The Scary Truth About Home Inspections!

Spooky Things That Could Turn Up During a Home Inspection!

Home Inspection Steps, Importance, and More!

Congratulations!  You’ve made it through the critical step of having a contract accepted on what will be your brand-new home!  You may have persevered through multiple contracts, counteroffer negotiations, and other hurdles to get you this far.

The scary part is over, right?

Well, hold your headless horses - you are about to embark on what some perceive to be the scariest part of the home-buying process - the home inspection.  Home inspections, especially for the first-time homebuyer, can seem more frightening than walking in a graveyard at midnight on Halloween night.

Want to find a home a little less scary? Take a look at the properties currently on the market! 

An Essential Step

While this home will be new to you, it may not be brand-new in regards to age and condition. No matter when the home was built, or how polished and put together a home looks on the inside, you never truly know a home’s condition until you take a closer look. The old adage, never judge a book by its cover, certainly rings true here. Having a home inspection is one of the most important steps in the home buying process, and in most cases, should not be skipped.

Most home contracts will have an “inspection period” built into the contract. This gives you a certain amount of time to complete a home inspection and make decisions in moving forward in the contract based on the information received as a result of the inspection.  In some cases, potential issues may be addressed with the home seller, and mutual agreement is made to move the sale of the home forward, of course, this is not the case with every contract and this is just “in general”. This is also the time, should the amount of repairs be so large and encumbering, that you may be able to walk away from the contract.

Even if you are purchasing a home in “as is” condition, or waiving the home inspection period, it is always advisable to have an inspection done anyway for your own informational purposes. An inspection will let you know what items will need to be addressed sooner rather than later.

The Choice Is Yours

Who you choose to inspect your home is your choice, though it’s not usually recommended that you hire an inspector that is recommended by the seller’s agent.  Not that this infers that their inspector will be less than truthful, it is more so that you feel at ease in regards to the outcome of the inspection, that you are hiring a neutral party. You can hire your own choice of inspector or your buyer's agent can make a recommendation. The Ask Cathy team has experience with a number of home inspection companies and recommends inspectors that have a proven track record to our clients.

Expectations

During a home inspection, your inspector goes over each part of the home. You should anticipate a number of hours for the inspection depending on the size of the home.  Your buyer’s agent will meet the inspector at the home, and give them access.  Most clients come to the inspection towards the end, so that the inspector can go over the summary of their findings. The report they give you will be highly detailed, full of information and definitions on particular parts of any home, and then more specifically, on the specific home the report is made for. There will also be a summary of the issues that the inspector may have found. The inspector will go over these issues with you, point them on within the home, and answer any questions you may have about the issue. You will also receive this report over email, with pictures, so that you can read it at your leisure. Your agent will also get a copy of the report so that they can address any of your concerns. The home inspector is willing to answer your questions at any time as well.

The Importance of Being Earnest

Now, it is easy to be frightened of the multi-page report you receive after a multi-hour inspection. If you’ve never purchased a home before, it is enough to send a chill or several through your spine. You may think to yourself, in sheer panic,  “Look at the size of this report! So many pages!  How is this house still standing? There must be so much wrong with it!”  It may truly seem like that, but before you head for the hills there are some REALLY important things to know.

  • It is a home inspector's job to find potential problems with your home, this is what you are paying them for. If a home inspector is not thorough and misses something, then that could cause problems in and of itself.  You want a home inspector who is nitpicky and alerts you to what could be happening in your home.  For example, they will even tell you if a handle is loose or a window won’t close properly.
  • As your agent, the Ask Cathy team will go over any concerns you may have about a potential home. That’s what we are here for.  Even as you are first viewing a home, if you have questions, let us know. If you have any questions after the inspection or at any time during the process, your agent has your back. With an experienced agent, like those on the Ask Cathy team, it is highly unlikely that your home inspection will bring up anything that your agent hasn’t encountered before.  If that is the case, they will make sure they research the issue and help find a remedy or more information regarding the problem.
  • The MOST important thing to remember is that NO home is in perfect condition.  There will always be issues found in a home inspection, sometimes even with newer homes.  If a home is kept up in regards to maintenance, the issues should be few or easily resolved. If a home has deferred maintenance, there may be a few things to tend to in order to give yourself peace of mind. However, many things that are encountered can be addressed or could be absolutely normal and expected depending on the age of a home.

Potential Home Inspection Concerns

While there are a number of issues that could be lurking within the 4 walls of a home, the chances of encountering ALL of these issues is less than the probability of you being abducted by aliens.  These areas are the main issues that you should consider with any home.

  • Structural Issues - damage to load-bearing walls of a home
  • Electrical Issues - outdated and faulty wiring
  • Mold - this can be a health hazard and can spread rapidly if not addressed promptly and properly.
  • Foundation - large cracks, settlement, or shifting of the foundation can threaten the structural integrity of the foundation.  (Note: smaller cracks and some settlement are normal in a home. Seeing cracks is not always cause for alarm.)
  • Water Damage - Water damage can lead to mold, rot, and other structural issues. Signs of water damage may include stains on ceilings or walls, warped floors, or musty odors.
  • Roof Damage - a damaged or failing room can lead to water or pest infiltration and other issues within the home.
  • Major Systems - Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning  (HVAC) systems are the hub of a home.  These should be in good working order and serviced regularly.
  • Septic - issues with the tank or the drainage field.  For homes with a septic system, a specialized inspection will be needed.
  • Environmental Issues - asbestos, lead-based paint, radon, or other issues should be identified and addressed
  • Drainage and Grading - improper drainage around a home can lead to pooling water or  the infiltration of water into your basement
  • Plumbing Issues - leaks, water pressure, or sewer line problems should be addressed
  • Pests - Termites, rodents, or other pests can cause significant damage to a home's structure and may require professional extermination and repairs.
  • Code Violations - unpermitted additions or renovations that don’t comply with building codes can lead to complications or expensive

We Scare Because We Care

If you were potentially scared off from buying a home before, the list of potential issues may be just the thing to put you over the edge. But before you jump, remember, these are just the possible things to look out for, not necessarily the reality you will face with your new home.

No matter what the issue, the Ask Cathy team will help you through the inspection process, and repair negotiations, and even help you vet repair services should it be necessary.  We are with you every step of the way.

Remember again, it is highly unlikely that the home you are looking for has all of the above-mentioned issues.  The inspector will make recommendations of things to repair or maintain, but not all of them are immediately necessary. A number of things, should your house encounter them, can be repaired, replaced, or addressed a little bit at a time. Seeking the advice of your home inspector and your Realtor Ⓡ is very important.  After all, they have gone through a substantial amount of inspections and will be able to advise you on the best course of direction, though it is up to you to decide what is within your capability to handle. The good news is that almost anything negative found in a home inspection can be fixed.

By doing your due diligence you can ensure you end up with a home that will look less like the haunted house you imagine it to be and more like your new home that will continue to last for many years to come!

Curious on how much your current home is worth in today's market? You can find that information here! 

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