The home inspection is an important step in any real estate transaction. For buyers, it’s an important opportunity to have the property thoroughly reviewed by a professional, ensuring full knowledge of any potential maintenance issues with the home and allowing for certain repairs to be negotiated with the seller.
As for sellers, the inspection may sometimes be a source of trepidation. Even if you believe your home to be in tip-top shape, you can never really be sure what the inspector will find. And make note that inspectors will always find something; even a brand-new construction is unlikely to pass a home inspection completely without incident.
But what exactly can you anticipate from the home inspection when you’re trying to get your property sold? Here are a few guidelines.
Home Inspections: What to Expect When You’re Selling Your Own Property
Who will be there?
For starters, it’s important to know that you won’t actually be present for the home inspection. You’ll be asked to vacate the property while the inspection takes place.
But who will be there? Typically, it will be the home inspector and the buyer’s agent. Most of the time, the buyer will also be present, though this isn’t totally necessary, and sometimes a buyer may not be able to make it for the inspection (especially if they are from out of town or have an inflexible work schedule).
How long will the home inspection take?
The duration of a home inspection can vary, simply depending on the size of the property. You can expect it to fall somewhere between two and four hours. Note that a longer inspection isn’t necessarily bad news; it just means the inspector is being meticulous.
Who is the home inspector?
You’re safe to assume that the inspector is someone highly qualified, licensed, and insured; most of the time, it’s someone who comes recommended and vouched for by the real estate agent. Additionally, these professionals are fully independent. A good inspector will not have ties to local home improvement or contracting companies.
There’s probably no reason to worry about the credentialing of the inspector, though if you have concerns about precisely who is entering your home, you can always ask the buyer’s agent for validation.
What will the inspector look at?
In short, the inspector will look at everything.
It’s the inspector’s job to thoroughly appraise the entire home and look for any maintenance or repair issues. The inspector might specifically look at the HVAC system, indoor plumbing, electrical systems, windows, doors, floors, the attic, the basement, the garage, the foundation, and any structural components of the home.
Will you see the inspector’s report?
The inspector will take notes, room by room, about any issues that emerge. Whenever possible, photographs and/or diagrams will be provided, as well. This report belongs to the buyer, and technically, they don’t have to let you see it. However, most buyers provide the seller with an amended version of the report, specifying any issues they expect the seller to address.
How much will the home inspection cost me?
Probably nothing at all, at least directly. It’s up to the buyer to arrange and pay for the home inspection; the onus is never on the seller.
Can a bad home inspection report derail the transaction?
It is certainly possible that the buyer will find something on the report that gives them pause and potentially even causes them to call off the transaction. Remember, though, that most buyers who make it as far as the inspection will be quite serious and backing out of the deal probably isn’t something they want to do unless they really feel like they have to.
How can I prepare for the home inspection?
When you’re selling your own property, the best way to prepare for an inspection is simply to make sure your home is as clean and uncluttered as possible; remove any dogs or cats; handle any small repair issues you’re already aware of; and make sure the entire house, including the basement and attic, are fully accessible to your inspector.
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