Buying a home is a major financial commitment. That’s why it’s important to understand the home inspection and get to know the condition of the house you’re about to buy before you close on the deal.
Home Inspection Tips for First-Time Buyers
Here are some steps that first-time homebuyers can take to help make sure the home inspection is a success.
Show up and ask questions
Even though buyers aren’t required to attend the home inspection, being present and asking questions will give you the most accurate understanding of the home’s current condition. The inspector also can help you understand what it will take to maintain the home. Following along with a home inspection checklist of items to review could help you find things that need to be fixed before you move in.
Don’t be afraid to negotiate
If the inspection reveals a major problem with the home, you may have second thoughts about buying it. Many purchase agreements contain an inspection contingency that allows you to walk away from the deal and keep your deposit if you’re unhappy with the inspection results. This also gives you leverage to negotiate with the seller to have them pay for repairs or reduce the sale price.
Get a seller’s disclosure
Many states call for a seller’s disclosure, which is a legal document requiring the seller to communicate any problems with the home that they are aware of. Should the seller fail to disclose a major issue with the house, they could be held liable for the cost of repairs.
Home Inspection FAQ
Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about home inspections.
The home inspection lets you know the condition of the home and whether it needs expensive repairs before you close on the sale. Should the inspection uncover damage or necessary repairs, you can decide whether to negotiate compensation with the seller or to walk away from the deal.
It’s in your best interest to have the home inspected before finalizing the purchase. The home inspection either will confirm that the house is in good condition or reveal serious problems that require attention. The inspection also could reveal potential health hazards, so it’s strongly recommended that buyers don’t skip it.
You aren’t required to attend the home inspection, but it’s a good idea. You can ask questions in person, take a look at the condition of the home with your own eyes, and get a better sense of what it will take to maintain the property.
Expect a home inspection to take two to four hours, though it’ll depend on the home’s size, condition, and location. The inspector will send you the official inspection report one to two days after completing the inspection.
You and your real estate agent can negotiate with the seller if the inspection reveals that repairs are necessary. In some cases, the seller will agree to complete the repairs prior to closing. Other times, the seller will reduce the home price to compensate, or simply pay the cost of the necessary repairs.
If you’re unable to negotiate a satisfactory deal with the seller, you can walk away if your purchase agreement has a home inspection contingency.
When a home is sold “as is,” then the seller is saying they won’t pay for any repairs or provide a seller’s disclosure. This means the buyer accepts the home’s current condition, even if there are unknown major problems, and is responsible for all repairs.
Even when you’re buying a home as is, a home inspection is essential. That way, you have a professional opinion on what to expect after you close the deal.
Never let a seller pressure you into skipping the home inspection, as it could mean they know about an issue with the home that they don’t want you to find out until it’s too late.