What do first-time buyers need to know about home inspections?
First of all, you typically pay for all home inspections included in the contract, and you can order as many as you want, be it a general home inspection, pest inspection, radon test, etc. Your Realtor should be able to provide you with a list of local home inspectors, but don’t ask them to choose one for you. A good Realtor will never do that for liability reasons.
As I always tell my clients, if I were to hire three inspectors to conduct three inspections on your new home, each one would come up with a list of issues that were generally the same, but slightly different. During your first night in your new home, you may very well notice something wrong that’ll make you say, “How could a home inspector not have seen that?” That’s just the nature of the business. All inspectors will miss something, or identify seemingly super picky issues that the seller deems unreasonable to fix.
Just like Realtors, home inspectors have errors and omissions insurance. For example, they’re not allowed to push very hard on a window because if it breaks their insurance won’t cover it. You might visit a house that was built in the 1920s, know that you have to put a little extra energy into opening or shutting one of its windows, and expect the home inspector to know that too, but their insurance only allows them to apply a certain level of force. So prepare yourself: Your inspection report might list a window that doesn’t open, but it actually does.
All inspectors will miss something or identify seemingly super picky issues that the seller deems unreasonable to fix.
Speaking of the inspection report, it’s generally between 25 and 100 pages, and after you receive it, you’ll review it with your Realtor. They’ll then present it to the seller with a list of requested repairs (if any). If you’re buying a house from the 1920s, there will be much more routine maintenance issues. If you’re buying new construction, you probably won’t have a long list of issues. In any case, you’ll negotiate over them the same way you did with the home’s price.
Beware that if you come up with a list of repairs you want the seller to resolve, you’re renegotiating the entire contract. In a competitive market like ours, they may have a backup offer lying in wait and decide to do business with that buyer instead.
After you’re finished with any inspection-related issues, all that’s left to do is wait for the appraisal and then close on your new home!
If you have questions about this or any other real estate topic, don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I’m here to help.