Buying new house

Home Inspection for Buyers: What To Look Out For

Going through prospective properties for your ideal home can be exciting. But it can be daunting once you get to the home inspection phase, where potential issues could be uncovered.

Whether it’s examining a good house and land package in an upscale or modest neighborhood, you should know what to expect during the inspection phase. Below are some things to look out for.

Inspectors have your best interests in mind

A home inspector’s role is to uncover any issue with a house. Before you make the big decision and seal the deal, they will come in and help you identify potential problems.

Going through the seller’s property disclosure statement, the inspector will examine areas for mold and mildew growth, termite infestation, clogging by the sink — to name a few. Depending on what the local authorities require sellers to disclose, this list can expand further.

After identifying all issues, the inspector will typically prepare a report which will specify suggested next steps and remedies. Lean in on the inspector’s expertise, but don’t hesitate to clarify and ask questions if things seem unclear.

You can start looking for home inspectors through ASHI’s (American Society of Home Inspectors) “Find an Inspector” online platform.

There are limits to what inspectors can detect

While it may seem like inspectors have everything covered, they won’t be able to detect all underlying issues.

This is normal since inspectors have a general focus. They usually won’t go any further than plain sight examination. So issues that aren’t visible won’t be properly identified.

For instance, if climbing up a roof to examine a chimney crown isn’t feasible, they won’t go through the risk of injury. However, they will find alternative ways to examine the issue from afar, but this may result in less than optimal assessments.

Furthermore, don’t expect home inspectors to thoroughly examine areas such as drainage, swimming pools, and fireplaces. These areas require specialists like drainage inspectors and chimney inspectors. Consider enlisting their services as well, if needed.

Your attendance isn’t required but best to be present during the inspection

Some home buyers prefer leaving the inspecting to the pros. However, in terms of learning more about the house, you’ll be at a disadvantage. Seriously consider showing up for the home inspection.

Expect to carve out 2 or 3 hours of your time for this. The inspection will start from top to bottom, from checking for leaks in the attic to inspecting electrical installations in the basement.

You can raise questions right away while the inspection is underway, and you’ll have a better understanding of the nuances of your potential new home. You can also ask your agent to accompany you. Having them by your side is added support towards helping you assess the severity of an issue.

Flag significant issues to the seller but don’t expect everything to go your way

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The law compels buyers to make repairs involving building code violations and safety considerations. These are significant problems that you, your inspector, and your agent should flag accordingly.

To ask the seller to repair these areas, you can send a formal request for repairs through your agent. These requests should indicate which part of the house should be fixed and should have a copy of the inspection report.

However, it’s not often that these issues pop up. Most types of repairs are minor and can be negotiated with a seller. Don’t expect the seller to repair every little crack and blemish you see, though. Focus on the non-negotiables first and then consult your agent if you can reasonably handle on your own the remaining minor repairs.

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