Tips & AdviceDo I Need a Home Inspection?

Do I Need a Home Inspection?

Buying a home requires many steps, and one of the most important is the home inspection. During the closing process, homebuyers must ensure that their new home meets safety standards and that the sellers are forthcoming with any information about the property’s condition. In a fast-paced seller’s market, some buyers may consider waiving a home inspection, but typically, the inspection plays a crucial role in the purchasing timeline.

What is a Home Inspection?

A home inspection is an in-depth examination of a property’s condition. During the inspection, a licensed home inspector walks through the home and around the property to ensure the major systems work properly. The inspector examines the following around the interior and exterior of the home, if applicable:

  • Roof and attic
  • Foundation
  • Insulation
  • HVAC
  • Electrical
  • Drainage
  • Plumbing
  • Appliances
  • Windows and doors
  • Stairs
  • Additional structural elements

The home inspector provides a detailed report on their findings, which buyers can use to leverage potential improvements and necessary repairs. After surveying all areas, the home inspector will deem the property a pass or a fail, highlighting the reasons for a potential failure.

Who Attends the Home Inspection?

A licensed and trained home inspector conducts the inspection. Buyers and their real estate agents may choose to shadow during the inspection to see what an inspector identifies. Sellers may also be at the inspection, especially if they still live in the home and need to move things aside for the inspector.

Home Inspection Contingency

Before the home inspection begins, the buyers must request an inspection from the sellers. Buyers will include a home inspection contingency in their estate purchase agreement, which both parties will sign to proceed with the transaction. The contingency states that the property must pass a home inspection. Otherwise, the buyers can walk away from the deal or negotiate with the seller to reach a consensus. The home inspection contingency protects the buyer from losing out on their earnest money deposit if something is wrong with the property.

How Much Does a Home Inspection Cost?

A home inspection costs between $300 and $500, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. However, this cost can vary based on the property’s size and age, with larger and older homes running higher.

Learn more: How Much Does a Home Inspection Cost?

Who Pays for the Home Inspection?

Buyers should prepare to pay for a home inspection. In a buyer’s market or under other rare circumstances, the seller may pay for this cost. Buyers can consider the home inspection part of their closing costs.

Value of Home Inspections

Homebuyers should consider the home inspection as part of their closing process and anticipate this step while purchasing a home. Although touring a property can provide some initial insight into areas that may need repairs, a home inspection is the best chance for the buyer to ensure they purchase a structurally sound property.

Without a home inspection, a buyer could purchase a home and then realize soon after that there is a significant problem with the foundation, HVAC system, etc. Repairing significant problems can be costly and, at worst, life-threatening.

In 2023

Post-pandemic, the nationwide housing market entered a period of activity where sellers had control, and buyers were competing with each other to purchase a home. Bidding wars became more common, and buyers thought of how they could submit a more attractive offer. In some cases, buyers may have opted to purchase a home without a home inspection or home inspection contingency. Those buyers who purchased homes at lower interest rates may have come across unanticipated issues with their property.

In 2023 and likely through 2024, higher interest rates will slow the market, giving buyers more power when it comes to choosing a home. While low inventory and high purchase prices provide challenges for buyers, they face fewer competitors. Buyers in today’s market should press for a home inspection contingency and submit their offers accordingly.

Do I Need Other Inspections?

While a home inspection provides an in-depth analysis of the property’s condition, some homes may need additional inspections.

Sewer Scope Inspection

Older homes, those with plenty of trees, or those with noticeable signs of sewer issues may consider a sewer scope inspection. This test is more expensive than a standard home inspection, averaging $850. During a sewer scope inspection, an inspector runs a camera through the pipes along the property to ensure they’re free of cracks or blockages. This type of inspection may appeal to those purchasing property in a home that has not been occupied for some time.

Termite Inspection

Other homebuyers may choose to conduct a termite inspection. The inspector surveys the wood in the home to ensure it is not infested with termites. Unfortunately, homeowners may spot damage once there is significant damage to the property, but a trained inspector can spot troublesome areas before they cause serious harm. Many mortgage providers require their borrowers to acquire a termite inspection, costing between $50 and $300.

Conclusion

A home inspection provides valuable information and leverage for buyers to ensure they purchase a structurally sound property. Buyers can include a home inspection contingency in their real estate purchase agreement, which gives them leeway to walk away from the deal if the property does not pass.

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