Home inspections provide a clear picture of the condition of the home you want to buy. Inspections can reveal items not mentioned on the Seller Real Estate Condition Report. Don’t get excited about that. In any home there may be conditions the seller is not aware of. That’s why you have your inspection!
- Should I include a home inspection contingency in my offer?
The Real Estate Duo’s opinion: Yes!
- How much does an inspection cost?
Typically, $300 to $500.
- How do I choose an inspector?
The Real Estate Duo will share the names of 2-3 inspectors who we know offer detailed written reports with photos. You can also check with friends who’ve recently purchased homes. Call the inspectors to check price and availability – your Offer stipulates the number of days you have to complete the inspection so schedule the earliest date possible. When you make your choice, schedule the inspection with the inspector then let your Realtor know. They’ll schedule it with the other parties involved.
- How much can I rely on the expertise of the inspector?
Most inspectors have worked in the “trades” as a home builder, plumber, etc. and have a general knowledge of how homes are constructed. They’re not experts on every component of the home, and occasionally they miss something. If they see a questionable condition, they may recommend you get an evaluation from a specialist. Inspectors pass an exam with the State of Wisconsin to be credentialed and inspections must meet minimum standards. They’re not required to know all building codes, but they do know basic safety codes. Check Wisconsin inspector credentials at: http://drl.wi.gov/drl/drllookup/LicenseLookupServlet
- What does an inspection cover?
Inspectors examine observable systems and components that are readily accessible and present on the property. They don’t look behind walls or ceilings and aren’t required to move furniture, shelving, etc. They must cover the roof, exterior, interior, plumbing, electrical, heating/air conditioning, foundation, attic insulation and ventilation. Depending on the weather, some inspectors look at the roof using binoculars or a drone. Important: Inspectors are not allowed to offer to do any repairs recommended in the report.
- What if I have specific concerns about items in the house?
Let’s say the heating system is older and is a concern for you. In addition to the general home inspection, you may include language allowing you to bring in an HVAC contractor to inspect that system. Same goes for any other structural or mechanical component of the house. Ask for details; inspections don’t cover swimming pools, security systems, etc.
- What if those concerns are not discovered until the inspection is done?
Schedule your home inspection as quickly as possible once your offer is accepted. If the inspection reveals items that you are concerned about you may still have time to bring in a qualified contractor to evaluate that component. If time is short you may ask the seller for an extension of your inspection contingency due date with the Seller.
- Is a radon test included in the inspection?
No. Taking a sample such as air (for radon), water, soil or building materials from the property constitutes “testing”, not inspection. Radon testing is a separate contingency that must be included in your offer if you want to test for radon.
- Who attends my home inspection?
You should attend! Some inspectors are great about pointing out helpful items like water turn-off, that will help you after you own the home. Both the buyer’s agent and seller’s agent may attend. Sellers do not attend.
- What are my options if the inspection reveals defects not acceptable to me?
This gets lengthy. Please see The Real Estate Duo’s blog post “Negotiating Home Inspection Repairs” for that discussion.