Home Inspections-Should I Get One, and Why?

The topic of Home Inspection is an ongoing moving target. The industry has changed rapidly, and it can get confusing for a lot of people. Some real estate professionals dislike home inspections, because they fear that an inspection may “Kill the deal”. Some see a great value for their clients. Its an endless debate. My perspective below comes from my decades of experience as a Certified Home Inspector myself, as well as a Home Remodeler, and now a Realtor. This article represents my opinion only.

*Always talk to your Realtor and/or your attorney for advice about any part of your real estate transactions. This article represents the opinion of the writer only and should not be misconstrued as legal advice. It does not in any way represent the official opinions or policies of my sponsoring broker. Please refer any questions about Home Inspections to your Real Estate Agent and/or your Attorney.*

SO HERE WE GO..

In this current market, the question of Home Inspection comes up quite a bit. Here are a few common questions regarding this aspect of your home buying/selling process:

  1. Am I required to get a home inspection when I am buying a house?

In most places, No. But there are a lot of good reasons to consider it. Having a qualified inspector take a look will only protect you. Unless you are very experienced in home construction and know what to look for, things could get missed on your own. Good inspectors look comprehensively at the home, focusing mainly on the safety and condition of the building and components. (They will not open walls, or test for hazards such as radon, mold, asbestos, etc. These are separate, specific inspections that are done by certified inspectors in that particular field). A Home Inspector may make notes on cosmetic items, but remember they are there to make sure the house is solid, safe, and you won’t have big expensive surprises later on. Information is your friend. Use it to have peace of mind during this huge decision you are making, and also possibly to negotiate with a seller in order to make the home safer for you and your family. Also, remember that no home is perfect-they’re going to find something. But a good inspector can certainly help you to avoid buying a Money Pit!

2. But I heard that a lot of people are waiving the inspection, just to get the seller to accept their offer NOW, outbidding me while I wait for my inspection!

Yes, this happens a lot these days, and it CAN work. Be wary of this tactic. If you do it, then yes, you may get the house over somebody else. But try to decide if it’s worth it to you down the road when issues pop up and you weren’t aware of them. Again, information is your friend. Would you buy a used car without having a mechanic or knowledgable friend look it over first?

3. If I get an inspection done, who takes care of any repairs that are recommended?

It depends. It’s up to you. You may really want the house, and you could be happy that at least you know about the problems and can budget your repairs for later on, (within reason of course). Or, you could ask the seller to reduce their price or give you a credit at closing, because of the problems you uncovered. Or you could ask the seller to repair things before you move forward. Or you could walk way from the house because the repairs are too much for you. Your real estate agent can help you add to your offer any inspection contingencies you may want included. This way the transaction can’t move forward until you are satisfied and you remove the contingency yourself after you get the inspection results and are satisfied with it.

4. Who pays for the inspection?

Either the buyer or the seller. Whoever wants it done. Usually it’s the buyer, but pre-listing inspections on the seller’s side are getting more common. Its a great way to move the sale along with confidence, and help to protect everyone involved. It can also help your Realtor in their marketing efforts. Remember, too, that as a seller, you are obligated to disclose any known issues with the house.

5. Can I have my contractor do the inspection?

In many states, including NY State, Home Inspectors are required to be licensed by the state and follow a strict code of conduct and ethics. In other states, inspectors are not required to have a license. There are many organizations that certify and even help to train inspectors. The trade has really changed and grown in the past few years. There are many buyers who still just trust their own eye or maybe trust a friend or relative to look a house over, but professional inspectors have really brought value and safety to the home buying/selling process.

How much does an inspection cost, and who hires the inspector?

It varies a lot. It could be as low as $200, and some can be over $500. You hire the inspector yourself to work for you. You can get inspector referrals from friends or relatives, or from your agent.

So in the end, obviously the choice is completely up to you. The value of a good Home Inspection is undeniable. No, It’s not absolutely necessary. You and your Real Estate Professional can decide what’s the right thing to do in your situation.

**This article represents the opinion of the writer only and should not be misconstrued as legal advice. It does not in any way represent the official opinions or policies of my sponsoring broker or the industry in general. Please refer any questions about Home Inspections to your Real Estate Agent and/or your Attorney. **

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