The Home buying process is at times confusing especially for first time home buyers. Having a Professional Realtor guiding you through the process can make it less complicated.
Let’s skip ahead in the process a little. You took your Realtor’s advice and hired a Licensed Professional Home Inspector to inspect your soon to be home. Now what? So at this point you should have a home inspection report. It has lots of pictures, lots of sections, lots of comments, but what does all this mean? First let’s understand what a home inspection is and what a home inspector’s job is (and what it isn’t).
First a home inspection is not an appraisal. An appraisal estimates a fair price for the home based on other comparable homes in that area. A home inspector however evaluates all of the homes components and systems, identifying problems, both major and minor. A home inspection is a limited visual inspection checking for safety and functionality of the homes systems. Because it is a visual inspection there are limitations to what a home inspector can identify. However an experienced home inspector can uncover problems that are often overlooked. No home inspector is all knowing or all seeing but an experienced home inspector knows the clues to find hidden problems and the signs systems can give indicating they are not functioning properly. A home inspector is not the person to tell you the answer to “Is this a good buy?” or “Should I buy this house?” They are the person to answer “Is this safe?” or “Will that cause a problem?”
Major vs Minor Issues
Any issue with any home can be fixed. Some will be harder or more costly to do so. Good home inspectors can and will identify the problem areas, whether major or minor. You want to know the minor issues but act on the major issues. Some minor items, such as a leaky faucet or a loose outlet, can be downplayed, but you must remember to act on the major items. Major issues will involve structural, plumbing, electrical, HVAC, and roof components. Some issues with these systems can be minor now but lead to costly repairs down the road. Cost of repairs to these systems can at times be expensive.These repairs often affect the selling price. This is where your Realtor comes in. Listen to your Realtor and decide who, either the buyer or the seller, will pay for these repairs. Or do you may decide to negotiate a reduction in the selling price to offset the needed repairs. Your Realtor is an expert in this process and can be a valuable person to have in your corner. If repairs are made by the seller be sure to have your home inspector back out to verify the repairs were done properly prior to closing. Minor issues include things that are quick or inexpensive to fix, ie loose outlets, burnt out bulbs, or loose door handles. Now is when you take the things from the inspection report and go over them with your inspector and/or your Realtor and decide how these will be handled. Your inspector can help you understand which will be cheap easy fixes vs costly repairs. Your Realtor can help you determine how you handle them from there.