Home Inspections and the reason for them are often misunderstood. Not every agent properly prepares buyers and sellers for this portion of the transaction, leaving buyers freaked out and sellers upset. As a buyer, it is important that you remember that you are not purchasing a new home… so problems that are relative to the age, price, and location of the home, should be expected. A home inspection is a great way to educate yourself and discover any possible major defects that were not noticed during the showing or by the current owners. A home inspection is not an opportunity for the buyer to provide a punch list of items to the seller, to fix. It is a great way to get an idea of what your future “honey do list” may look like. There will always be items that come up on the inspection, always. As the buyer, you need to focus on items that are significant. So often I see buyers kill the deal by making silly demands, asking for things that are not significant, and then when they walk away from that deal and move on to the next, they discover each home has their own set of problems or repairs needed. A home inspection is not gospel! Just because a home inspector points something out, doesn’t necessarily mean it even has to be fixed or changed. For example, items not up to current code…. you will often see this in inspections.
A seller is not required to bring everything in their home up to current code, before they sell it. Building code changes frequently, something on the inspection may not be up to current code but it is at code for when it was installed or completed and working as it was designed for that time. Another thing to remember is that a home inspector is not an expert. Quite often in inspections you will see wording like “home inspector recommends further testing by a qualified professional “….that just means the inspector isn’t exactly sure if there is a problem or not and if you as the buyer are concerned, you should have someone that specializes in that particular item, look at it. That does not mean you have to have further inspections and it doesn’t mean there is for sure an issue. However, it works both ways. An inspector might miss things, they can only inspect what they can see and get to. If there is a leaking pipe behind a wall and at the time of the inspection there was no water damage showing, and it wasn’t obvious, that inspector is not going to know there may be a plumbing problem behind the wall.
So you get your inspection and where do you go from here? What is a reasonable and an unreasonable request? Some examples of things you will often see that are probably relative to the age and price might be…. cosmetic issues, repairs under $100, windows with failed seals, cracks in concrete, loose fixtures and railings (items that are easy to fix), minor water damage that was visible at the time of your showing, small movement in foundation/basement walls, minor sloping in floors, roof normal wear and tear, old appliances, wear and tear in outbuildings, tiny amounts of basement water seepage, and minor landscaping issues. These are all things that most homes will have, things you add to your own honey do list, and these are not the items that you should expect sellers to fix. There are things that could affect the immediate or future life of the property and the safety of those living it. An example of some of those items would be, high radon, a roof needing replacement now or in the next year, appliances/mechanicals that do not work, structural problems that are not normal for the age of the home, mold, flooded basements, active plumbing leaks, major electrical issues, and termites. Those are the kind of items that you may want to look further into and negotiate either a credit or a remedy for.
The home inspection process does not have to be scary, it is important that you are properly prepared. The smoothest transaction happen when both buyer and seller go into the inspection period with reasonable expectations.
Amy and her agents at Amy Hopfinger & Co are always willing to help answer any questions you may have about the inspection. Call or text Amy at 920-296-3013 or email AmyLHopfinger@Gmail.Com
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