What Every Buyer Should Know about Home Inspections

Real Estate Agent with The Bean Group

An important part of any home purchase is the Home Inspection, so when interviewing home inspection companies ask them what type of report they use. There are many styles of reports used by property inspectors, the checklist, computer generated reports, and the narrative style.

Some reports are delivered on site and some may take several days to deliver, knowing when you will get your full inspection report is important since you probably have a time limit for obtaining an inspection in your Contract.

The most important issue with an inspection report is the descriptions given for each item or component. A report that indicates the condition as "Good", "Fair" or "Poor" without a detailed explanation is vague and can be easily misinterpreted. An example of a vague condition would be:

-Kitchen Sink: Condition- Good, Fair or Poor

None of the above descriptions gives the Buyer an idea of what is wrong, if fair or poor are circled what does that mean? Does the sink have a cosmetic problem? Does the home have a plumbing problem? A good report should supply you with descriptive information on the condition of the home, an example of a descriptive condition is:

- Kitchen Sink: Condition- Minor wear, heavy wear, damaged, rust stains, or chips in the enamel finish.

Reports without recommendations for repairing deficient items may be difficult to comprehend, should your knowledge of construction be limited.

At the end of the inspection your inspector may provide a summary with a question and answer period. Use this opportunity to ask questions regarding terms or conditions that you may not be familiar with, a good inspector should be able to explain the answers to your questions. If for some reason a question cannot be answered at the time of the inspection, the inspector should research the question and obtain the answer for you. For instance, if the inspector's report states that the concrete foundation has common cracks, be sure to ask, "Why are they common?" The answer you should receive will be along these lines: common cracks are usually due to normal concrete curing and or shrinkage. The inspector's knowledge and experience is how the size and characteristics of the cracking is determined. It is in your interest as the Buyer to accompany your inspector through the entire inspection if possible.

Read the report completely and understand the condition of the home you are about to purchase. After all, it is most likely one of the largest investments you will ever make. Lastly, most homeowners will not consider making repairs on anything that does not reveal significant defects which were not disclosed or previously known to the Buyer. This means if the inspector points out that the furnace is 20 years old and says it's past its normal life expectancy, a homeowner will not automatically replace the furnace for you if it is still in good condition for its age and working properly. Most home owners will not consider giving you money back for a furnace or roof replacement since the age and condition would have been disclosed on their Sellers Representation Report. Your property inspection is being done to verify that there are no significant defects to the property that were not disclosed by the Seller.

 In my real estate career I bring over 10 years of experience to the table, I work to represent my Client giving 100% to them. My job is to give you my advise, experience and knowledge and to help you navigate the wonderful and frustrating world of real estate. My job does not end when you purchase your home, it just begins because I will be there even after the closing keeping in touch with you and reminding you that I am always just a phone call away.


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