A home inspection is an optional part of the home buying process, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less important. Home inspections provide an added peace of mind for buyers who want to make sure they are indeed getting their money’s worth. It’s also cost-effective– the sooner you pinpoint any issues, the sooner you get to address these repairs, which will save you a lot of money in the long run.
So when issues have been uncovered by a home inspection, how do you proceed with the process?
As the home buyer
You’ve called a certified inspector to identify any existing or recurring problems of a property you’re interested on buying. You had your fingers crossed that nothing would be found– at best, only minimal repairs or upgrades. But the home inspector does find something.
First of all, you need to understand the scope of home inspections. Contrary to some belief, home inspections only cover certain aspects of a home as suggested by the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI). They include the following:
- Foundation and basement
- Condition of walls, floors, ceilings, doors, door frames, and windows
- Interior plumbing and electrical systems
- Heating and cooling systems
- The attic, if the property has one
- Additional structural components and other visible insulation
Septic tanks, interiors of walls, roofs, chimneys, and other additional structures that are separate from the main house usually fall under the expertise of another specialist. Still, don’t hesitate to ask your home inspector if a certain aspect of the property can be inspected.
After the home inspection, ask your home inspector for a copy of the inspection report. For a security blanket, have two copies made– one for your personal records, and the other for legal purposes (just in case).
Make sure to read and understand the report fully before you negotiate repairs with the seller. The report might have presented a long list of trivial repairs, so take the time to prioritize important issues. Sellers will be more likely to agree with you this way.
On the subject of repairs and the cost, who pays is usually negotiated between you and the seller. The seller can either address all the issues himself/herself, give you money for the repairs, or leave everything up to you.
Do understand, however, that if you’re buying a property marketed for sale “as is,” you’ll be the one to shoulder all the costs.
As the home seller
Coming across issues is unavoidable in the home selling process, and if you’ve got a buyer who wants to negotiate, be open to the idea. Easy repairs and upgrades are reasonable, especially if it’s within the scope of a home inspection.
If you’re not too keen on addressing the issues yourself, another option may be to offer a cash settlement where you’ll give money to the buyer. This way, he or she can decide how or what to do with the issue.
If a home inspection uncovers a serious problem with the property, however, and the sale fails to close, remember that you are under legal obligation to disclose this issue to future prospects. One way to address the problem is to fix it now and get it ready for the next sale.
For more information about home buying and selling in the Greater San Diego area, get in touch with me today at 760 622 5087 or [email protected].