The word home inspection seems pretty straight forward, it is an inspection on a home, but most people don’t know what a home inspection entails and the great value that it can bring to you as a home buyer.
There is a time period in the home buying process called the “due diligence” period, this is the buyer’s time to discover everything about the home, most importantly anything “wrong” with the house. Most states must disclose anything about the house, but in Alabama we are a “Caveat Emptor” state, that’s some fancy latin for “Let the buyer beware”. So, the buyer has the burden of finding anything that would concern them about the house, the easiest way to do this is get a home inspection and that is why a home inspection comes HIGHLY recommended by realtors.
Technically, negotiations on the house are not completely done until after the home inspection, this is because the buyer can request to have things in the home fixed by the sellers, and the sellers can agree to all, some, or none. This is where home inspections can get tricky and where some deals (needlessly) fall apart.
The home inspector is going to inspect EVERYTHING in the house, and anything “wrong” they are going to call. And I use wrong in quotations because they will call even the tiniest crack in a sink, plants being too close to the house, and pretty much every home inspection I’ve been through they call for little extenders to be added to the gutters to divert rain water from the foundation, they are only a dollar or so at a hardware store and can be popped on as easy anything. Think like a seller though, if you see an entire list of small, nearly trivial items, you aren’t going to want to fix them all, especially when the buyer could do it when the home is theres. And I would have to say I agree. But, emotions can run high and the negotiations can become difficult if either side is being unrealistic. Pro-tip, try and stay in the mind-frame of a business deal, focus on the numbers, pros and cons, and try to keep emotions at bay.
I always advise my buyer’s when we go through this process, to listen for big ticket items that fall under these categories: electrical, plumbing, heating/cooling, or health and safety. For example, the home has copper wiring mixed in with other wiring in the fuse box, this is a fire hazard, and can be costly, you’ll want the sellers to fix it. Or, there is a major leak in the home’s foundation, this if left for too long can cause mold to grow, you’d want that to be fixed too. These are reasonable requests.
What if the home inspection reveals a long list of major repairs, even if the sellers are willing to fix some things you’d still be looking at a long list of things to remedy? Then you can back out of the deal, you don’t want to buy something that scares you or that is going to end up being a money pit. It was funny watching Tom Hanks go through it, it wont be funny watching you and your family suffer though.
Aside from that, the home inspector takes pictures of everything in the house, including serial numbers for your major appliances, like your HVAC unit, hot water heater, the air conditioning system. They’ll tell you the age (if they are able to find it or gauge it) and when you can expect to have to replace it. At the end of your home inspection appointment you are given a thumb drive with all of these pictures on it so you’ll have quick access to this information anytime you need it. By the end of the home inspection period you’ll know most of the specifics of the home and you’ll be prepared to care for it when it is yours!
So that’s a quick run-through of what a home inspection is and its value to you as a consumer. If you have any questions or comments feel free to comment!
Do you need a real estate agent to help you get to and through the home inspection period? Fill out a contact form on any page of our website, and someone from our team will be in contact with you as soon as possible!
Written by:Destiny Cash