Congratulations, you and your Realtor have submitted an offer on a home and the sellers accepted! The question most buyers have is, “what do I do next?”
The next step in the home buying process is the home inspection. Purchasing a home is likely the biggest investment you’ll ever make, so spending the money on a quality home inspection will help ensure that you are getting a home that is free from major defects and reduce the chances you’ll need to make costly repairs in the immediate future.
Your first step is to find a home inspector who is licensed in your state. Your real estate agent can usually provide several good, local options. Before hiring an inspector you should ask them what areas of the home are included in the inspection. It is also good to ask for references, certification, and proof of licensing, especially if you aren’t referred to an inspector through your Realtor. Some buyers will ask to accompany the inspector during the inspection process. This is considered normal and is something you should do to learn more about your new home. If the inspector denies the request, find a new inspector as this is a major red flag.
Following the inspection you can expect a report, usually within 24 hours, that includes photos and an assessment of the appliances, foundation and basement, roof, attic, fireplaces, general condition of the interior and exterior, HVAC, fixtures, doors, and windows. This is the minimum a report should include; however, many home buyers will also elect to include inspections of the well, septic systems, structural engineering, swimming pools, and the ground beneath the home. Inspectors can also test and inspect for toxic substances such as lead paint, radon, asbestos, mold, as well as pests like termites.
“For your protection, get an inspection.” You should have heard these words or a variation of them from your real estate agent. It doesn’t matter if you are purchasing a brand new home or a 100 year old home, all homes have defects associated with them. Unless you elected to waive the inspection during the offer process, you are entitled to an inspection and should have one performed. This is the only way for your agent to negotiate the remediation of defects in the home. Many people believe that the appraisal performed by the lender is an inspection; however, an appraisal simply assesses the value of the property, while the inspection goes into detail regarding the structure and property.
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