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Importance of a Home Inspection Checklist for Buyers

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Importance of a Home Inspection Checklist for Buyers


In 2020, despite the pandemic, the housing market went crazy and grew by a whopping $2.5 trillion. 2021 is showing no signs of a slow down either. So, when you are ready to get on board and start home shopping, you need to be ready. And you need to be ready to move fast if you hope to get your bid accepted. 

When you are making fast decisions about the home you are buying, the home inspection becomes even more important. Why? The home inspection checklist for buyers gives you important information from a home inspection professional about the home you are buying. 

Whether you need an FHA, Federal Housing Administration, home inspection checklist or a new home inspection checklist or one for any home in-between, the inspector can provide invaluable insight into the home you hope to buy. What can you expect to see on the home inspection checklist? 

Read on to learn more about the importance of a home inspection and what you can expect from your home inspection.

What Is a Home Inspection?

A home inspection is an inspection done by a professional where they go through the house carefully and look at the physical structure and systems of a home. Because a home inspector is highly skilled, they know what to look for when studying and inspecting a home and its condition.

The home inspector's report will give you information about the home and its specific condition. The inspector, of course, cannot see everything. But they will crawl around and take a deep look at how the house was maintained and report back on the condition of the components that make up the house you hope to buy. 

Imagine buying a used car. You might take it to your trusted mechanic to have them look it over to see if there is anything to be concerned about. You might opt to still buy it if you heard the car might need new brakes soon; however, if you found there were significant oil and transmission fluid leaks, you might not buy the car. 

A home inspection works on the same premise. It is not like a home appraisal where the appraiser is applying a value to the home. Instead, the home inspector is providing information about the condition of the home. This helps the potential buyer to decide if they want to go through with the home purchase or walk away. 

Home Inspection Process

It is important as you prepare to enter the home buying process that you ensure you make the home inspection part of your process, but there is more to the inspection than what actually happens the day the inspector is at your home.  

You want to work with your realtor to find the most qualified home inspector. You want to do your own homework on the house and area so you are ready. 

Here are some things to consider as you prepare for a home inspection.

Home Inspection Contingency

An important part of the home inspection comes before the inspection actually happens. It happens when you write an offer and enter into a purchase agreement. This is the time when you want your realtor to put in a home inspection contingency.

The contingency should state that if you find something objectionable in the home inspection, then you can remove yourself from the deal. 

You should know then that home sellers will want a pretty tight timeframe to be attached once this contingency is in place. They will want the home inspection done within a certain timeframe, usually a few weeks. Then if you intend to back out of the agreement, you have only a short window following that to do a counter-offer or say yes or no to the deal. 

You might also choose to counter-offer and ask the sellers to make certain repairs or offer compensation for you to do the repairs. 

Pay Attention to Seller's Disclosures

Most states require the sellers of a home to provide a disclosure statement. The rules vary by state when you might see the disclosure. In some cases, you can see it before you even look at a house. In other states, the realtor can provide it once you have a purchase agreement. 

Again, the rules for what is required vary from state to state. It is also a little dependent on the home sellers, to be honest. But a home disclosure statement requires the sellers to tell homebuyers of potential issues. This might include if the house has experienced something like water damage, for example. 

If you are provided with a disclosure statement, be sure to read it over carefully so you can direct any questions you might have to the sellers. Your home inspector should also get a copy. This tells them where they might want to look more closely.

Hiring a Home Inspector

Once you are ready, you will need to hire a home inspector. Your real estate agent might be able to help you find one who is reliable and does quality work. Before you hire the inspector, you will want to ask to see what kind of report they provide for you and see what is included in the inspection and what is not. 

Not all inspectors do the exact same inspection. Consider what kind of report they will provide when they are done. Longer is not always better, but you do want enough information from the inspector that if there is an issue, you would recognize it in the report. 

If there are specific things you want the inspector to look at, make sure they know about this ahead of time so they are prepared. 

Home Inspection Day

If possible, it is always a good idea to be there when the inspector is working their way through the house. They can discuss things they are seeing with you as they come across them. You will certainly get more information if you are present than from just reading the report. 

Remember, your home inspector can simply tell you their professional observations though. They cannot make guarantees about how long something will last or not last. Also, it is worth noting, their role is to find potential problems. Keep that in mind as you hear problems or issues coming from them. They are not there to tell you all the good things about a house. 

What's Included  in the Inspection

Your inspector will come prepared to climb around, up, and into spaces to get a good look at the house. Remember, they can only tell you about what they can see. 

It is smart to look at a sample report so you know what they typically look at during the inspection. If there is something missing or something you really need to be checked out, then you should discuss this with the home inspector ahead of time. 

The home inspection checklist should include:

  • Roof
  • Foundation
  • Attic space
  • Rain gutters and downspouts
  • Plumbing fixtures, faucets, and water heater
  • Exterior stucco or paint
  • Electrical panel, light switches, and power outlets
  • HVAC system including thermostats and heating, cooling, and ventilation
  • Appliances
  • Windows and doors
  • Walls, ceilings, and floors
  • Railings, stairs, and steps
  • Porches and balconies
  • Garage
  • Walkways and driveways
  • Basement

If you are present, the home inspector can share verbally with you what they are seeing and then also provide a written report following the actual inspection. Typically, the home inspection report asks the inspector to sort of rank an area like good condition, average condition, or shows concern with an explanation.

What's Typically Not Included in the Inspection

There are some things that you should not expect to be a part of the home inspection report. This includes:

  • Sprinkling systems
  • Trees and landscaping
  • Sewer line
  • Swimming pool equipment
  • Fireplace 
  • Chimneys
  • Drainage
  • Odors
  • Internet service
  • Floors covered by carpeting
  • Roof or outdoor hardscape covered by snow
  • Mice, rats, or other rodents
  • Wood-destroying pests, such as termites or carpenter ants

If you want things on this list checked, you can always ask if the inspector can include them. Sometimes if you want a chimney or a fireplace inspection, you may have to hire an inspector who specializes in it. If you are concerned about rodents or pests, you always include a pest control company in the inspection too.

The Inspector's Report, What to Expect

Once the home inspection is complete, the home inspector will prepare a report for you. It will detail what was looked at as part of the inspection with notes about what was noticed. 

Remember, a home inspector cannot say, for example, how long the furnace will last if it is old. They can, however, tell you about its age and condition. 

Once you review the report, you can decide based on what you see whether you want to proceed with the home purchase.  If you find something expensive or alarming, the contingency allows you to get out of the purchase agreement. If you find a concern, you can always go back to the sellers and ask for repairs or money for repairs.

Importance of the Home Inspection Checklist for Buyers

While you might like the neighborhood or the home's layout, the home inspection checklist for buyers should really tell you some important information about the systems in your home. Use the information to make a smart and thoughtful decision regarding your home purchase. 

Are you ready to buy or start looking for your perfect home? We can help. Visit our site to find a realtor in your area to help guide you through the homebuying process.