The home inspection process is intended to inform the buyer as to the condition of the home’s structure, safety, and systems. Equally as important, the Home Inspection Report is a tool used by buyers and REALTORS to address any deficiencies in the home during the property negotiations.
Today, most home buyers will get a home inspection on a property they are about to purchase. Not only do home inspections protect your investment from any surprises, but if you need financing, the lender will require it. One of the first steps is to hire a professional home inspector. Your REALTOR and The Greater Portland Board of REALTORS can assist you in the names of area home inspectors. A thorough home inspection can identify defects you may not be able see such as wiring in the walls not being up to code, high radon levels or even lead pipes.
You have just learned from the Home Inspector’s Report that there are some significant deficiencies. Ok, now is not time to panic! Remember, an inspection is not a pass or fail process and should not be an afterthought. The inspection is meant to provide the buyer with knowledge of unknown deficiencies. When reviewing their findings with you after the inspection, the home inspector may use terms such as, “not to code” or “past its useful life”. Be familiar with both of these terms. When my family purchased our present home, the inspector reported the furnace may be, “past its useful life”. We replaced it soon after we moved in. In addition, a thorough home inspection should also include marginal deficiencies - requiring future repair or maintenance. By all means ask questions when you meet with the inspector so you can fully understand the recommended repairs
As you are preparing an offer, consider what issues were disclosed in the pre-sale inspection. Do you want any of them addressed by the seller? Sellers may also consider a pre-sale inspection, and in some instances it just might be worth the expense. For instance, if you have an older home - you may be unaware of some problems. A home inspection will allow the seller to disclose defects that were taken into consideration when pricing the property at fair market value. Also, a home inspection may uncover minor, inexpensive fixes that you may consider fixing in order to ask more for the property.
Finally, major problems such as: the electrical system, the plumbing, roof, mold and HVAC can all be addressed before you are under contract. This may eliminate a drawn out negotiation, a cancelled contract or having to significantly reduce your selling price.
Here are some final thoughts. You are very handy and may be considering conducting the inspection yourself. This may be a very risky decision! The home inspection is one of the last lines of defense to protect a buyer’s investment. If you are a buyer you want the confidence to know you are purchasing a safe, sound home for your family. A home inspection is worth the expense. If you are a homeowner, try to prepare for a home inspection in advance. Your REALTOR can help you navigate through the home inspection process.
Kevin Ronan, Associate Broker affiliated with Alliance Realty, 290 Bridgton Road in Westbrook, brought this article to you.