As a home buyer, what are the five most important things to know about home inspections?

  1. You can choose your own inspector. You can get a referral from a real estate agent or someone else who’s recently bought a home or just look up the National Association of Home Inspectors. This is an association that home inspectors are typically members of if they’re qualified. If they’re members of that association, they’ve typically completed a training program, shown competence in the home inspection trade, and completed a written exam.
  2. Inspections are not a pass/fail process. A lot of our clients believe that the inspection is a black and white result, but that’s not the case. On the contrary, home inspections are often general reports that consist of 20 to 40 pages of general information about the home which you can use for many years into the future in reference to the structural elements of your home. They do include a list of material defects and (usually) safety issues, and it’s your responsibility to determine if those things are concerning enough to impact whether you’re going to purchase the home or not.
  3. Inspections are intended for adverse conditions. They’re not necessarily just for cosmetic issues. We advise that you attend the inspection just so you can talk with the home inspector about what’s important and what’s not, in their opinion. No house is perfect; all of them have some adverse conditions and defects that are listed in the inspection.
  4. Our agreements of sale in Pennsylvania allow the home buyer three different options as the result of the inspection period. The first option is to accept the property based on the information in the report. The second option is to terminate the agreement and get your earnest money back. The third (and most common) is to ask the seller to repair some of the items that came up in the report.
  5. Home inspectors are not specialists. They are more like general practitioners that are going to give you information about all aspects of the home. We advise that you consult a specialist like an electrician or a plumber if there is a major issue that needs to be addressed. Do this before you choose any of the options discussed in number four.

If you have any questions about home inspections or anything else related to real estate, please don’t hesitate to give us a call or shoot us an email. We look forward to talking with you soon!