6 Home Inspection Tips for Buyers That Sellers Can Learn From

6 Home Inspection Tips for Buyers That Sellers Can Learn From

Buyers and sellers are both on edge when a home inspection is performed. Although it may seem like the buyer is in control, everyone involved wants the sale to go smoothly and they understand the value of the home inspection.

According to an American Society of Home Inspectors poll, 90% of homeowners think that home inspections should be considered a necessity and not a luxury.

Recognizing that everyone wants the same thing, and that you can work together to close a deal, should make it easier for all involved. These 6 home inspection tips are for buyers and offer valuable lessons for sellers.

Tip #1: Make your inspection official by submitting it as a contract contingency.

It is not enough to simply tell the seller that you intend to inspect the house before closing. Investopedia says that you will need to discuss this with your agent in order to have it written into the contract. A contingency clause “defines a condition, action or requirement that must be met before a real estate contract becomes binding.”

In particular, the inspection contingency clause allows buyers to specify that they will have 10-14 days to inspect the property before signing the purchase agreement. If they are unable to reach an agreement on repairs, the buyer can cancel the deal and receive their earnest money back.

You might consider removing the inspection if you are buying the house from a relative or friend, or if there is fierce buyer competition in the market.

Bad idea, says Frank Lesh who has also inspected houses since 1989 and is executive director of ASHI. He said, “Unfortunately that could be an error.”

Untrained eyes may not be able to see some maintenance issues, even if the seller isn’t trying to hide something.

What does this mean for sellers?

95% of homes purchased go through inspections before closing. There is little chance you will get out of this step. Only rare exceptions are in hot markets where there is a lot of competition. In these cases, you have the ability to sell your home “as-is” to get market value.

The inspection is written in as an option. You should be aware of your options for repair negotiations.

A home inspection has the advantage of being transparent. Each side knows the property’s issues and can negotiate with all facts. HomeLight’s guide “Fix it Or Fight It?” provides more information on how to handle repairs requests before closing.

Agents will often recommend a pre-listing inspection of the home to identify potential issues and give buyers an early warning. This creates transparency. Cardenas incorporates a pre-listing inspection because his neighborhood has many homes built in the 1990s with Spanish-tile roofs.

A client’s roof only had a few years left after a similar inspection. Cardenas was familiar with a roofing company that his client hired for repairs and certification of another year of roof life. “The seller was nervous, but you know what?” He said that the inspection was successful. “We sold the property to the first buyer.”

He would rather have any issues identified early than for the buyer’s inspector to discover a surprising maintenance problem.

Tip #2: Be realistic about your expectations of a perfect inspection

A home inspection report can be very detailed but it won’t go into every corner and crevice.

“First-time buyers expect that the inspector will find all problems with the house. This is not true. Lesh stated that we are only there as guests of the owner and have limited access to inspect things.

If a sectional sofa is placed in front of the living-room windows, an inspector might not be able reach them all to see if it sticks.

What does this mean for sellers?

An inspection report evaluates the condition of a home. The inspection report is not a scorecard on your homeownership or a “pass/fail” test. While you may be familiar with your home and its quirks a buyer might not. So don’t take the report personally. And remember that minor issues will always surface.

“Listen, you are buying a 30-year old home. Even a ten year-old house or a brand-new home, there will be issues. Cardenas stated that every house has an issue.

Your agent will help you sort through the minor issues and deal-breakers.

Tip #3: Make sure you are there for the inspection and have lots of questions.

Buyers pay for the inspection. It’s quite normal for them to observe the inspector at work. “I always ask my clients what their concerns are. Lesh suggested that they might have had issues with their previous house and are now sensitive to it.

He also explained that he needs elbow space. He might enter and exit the house multiple times, crouch down to inspect something and then make abrupt stops. However, he is happy to answer any questions from the buyer.

Lesh stated that while you will still receive a report, it is easier to understand a problem if I can explain it to the client and then you can see what the issue was.

What does this mean for sellers?

While buyers may need this opportunity, sellers already know the property and can often get in the way.

Both Lesh and Cardenas have experienced buyers who clashed with sellers during inspections.

Your agent should supervise the inspection and inform you about the findings. If you have had a pre-listing inspection, or a maintenance inspection recently, you will already know what is in store.

Tip #4: Be aware of when you should ask for repairs, get a credit or just let it go.

A home inspection can lead to delicate negotiations about the property’s defects. A buyer can ask the seller to hire a contractor, get a credit (a reduction of the purchase price), or just let it be. The seller can choose to accept one or reject both, and then negotiate. However, the transaction is at risk of being cancelled by the buyer.

Sellers must fix major structural problems or safety issues, such as a dated roof, or any requirements for an FHA loan or government-backed mortgage. If they don’t have the funds, they can offer credit. The buyers can handle cosmetic imperfections such as peeling wallpaper or chipped paint once they have purchased the property.

Cardenas stated that most sellers will tell you, “No, I don’t want to give credit because the door isn’t closed properly.”

What does this mean for sellers?

Talk to your agent if your water heater, electrical system, and appliances are older. These service contracts are about $300 per year, and assure sellers that any repair that may arise after closing. He said, “That eliminates a lot of problems.”

Tip #5 – Request documentation to show that repairs were completed.

Although not necessary, these can be used to verify the advertising of any amenities, such as a roof. Lesh stated, “If receipts are available, I’ll take a look at them.” It’s good for sellers to look at receipts that show they had work done.

What does this mean for sellers?

Your receipts might be already in your possession for a home appraisal. It doesn’t hurt to have a home inspector inspect them as well. Cardenas stated that if the buyer asks for documentation about repairs and the work was done recently, then it is better to provide them to me.

Tip #6 – Now is your chance to have specialty inspections.

Home inspectors can be trained and certified to inspect multiple parts of a house, but they also have the ability to specialize in “ancillary inspections,” which are more thorough reviews that focus on specific components.

General inspectors may refer buyers to specialty inspectors if they lack the necessary expertise. They can assess the foundation of the home and look for signs of termites. These specialty inspections can be arranged for an additional charge.

Lesh stated that radon inspections can be a common home buyer service, depending on where you live. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, this colorless and odorless gas is the second most common cause of lung cancer in America. According to the EPA, radon is formed from the natural decay of uranium within rock, soil and water. Therefore, any home could have a radon problem. People tend to be more comfortable with radon testing in homes that have basements or well-water.

They also perform specialty inspections such as termite and pest inspections, swimming pool inspections, well scans, or sewer scans. In these cases, they place a camera underground in the sewer line to verify that it is functioning.

An electrical inspection is required if your house has been in existence for more than 10 years. This will identify any potential repairs that may be needed, including replacing the electrical panel, outdated wiring, and receptacles.