The Ins-and-Outs of Home Inspections
Home Inspections are crucial for real estate transactions. Home buying is stressful as with any large investment. No house is perfect. There will always be items to fix. Maintenance with all homes is never ending. Setting expectations with all parties is key for the inspector and realtor on either side. Most homes have minor issues while some have significant deferred maintenance that can be costly. The home price should reflect the difference between turn-key and fixer. Problems arise when a home’s value does not reflect this accurately. A bad house price can kill any deal, especially if there are significant costly defects that need to be addressed.
A good home inspector should provide an overall assessment condition of the home and find items that need service. Home Inspectors are generalists, they are evaluating thousands of components within a few hours of time. Buyers and sellers should expect the Inspector to find items that need service. A good inspector will provide an overall assessment and have photos ready in the report that can be reviewed by all parties.
Inspection Day – What to Expect?
Your inspector should encourage your attendance. Buyers should be encouraged to ask questions and review house components with their inspector. The inspector should show clients where the main electrical panels are located, the water and gas shut off locations, etc. and anything else significant in regard to defects or potential safety hazards.
Inspectors love vacant homes however this is not always the case. The seller or tenant will usually leave the property during the inspection, however some like to linger. No real estate transaction is alike when you add personalities into this. Take advantage of the situation. Don’t be shy to ask the sellers or tenants about the history of the property, repairs completed, neighbor relationships, etc. You would be amazed what information people like to share.
Buyers are entitled to investigations of the property. Ask any questions on your mind. Tell the inspector you want a thorough tour of the home that satisfies any anxieties, stress, and curiosity. A full understanding of the home should include the good with the bad. Knowledge is power.
Inspection Reports – How to Read Them
After your inspection is completed, you should expect a thorough pdf. file report with photos. As boring as it can be, read the entire report. Do not skip pages. A Summary report with Need Service items is common, however for a full understanding read the entire report.
Most buyers are concerned about costly repair items that will need to be prioritized. Significant safety issues should also be addressed.
Further evaluations by licensed trade professionals recommended are common. Electrical, plumbing, heating/AC, roofs, etc. the list of components can feel endless since homes have thousands of components. If the home inspector finds issues, they may refer you to consult with a specialist. The specialist within your contingency period can provide estimates and further opinions. This can impact a client’s decision to move forward with purchasing or back out of a potentially bad investment.
Every buyer and agent should feel comfortable reaching out to their inspector to explain the report in further detail. This is crucial because repair costs and defects can be complicated, and most clients are not construction experts. Your inspector should always encourage questions and offer lifetime home maintenance advice.
About the Inspector:
Justin Watts, owner of American Dream Home Inspection is an International Code Council Certified Residential and Commercial Building Inspector has provided thousands of real estate inspections throughout Southern California. He is a Court qualified Expert Witness and has testified in cases involving construction defects, home inspection standards of care and landlord/tenant disputes.
Justin D. Watts
American Dream Home Inspection
Direct: (949) 331-2602