One of the single most expensive and important purchases one will make during their lifetime is for their home. Therefore, to safeguard this purchase, the essential marker during the home-buying process is the property inspection. Once a home is yours, you are in charge of all maintenance, repairs, and problems that arise. This is why it is best to be aware of any issues before you make the committment to buy. But buyers aren’t the only ones who can benefit from an inspection; sellers benefit by knowing the condition of their home before they place it on the market. Then, any needed repairs can be made prior to listing. Because of the importance of this (typically two to four hour) meeting, I always make a point of attending the home inspection whether I am the buyer or seller’s agent.
A standard home inspection is a visual examination of the physical structure and major interior systems. So what specifically can you expect to learn during the inspection? During an inspection, the inspector will review the readily accessible exposed portions of the structure of the home, including the roof, the attic, walls, ceilings, floors, windows, doors, basement, and foundation as well as the heating/air conditioning systems, interior plumbing and electrical systems for potential problems.
Though you will get a report afterwards, it is always preferable to be in attendance so that the inspector can explain your home to you. Some of my clients are based away from College Station or Bryan, work long hours, or simply have extremely busy schedules. And while I am going to be in attendance for the inspection anyway, I still adamantly encourage a buyer to be present during the inspection. This way, you are not only visually aware of any issues, but you also learn important facts about your home, such as the location of the circuit breaker.
Because of the nature of a home inspection, some buying clients can become a bit apprehensive during the process. Maintenance issues that are noted are unpleasant surprises to the potential buyer. Surprises such as these can dismay even the most eager of clients, and can completely discourage an uncertain one.
But it is best to remember, a home inspector is simply doing his or her job by pointing out every little issue they come across. Often, these issues are small, but a good home inspector will want to note everything. I’ve been at an inspection where the professional cited a tiny bit of water damage on a bathroom ceiling, and a bit on a windowsill that required extra caulking. Items like these should not be at all alarming, but are useful to point out so that they can be attended to.
I have found that it is essential to prepare my buyers with a little bit of prep before an inspection. For starters, it helps to explain the process of an inspection, as I have done above. Additionally, I remind them that no home is going to receive a “perfect” grade, not even a new construction. Every home is subject to time, the elements (namely the rough Texas heat and occasional rainstorm), and the world around us.
Next, I discuss the possible outcomes and following actions with my client. Generally, we will end up with a small number of minor issues to address. In this case, I explain to my clients that we simply have a checklist of items to go through. But, if we receive an unfavorable rating, what are our next moves? My standard is – if anything of major concern comes up, we should give the seller the opportunity to discuss it and come up with a solution. This could be asking them to fix it before we go any further, or to ask for a credit based on the estimated cost of repair. The bottom line is, most issues that arise are simple and inexpensive enough to fix, and not worth losing a dream home over.
Prepping my buying and selling clients prior to a physical inspection is an integral point to the home-selling process. It will allow everyone involved to be aware of the exact state of the home, that way we can all move forward with confidence. If you are in the market for a new home, or have decided to sell, please give me a call and take advantage of expert real estate advice. If you have any questions about a home inspection, or would like the name of a professional in the Bryan or College Station area, please contact me today!