When you’re in the process of selling your home, chances are your potential buyer is going to want to hire a home inspector to come and observe any issues that may exist in the property. These issues can be health, safety, or mechanical issues – and more often than not, most issues may spring out and come as a nasty surprise for you.
However, this is all part of the process. Before closing the sale, the buyer must first ascertain that the investment he or she is making will be a fair and transparent purchase with no major safety risks. Home inspection is also done in accordance to state standards as well – though rules and regulations for different states may vary slightly.
Here’s the thing: it’s always worth remembering that no home is perfect. But if you take some precautionary steps beforehand, you can almost always ensure the best prices for the sale of your home, and not risk killing a contract right when you’re ready to take it off the market.
Here’s what happens in a home inspection, and what a home inspector does.
What does a home inspector do?
Home inspectors are private eyes – for the real estate world. They come with a long and very thorough list of things that they are required to check for in the homes that they are sent out to. Any kind of defects, damages, issues, and problems will be checked by the home inspector, as well as major concerns which may jeopardize the health and safety of the new residents of the property.
The major things that home inspectors look out for are:
- Water damages
Water damage is one of the most common issues that homeowners face – however, this can be easily avoided by ensuring that any leaks are plugged up and repaired well before it causes any damage to the walls or ceilings.
- Roof damage
As the saying goes, a house should be “a roof over your head”. This means that the roof is one of the most important parts of your home that will be assessed in a home inspection.
- Plumbing and sanitation issues
Modern plumbing and sanitation systems are essential to any home, and should be looked after for the health and safety of its residents. Home inspectors place emphasis on this part of the inspection.
- Electrical system issues
Running electricity to a home consists of numerous wires, trip boxes and a strong connection to the local grid. If there are any electrical issues in your house, chances are you might not get a good price for it when you sell – ensure that all electricity issues in your home are fixed as soon as they appear.
- Structural issues
The structural integrity of your home is the bedrock of your house value – if there are any cracks in the foundation beams or any structural damages throughout your home, this will affect the sale price significantly – so make sure to get those checked before you even consider putting it on the market.
- Pest infestations
Pest infestations are a bane for every homeowner, and especially for a potential buyer, this will be an absolute put-off. Home inspectors check for this issue thoroughly to ensure that there will not be any nasty surprises in the form of critters and bugs for the new owners of the home.
- HVAC issues
HVAC (which stands for Heating, Ventilation, Air-Conditioning) is one of the most important components of a home. If there are issues with the HVAC, this means that the home cannot be properly climate controlled, affecting the quality of life for its residents.
What happens during a home inspection?
Firstly, the home inspector arrives at your home with a list of things that he or she needs to check through. And more often than not, this list is very thorough – which means that a typical home inspection for an average sized house will take several hours at least.
The home inspector goes through the interior, exterior and all areas of the house to record any defects, hazards or issues that he or she finds. Usually, the key things that home inspectors look for are major safety issues – cosmetic issues such as peeling wallpaper or things that can be easily repaired by a handyman aren’t as much a cause for concern as compared to a major water pipe leak in the 2nd floor bathroom that is causing water damage to the ceiling of the living room right underneath it.
Homeowners are allowed to be present during the home inspection, but more importantly, the person who arranges and schedules the home inspection (the buyer or real estate agent) should always be present when the home inspector is there, to avoid any doubt.
Lastly, the final report is completed within 3 to 4 days, with a rundown of all major issues or defects that need to be fixed immediately, if necessary, prior to closing the sale.
How does a home inspection affect a sale?
If your home inspection is absolutely spotless, then your asking price is fair and justified, meaning the buyer wouldn’t have enough leverage to negotiate for a much lower asking price. However, if the home inspection reveals a lot of underlying issues in your home, this gives the buyer a chance to renegotiate the contract to a price that is fair.
If a buyer walks away from the sale completely, this might affect the future value of the home, as this is a red flag for other potential buyers who see that it has been under a pending contract, but put back on the market after a failed negotiation.
This all just means that in the grand scheme of things, keeping your home well-maintained regularly is one of the best things you can do to keep your investment safe and to make sure that when the day arrives that you have to sell your home, it will be a fuss-free process.