Step 16 - Tips for Reading the Home Inspection

February 2, 2024

Step 16 - Tips for Reading the Home Inspection

Tips on Reading the Inspection Report

The inspector will walk you through the home and review the findings with you. Regardless of this review, once the inspection report comes back, it's important to take the time to go through it thoroughly.  Don't be surprised if it's a hefty document, often 30+ pages long with a list of more than 25 "issues" that may need attention. This is quite typical, and we've never seen an inspection report that didn't identify at least a few items needing repair.

It's crucial to differentiate between small, mainly cosmetic repairs like re-caulking a shower or fixing a broken microwave handle and larger issues such as water intrusion or structural concerns. Remember, the inspection report is for your information as the buyer, not a to-do list for the seller. We should mainly be concerned about structural issues, safety defects, or appliances/mechanicals not working properly.

Here are some tips for reading and interpreting the inspection report:

  1. Pay close attention to issues related to electrical, plumbing, roof, foundation, or water intrusion, as these can be significant and costly to repair.
  2. If there are major concerns, consider whether you want to bring in additional inspectors, such as a structural engineer, sewer inspector, electrician, or pest inspector. Keep in mind that you'd be responsible for paying their fees.
  3. Make a list of items you feel the seller must repair, a second list of items you'd like the seller to fix, and a third list of items you're willing to address yourself or don't feel need immediate attention.
  4. Once you've made your lists, email them to us and (if applicable) your attorney. Some attorneys will want to review the findings with you and make suggestions. As your real estate agent, we'll review your requests to help ensure that you understand how the report is broken up into levels of seriousness (i.e. major repairs, maintenance) and to confirm your requests.
  5. Remember that you can ask the sellers to repair items or provide a credit for you to fix the items after closing. Credits go towards your closing costs, freeing up funds for necessary repairs after closing. So it will not be cash to you at closing, but a credit towards your closing costs.
  6. It's important to focus on safety issues, structural issues, and working components, rather than minor cosmetic details. Unless you're buying new construction, no home will be perfect, and our main focus should be on safety and functionality.

Once we've agreed on a strategy, we'll negotiate the inspection repairs with the seller's agent. When using attorneys, the attorney will most often send over your request to the seller’s attorney or seller’s agent. This process might go quickly for minor issues, but if estimates are needed from contractors or trade people, it could take 3 – 7 days. It's important to be patient during this process.

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