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What To Do After You Receive Your Home Inspection Report

Home Inspector with lookSmart Home Inspections, LLC 24GI00058700

You had your home inspection, and you just received the home inspection report now what?

There is typically an inspection contingency period that ranges from 7 days to 14 days. This window of time is when the attorneys have agreed that you must have your home inspection completed and a request letter sent to the seller of the home. Other ancillary inspections and testing can be sent in after this period if agreed upon by both parties. It is important for you to understand the terms of this inspection contingency period. If you have your home inspection outside of this time limit or do not receive the inspection report in time you may not be able to negotiate for items that were discovered during the home inspection. As a buyer you must make sure that you fully understand these terms and meet them to avoid forfeiting your right to negotiate with the seller.

If you hired a reputable thorough NJ home inspector, you would now have been delivered a detailed home inspection report full of photos of the issues that were found in the home. The first step to take after receiving the report is to read the entire report. I do understand that this can be time-consuming but when you weigh that with the cost of a home it is going to be time well spent. You as the home buyer must read the report completely.

The next step is to highlight your principal areas of concern. Sometimes these main areas of concern will be located in a summary, however it is imperative to go through the entire report and highlight the major areas of concern that you have identified. I recommended using the old school copy and paste feature on your PC and paste the description of the key issues in another document. This will help your real estate attorney understand the key issues that you as the buyer would like the seller to address. You will be forwarding the entire report however narrowing down your list of issues helps un muddy the waters. A long comprehensive home inspection report may be eighty or more pages or descriptions and photos. Sending a concise list to your attorney is extremely helpful because it allows focus on the larger issues. If just the entire report is sent It will be unclear what the key issues are because a home inspection report is full of small, medium concerns and larger issues. It is extremely helpful for you to help narrow down the key issues so the attorney can understand what you are asking for.

The next step is to flag any issues that you do not understand. Experienced New Jersey home inspectors will write in plain language but sometimes you as the buyer will not understand the problem even if you were there in attendance at the home inspection. You should contact the home inspector for clarification of any issues that you do not fully understand. The home inspector is the professional and he or she should be available to you after the inspection to answer any of your questions.

Once this step is complete and you are satisfied that you have a complete understanding of the key problems in the home then you should send the entire report along with your list of the serious issues of concern to your attorney.

It is up to you now the buyer to collaborate with the attorney to plan and create a letter that describes the key issues that you are asking for correction or credit. One important aspect that gets lost is that you must make sure that the attorney also understands the issues and is able to describe them in the letter. I have found that often there is a large disconnect between the attorney and the buyer and the issues that exist in the home. Attorneys are not home inspectors and although they perform real estate work, they are not experts in houses and house problems. Often the attorney struggles in understanding the problems and what issues are important. If the attorney does not fully understand the problems, they will not be able to craft an accurate request letter to the seller. When the request letter is finalized make sure that you read it and that it accurately depicts the issues at hand. If the attorney does not understand the key issues and cannot explain them in a proper way your negotiation will suffer. You will leave money on the table because of this disconnect. I find this disconnect can be a major problem. One that can be solved with some time and effort to educate your attorney on the key issues.

Do not let your attorney pick the principal areas of concern for you. This is a mistake that can cost you thousands of dollars. The attorney was not at the home inspection and chances are they are not an expert in homes and their systems. When I see the lists that the attorneys create, they are usually poorly thought out and rarely depict the main issues as I see them in the home. Do not let your attorney make these decisions for you, they have little idea what is important to you. Some attorneys will just pull the issues from the home inspection summary. However, there is a good chance that they will be missing key issues that are important to you that are described in the main body of the inspection report.

You should acquire estimates from reputable contractors for the work necessary. This one is sometimes challenging to do with the tight time limits of today’s real estate transactions. It is always helpful to have estimates because it allows you to be more precise with your negotiating. Having estimates is substantially better than trying to just spit ball dollar figures for issues that need repair in the home. If possible, attempt to get estimates from contractors to include with your letter back to the seller.

Now is the time to get any other ancillary inspections that were recommended by your home inspector. Sometimes home inspectors will recommend other inspections be performed. If major structural issues were found the home inspector may recommend that you get the opinion of a structural engineer. Sometimes other ancillary inspections are required such as level II chimney inspections, oil tank location, sewer line inspections, Now is the time to contract with the other providers of these inspections. Make sure to let your attorney know that you are doing these other inspections so that he or she can let the other parties in the transaction know that other inspection results are going to be pending.

You should follow up with the home inspector on the radon test results. Radon test results should be out in about a week after test placement for a short-term radon test. Make sure to ask the home inspector about the results so you can get these over to your attorney. If the radon results are high, then you will want to include the cost of remediation in your letter back to the seller.

It is important to have a plan of action after the NJ home inspection is over and when you receive the report. You as the home buyer cannot leave these things to chance or assume that all parties will be doing their job correctly. You must take the captain’s seat and make sure that your wishes are described completely in the letter back to the seller. If you assume these things will just get done without your input, you are making a costly mistake. I am imploring home buyers to be an active participant in the process after you are in receipt of the home inspection report.

John Pusa
Glendale, CA

Hello John Martino very valuable report about what to do after receiving home inspection report.

Mar 02, 2024 08:09 PM
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

All this is pretty vital and it usually gets crossed over by a lot of people I know sadly.

Mar 02, 2024 09:13 PM
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

Knowing about all the stuff I really make a difference, so definitely don’t slip on it as they say!

Mar 02, 2024 11:06 PM
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Pasadena And Southern California 818.516.4393

Hello John - the list you share is a good one for buyers to review.   The information in it along with proper preparation and realistic expectations work together in creating a smoother real estate transaction.  Hopefully, a successful one too.  

Mar 03, 2024 01:25 AM
Richard Weeks
Dallas, TX
REALTOR®, Broker
Great information, thanks for sharing.  I hope you have a great day.
Mar 03, 2024 03:26 AM
Bill Salvatore - East Valley
Arizona Elite Properties - Chandler, AZ
Realtor - 602-999-0952 / em: golfArizona@cox.net

Thanks for sharing, make it a great Sunday and enjoy your weekend!

Bill Salvatore, Realtor- Arizona Elite Properties

Mar 03, 2024 04:51 AM
Dorie Dillard Austin TX
Coldwell Banker Realty ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
NW Austin ~ Canyon Creek and Spicewood/Balcones

Good morning John Martino ,

I'm so glad that Bill Salvatore - East Valley re-blogged your post as I missed it. Excellent list for buyers to read..setting proper expectations is so important in review an inspection report.

Mar 04, 2024 05:21 AM