The Home Inspection: What is a Concern and What is Not

To buy the property or not? This is a commonly asked question that many buyers will ask themselves multiple times throughout a transaction.

While every part of the escrow process plays its own role and importance, by far, one of the most important items of the escrow process will be your home inspection period. Click here for an overview of what you can inspect during the home inspection process.

It is strongly recommended that all buyers hire a professional home inspector to inspect the property. While the cost will be at the buyer’s expense, this could potentially save you hundreds or thousands to uncover potential issues now rather than later.

It is the home inspector’s job to uncover each and every thing that could possibly be wrong with the property. On the day of the home inspection, this could be very overwhelming for a buyer who had thought he/she found the perfect property, only to have a home inspector criticize each and every little thing. Do not be alarmed: It is very typical to find some type of potential issue in a property inspection. Even new construction homes will tend to have some type of problem. No home is ever 100% perfect.

Not all items noted on the home inspection report will be equal. As the buyer, it is up to you to determine what items are important to address, what can be done later, and what is not an item of concern.

In particular, there are some red flag items that you would most likely want to have the seller address prior to moving in, including but not limited to:

  • Foundation or Structural Issues
  • Deteriorating Roof
  • Major and/or Active Plumbing Leaks
  • Hazardous Electrical Concerns

Do not be alarmed if any of the above items are noted in the home inspection report. Your real estate agent will help you negotiate the items of concern with the seller’s side and get them to either repair the issue or offer a credit towards your closing costs. The worst the seller can do is say no. From there, it is up to you to decide if the home is worth the purchase or not.

There are some items in the home inspection report that could potentially be addressed at a later time. It is up to you to determine whether or not you want to have the seller address these concerns, but these are also issues that you could very well take care of yourself after closing, including but not limited to:

  • Aging Appliances: If the appliances are functioning properly, the seller is not obligated to replace. However, as a homeowner, it is important to note which items may need replacing in the future.
  • Life Span of Roof: The life span of a roof will vary depending on the material of the roof. Your home inspector will give you an idea of how many years the roof probably has. If the roof is still functional with no leaks, this will just be another item to note for the future.
  • Minor Plumbing Leaks: A leaky shower head or slow drip on the sink faucet is more common than you would think. If you were planning on bathroom remodeling or wanted a different look for your shower head or sink faucet, this could definitely be something easily taken care of after closing. Home inspectors also tend to uncover handyman or DIY plumbing repairs that may not have necessarily been done by a licensed plumber.
  • Minor Electrical Items: Properties that were built prior to 1971 were not required to have GFCI receptacles in the kitchen or bathrooms of the home, but today’s building code does require them. Home inspectors also tend to uncover handyman or DIY electrical repairs that may not have necessarily been done by a licensed electrician.

There will also be items that the home inspector notices that will be the least of your worries. This will include minor cosmetic flaws, missing light bulbs, battery replacements, and the like.

At the end of the day, there will always be items that the home inspector will uncover during an inspection, as no home will ever be 100% perfect. Yes, some home inspections will be cleaner than others, but regardless, this never means that you should immediately walk away from the home. Determine your biggest items of concerns and allow your realtor to negotiate with the seller’s side to see if these issues can be addressed. Before long, you will be moving in to your new home in no time!