and need, are ready to make decisions. If they’re going to buy a great home, shouldn’t it be yours?
Let us know how we can help, whether you’re looking to downsize or buy that home you’ve been thinking about for years.
Please contact us using the comment section or by calling 508-568-8191 or emailing to [email protected] Thanks…
Enjoy your week…
Mari and Hank