Purchasing your first home comes with a lot of excitement and a lot of new experiences. It’s normal for new homebuyers to have plenty of questions when buying a home, even when many hours of research have been done beforehand. Spending years saving up for your first home is only one part of the picture. New homebuyers should research the entire process, including talking to professionals, like their realtor and mortgage broker, so they know what to expect. Part of the home buying process is having the home inspected. When you go to your first open house, you may not notice small details or issues in the home because it’s been staged, and you’re briefly taking a look around. The first impression may be excellent, but you will want a professional to go through the property with a fine-tooth comb. The final decision on your purchase is dependent on a professional inspection.
What should you expect with your home inspection?
As a savvy homebuyer, it’s essential to know what you should expect regarding a home inspection and what is typically included. A professional inspector will go through a thorough checklist to ensure your home is worth purchasing. The buyer is liable for the inspection cost during the sale, and you should expect to pay up to $700, depending on the company you choose. An inspector will ensure the home’s structural components aren’t compromised, and everything is in proper working order. The bank requires an inspection to determine that your new home is worth investing in before providing a mortgage. A typical inspection won’t check for asbestos or mold, so consider hiring a specialist for these.
Choosing an inspector
Like any other home improvement job or professional repair person coming into your home, you want to ensure you’re hiring the right person. When choosing an inspector, asking friends and family for referrals, checking reviews online, and asking your realtor for a referral are all great places to start. Getting quotes and meeting inspectors in person can also be a great idea, as you can find out who feels like the best fit. Something to look for is a professional that will explain their process and answer any questions you may have. They should be customer service-focused and able to do a great job along the way.
What is included in an inspection?
A typical inspection will include several things outside and inside the home to ensure everything is as it should be. Here is a general checklist.
- Stucco, siding, or paint condition
- All doors and windows
- Electrical panels
- Switches and outlets
- The furnace, air conditioner, ventilation, and thermostats
- Ensuring all appliances are in working order
- Plumbing including water pressure, water heater, toilets, fixtures, and faucets
- Walls, flooring, and ceilings
- Stairs and railings
- Basement condition
- Unusual odors
- Crawl spaces if they’re easy to get to
The above checklist is just a general overview. Some companies will include more items or a more comprehensive look at certain aspects of the home. Expect a home inspection to take around two to four hours, and it is crucial for the buyer to be present for it. You can ask questions, explain concerns, and then you can determine what to do with the results. An inspector typically only inspects visible or easy items to get to, so some issues can go undetected if they’re within the walls. Don’t expect to have a perfect inspection, as those don’t typically happen, but many troubles found are likely going to be easy fixes.
After the inspection
Once the inspection is complete, you can decide whether you want to proceed with the sale. If there are small issues that need to be taken care of, you can negotiate with the current owner on price or whether they’ll fix them before you take possession. Having your realtor present can help with mediating and helping you proceed. If you want to make significant changes to the home, you may be willing to take the property as-is. If there is substantial damage, you can decide to walk away from the sale at this time.
Buying a home doesn’t have to be a stressful process with the help of a great realtor. Finding someone with a lot of experience can make the process of buying your first home seamless and enjoyable. Doing your research on the inspection process will help ease any concerns you may have going into a sale. Being a savvy and interested buyer will be the best tools you’ll have at your disposal.
Written By:Lydia Boudreau