Home Inspections Are Deal Breakers; Don’t Remake “The Money Pit!”

When you’re pursuing your life dreams, there are some crucial steps that you just can’t skip out on. Want to skydive? You can’t skip strapping the parachute to your back before jumping out of an airplane at 13,000 feet. Deep-sea diving with sharks? You’ll probably need that specialty wet suit with the wire netting. Want to become an Ironman triathlete? You’ll need months of rigorous training before you even get to the starting line.

Though not as precarious as the scenarios above, there are also some crucial steps that you should never skip when pursuing your homebuying dreams, like getting a professional home inspection. No matter the cost, time or inconvenience, a thorough home inspection can mean the difference between long-term happy homeownership and this century’s remake of “The Money Pit.” So whether you’re the homebuyer or seller, make sure you have the home inspected by a certified home inspector before your closing.

Here’s what you need to know:

Purpose of a Home Inspection

Once a homebuyer and seller agree to a purchase price and a sales contract is signed, the buyer, seller, or in many cases, the lender, can request a home inspection. A comprehensive home inspection conducted by a certified residential home inspector will reveal any issues that require repair or replacement. That’s why many homebuyers include a clause within their sales contract, stating that the sale is contingent upon the results of a professional home inspection.

During a home inspection, the inspector will conduct a thorough evaluation of the home’s structure, exterior, roofing, plumbing, electrical, heating and air conditioning, interiors, ventilation, insulation, fireplaces and much more. Any required repairs noted in the inspector’s report can then be negotiated between the buyer and seller.

Finding a Professional Home Inspector

When hiring a home inspector, you’ll want to make sure you find someone that is certified to conduct residential-specific home inspections. To help you find the right professional, REALTOR®Mag suggests asking your home inspector some important questions, like:

  • Do you belong to a professional association, like the American Society of Home Inspectors or the National Association of Home Inspectors?
  • Will your inspection report meet all state requirements?
  • Do you focus on residential inspections?
  • How do you stay up-to-date on the latest residential housing codes?
  • Do you allow homeowners and/or homebuyers to attend the inspection?

Tips For Buyers — If you’re a homebuyer, you get to choose your home inspector. Here are a few tips to for coordinating a home inspection:

  • Get recommendations for a reputable home inspector from people you know and trust.
  • Visit the American Society of Home Inspectors’ website to find an expert in your area.
  • Double check your contract to make sure that you have an inspection contingency clause, stating that your final purchase obligation depends on the results of a professional home inspection.
  • Provide your inspector with a list of any questions or concerns you may have about the property.
  • Plan to attend the home inspection to get first-hand explanations of the inspector’s findings.
  • Estimate two to three hours for the entire inspection.
  • After the inspection is complete, carefully review your inspector’s extensive written report to ensure everything discussed during the inspection is included.
  • Anticipate some found imperfections with the home, as every property has its own unique flaws.
  • If major problems are discovered, you have the right to ask the seller to make repairs or reduce the sale price, if you still want to purchase the home.

Tips For Sellers — Remember that you only get one chance to make a good first impression. So if you already know of some problem areas, like leaky faucets or slow drains, be proactive and fix what you can before the inspection. Some things to consider include:

  • Fix dripping faucets, leaks or clogged drains.
  • Ensure smoke detectors are installed and in good working order.
  • Replace burned-out or missing light bulbs.
  • Change the air filters in your cooling system.
  • Tighten loose doorknobs and door hinges, as well as kitchen and bathroom cabinet knobs or handles.
  • Make sure all windows open and close smoothly, and that there are no broken locks.
  • Trim the trees and shrubs away from your home’s exterior.
  • Prepare a list of any recent repairs or renovations (include the dates of each item), and attach any relevant receipts.
  • Thoroughly clean inside and outside your home, as a dirty or cluttered home can suggest neglectful upkeep.
  • Have keys available for the inspector to check all doors and locks.
  • If the home isn’t occupied, make sure all utilities (electricity, gas, water, etc.) are connected.
  • Make sure the pilot lights on the stove, furnace and water heater are lit.
  • Clear the areas surrounding electrical panels, appliances, etc.
  • Secure a place for your pet that’s out of the way while the inspector is onsite.
  • Plan to leave the home for at least three hours.

Home inspections are meant to help enhance the home-buying and selling process for all parties involved. They are often used to reveal unforeseen repair issues to a buyer, as well as provide a fair and practical measuring stick for a seller’s responsibilities.

How have past home inspections helped you when purchasing or selling a home? Do you have any additional tips for other homeowners? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Whether you’re purchasing or selling a home, PrimeLending wishes you a smooth and successful home inspection. If you’re looking for information on a mortgage plan that fits your financial situation, call a PrimeLending loan expert today.


From the PrimeLending blog, by Mandy Jordan