Home inspections are essential to alert home buyers of major property issues, but did you know a home inspection is equally important for a seller, too? During the home sale process, unexpected hiccups can occur during the buyer’s home inspection of a property. Experts recommend homeowners get ahead of the game and order a home inspection before listing a house on the market. Why? During the sensitive process of going under contract, a home inspection is typically ordered by the buyer. However, if the inspector finds major problems with the house, the seller has little time to make the appropriate repairs and shop around for the best repair rates.
It is common to confuse an appraisal and a home inspection. From a high level, an appraisal is an assessment of the property’s value for the benefit of the lender. A home inspection is thought of as a report for buyers and sellers, detailing current and possible future problems with the property.
There are many recommendations and good-to-know facts when it comes to home inspections. Whether you’re a homeowner, seller or buyer, listen up! We’ll help you navigate the home inspection process, one step at a time.
What’s included in a home inspection?
There are about 15 categories that make up a home inspection. On average, a thorough inspection takes about 3-4 hours, and sometimes more depending on the size of the home. Every category contains sub-items inspected individually on a case-by-case basis, in accordance with the home’s amenities and features. Here’s an example of what categories you might see on a typical inspection checklist: grounds, structure, exterior surfaces, windows / doors / wood trim, roof, attic, interior rooms, kitchen, bathrooms, basement or mechanical room, crawl space, plumbing, electric, HVAC, and miscellaneous.
When should I choose a home inspector?
As a buyer, look for and decide on an inspector before you choose a home. When it comes to home inspections, the actual inspection is only as good as the inspector. Good, reputable home inspectors are often booked out months in advance. No home is perfect, and you want to find the inspector who can identify any and all issues to protect yourself down the road.
Sellers should hire an inspector before listing a house on the market. As a homeowner, home inspections can help you identify major issues ahead of time. If your inspector finds problems before the house is on the market, you can compare rates and have adequate time to make the necessary repairs.
How do I choose a home inspector?
The process of finding the best home inspector is essentially an interview process. Buyers and sellers should ask friends or family members for a recommendation if they are buying in a familiar area. The American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) is a great tool to find local inspectors if you are buying in a new city or town. Knowledgeable home inspectors typically have a background in construction or contracting. Your home inspector should carry errors and omissions insurance.
Have a conversation when you interview inspectors to learn more about how many years they have been in the industry, relevant certifications, and the types of homes the inspector has assessed. Lastly, set expectations with the home inspector. Do they have previous inspections that you can look at to see their final product? What is their typical turnaround time? Will they provide you an electronic copy as well? These questions may seem trivial, but when it comes to potential problems with your home, you’ll thank yourself by being thorough.
What does a home inspection cost?
There are two main factors in the price of a home inspection: the inspector’s background & size of the home. In Colorado, a general home inspection averages $318, with the cost ranging between $260 and $379. The high-end cost of general inspection is $474. (Source: homeadvisor.com)
Buyers and sellers will often have the option to have a specialized home inspection conducted. Before saying yes to this pricier inspection ($500 - $1,000) ask yourself a couple questions:
- Is the inspector truly “specialized” in the additional services offered?
- Is the home old enough to require a specialized inspection or will the general package suffice?
Specialized inspections can be beneficial for finding the smallest of problems and the big ones too. When a consumer pays for the specialized package, most inspectors will go above and beyond to disclose severe defects so the client feels their money is well spent.
How do I prepare for a home inspection?
As we mentioned, home inspections are not quick in and out jobs, and can take up to three or four hours. Both sellers and buyers should account for this time block in their schedule on the day of inspection. As a buyer, you should commit to being present at the actual inspection. While the inspector cannot tell you whether or not you should buy the home, it is helpful to be there during the inspection to gain clarity on all the items listed in the inspector’s report and get a more detailed look at the mechanical elements of the home.
Homeowners and sellers should prepare to be away from the home for 3-4 hours on the day of inspection. When the seller is present at the inspection, it can make the buyer uncomfortable to ask the inspector questions about the home. To make the inspectors job easier, homeowners should prepare their home as if they were inviting a guest over.
- Clean the home and exterior areas (internal surfaces & external brush, debris, etc.)
- Keep all electrical, utilities, and pilot lights on
- Clear spaces that might prohibit the inspector’s access (attics, furnaces, crawl spaces)
- Provide the inspector with any relevant documents (repairs, additions, etc.)
- Leave all necessary keys to enable full access
What time of year is best for a home inspection?
The best practice is to have a home inspection completed in the summer months. During the summer, weather cooperates and it is easier to fix any large issues related to structure or foundation before the harsh winter months. This principle rings true especially in mountain communities where winters are long and summers are short. There is a prime “home inspection window” to capitalize on between the months of May and September before we get that first glorious snowfall.
Can you help me find a trusted and reliable home inspector?
Of course! Our seasoned agents are locals with a wealth of knowledge for your home buying and selling needs. Reach out to us today with any home inspection or real estate questions you might have!
By Coldwell Banker