#6 The Home Inspection

Once you and the buyer have agreed upon price, you are ready for a formal inspection of your home to detect defects or problems. Typically, a clause in the sales contract states that the offer is contingent upon a home inspection. A home inspection usually takes between 2-4 hours depending upon the size of the home and the number of rooms, features, and amenities. Your home will be evaluated from the foundation to the rooftop and will include, where appropriate, the functionality of the heating and air conditioning systems, electrical, plumbing, and all appliances. The inspector will look at the home’s structure, including the foundation, basement, roof, chimney, walls, doors, and windows.

A thorough home inspection can also be an excellent pre-sale tool, allowing you to resolve issues before listing your home. A professional home inspection report available to buyers could expedite the receipt of offers and decrease the timing of the sale from offer to closing. Known factors made available that relate to the home’s condition could help to make a buyer more comfortable. While the inspection may not uncover every single flaw in the house—particularly those that are not visible or are inaccessible—it does address a range of concerns.

To start, the report enables you, as the seller, to explain any defects to the buyer. Some sellers elect to repair just a few or none of the defects reported in the formal inspection. However, honestly stating the defects to the buyer will help to eliminate any objections that could arise during the sale process. Because I can explain how the listing price takes into consideration the estimated cost of any needed repairs or improvements, the negotiation time is typically abbreviated. And finally, since state real estate laws require that homeowners and their agents comply with full-disclosure, liability for any defect or withheld facts is less likely to occur.

I have many reliable and professional home inspectors I have worked with in the past I can refer to. The inspector should be able to provide you with a sample report to show that they follow industry standards. Note that the job of the inspector is to inspect, not to repair, or to refer clients to repair companies, which could result in a conflict of interest.

When you schedule your appointment with the home inspection company, inform them that you will be present throughout the inspection process.  Inspection companies encourage and welcome your presence. This is the time to ask and share any issues that are of concern to you. In-person explanations will help you to understand the report, which can be fairly complex and lengthy—a thorough home inspection may cover as many as 1000-plus items.