Wouldn’t it be great if you knew your new home was actually a money pit before purchasing? Enter the home inspection.
Let’s discuss what the home inspection is and how it is designed to help you.
You don’t have to be. Enter the home inspector. Simply put: their job is to be your eyes, ears and brains during the inspection process. They know all the state and local building codes. From there, they tell you what the word is.
How does this work?
Plan on about 2 hours for the entire inspection. The home inspection process covers the top of the roof to the foundation. It covers the entire yard all through the interior of the house. When the inspector is finished, you will know everything about everything that can be inspected for that property. Yes, inspectors brave dark, dingy places filled with spiders and cockroaches to do an home inspection.
Inspectors also cover garages and sheds. For an additional fee, they inspect a pool.
What’s more is that the home inspector will tell you what are safety/health hazards, what are immediate problems and what can wait 20 years for repairs. Safety and health hazards might include the lack of a carbon monoxide detector or an outlet in the bathroom which is not grounded. Something that can wait 20 years might be if the roof was replaced within the last 5 years. Most roofs in California last 20 to 30 years.
My experience is that the best inspectors bring you along as they perform the home inspection. They point things out to you, describing what is going on and how it will impact you.
Who pays for the home inspection? You do. We are in a seller’s market and that means you pay for your own closing costs. And it is better this way.
Sound silly? It’s not.
You want the inspector to be responsible to you. You pay him. The seller might find an inspector who will favor them which you don’t want. For those two hours of home inspection, you want the inspector to work directly for you.
What does this mean for you?
Let’s say that your toilet is leaking at the base. The leaking into the foundation has caused wood rot and fungus. The inspector, while crawling underneath of the house, misses that and they report back that everything is ok. A few months later, you have some work done on the toilet and the plumber tells you that all the support structures underneath disintegrated. You can now go back and sue the inspector because that is something they should have caught. It is better for the inspector to be thorough and honest with you rather than hide something for the sake of getting you into that house.
But there’s a catch…
You pay for the home inspection whether or not you ultimately decide to purchase the home. If you walked away after reading the report then the report did its job. I think you’ll agree that it’s better to pay $400 for a home inspection report rather than $500,000 for a money pit that costs you $50,000 to fix it. Wouldn’t you agree?
What Inspectors don’t do
Home Inspectors can only inspect what they have access to. For instance, inspecting the interior of a wall is simply not possible. The inspector would have to knock holes in the wall to determine the status of the walls. Another example is if the house is sitting on a slab foundation. There may be 2 inches of space underneath a house and the inspector physically cannot crawl underneath.
During the home inspection process, home inspectors can’t state of there is termite or wood rot damage. That comes from the termite inspection. The only thing the inspector notes in the report is that there appears to be damage and further inspection is required.
The Big Picture
Ideally, the home inspection occurs shortly after escrow opens. This occurs after acceptance of your offer and you paid the Earnest Deposit. Once escrow is opened, your agent should be all over getting the inspection rolling.
The home inspection process links directly to the inspection contingency in your purchase agreement. In most contracts, this contingency takes place within the first 7 days of the contract. That means you have 7 days to decide if you still want the house based on the inspection report.
Once you have the inspection report, it is up to you and your agent to decide the next course of action.
I have a YouTube channel where I blog about being in real estate. In one episode, I talked about what an inspection report revealed.
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