The average home inspection can range from two to three hours, but this isn't a rigid standard. Rather, it depends on several factors, like the size of your home, the condition of your property, and how quickly the systems and tools used by professional inspectors can finalize an inspection report.
So, as a seller, how do you prepare your home for an inspection to get approval from the inspector? After all, you want the buyer to close the deal on the house. Therefore, it's important to get repairs on noticeable issues, like faulty plumbing or crumbling foundation, before the professional home inspector drops by.
Essential preparations to make include walking through the home and doing a general check-up for damage. If you notice a problem, get it properly taken care of before the home inspection. It will save you time and money, as well as a failed home inspection.
Let’s explore how sellers can prepare for a home inspection, what homebuyers can learn from an inspection, and go through the inspection process.
So, What Is a Home Inspection?
A home inspection is the last opportunity for the buyer to be aware of any damage on the interior or exterior of the home before purchasing. That said, every home is bound to have at least one problem, so no home inspection will ever be perfect. Nevertheless, most buyers won’t terminate a contract if there are minor issues, especially if the seller can schedule repairs.
The home inspector's part is to evaluate the home and ensure that it's up to code. They begin the inspection by walking through the home's interior and exterior, checking the foundation and roofing for possible issues, documenting any problems or concerns with the house during the walk-through. Any issues found will later become available for the buyer to view in the final inspection report.
For a seller, fixing any major issues with the home, like faulty pipes or a leaky roof, is essential to pass the inspection. What buyer would close a deal with those glaring problems? When sellers get major repairs taken care of before an inspection, it can significantly increase the buyer's chance of closing the property.
Although it's not always legally required, a home inspection is an essential step for the buyer to take to save time and money. Some buyers choose to waive the option for a home inspection, but opting out is risky. If the home has an underlying problem, it may cost thousands of dollars for the buyer after the negotiated closing price.
In addition, the average price of a home inspection is between $300-$500, which the buyer typically covers. In contrast, the seller covers any repair costs for problems inquired by the buyer.
What Factors Impact Home Inspection Time?
There are several reasons why a home inspection can take a few hours to complete. But you can estimate the time based on certain factors, including the size of the home and its current condition, among other structural aspects. So check out these factors that could significantly affect how long a home inspection may take.
* Size of the house: Depending on how small or large the home is, it can make a difference in how much time the inspection will take. The standard-sized house is between 1500-2000 square feet. To estimate how much time the inspection could take, add 30 minutes per 500 square feet of your living space.
* Condition of the house: If the home is in excellent condition, there will be fewer issues for the inspector to document. In contrast, a house with multiple problems or defects is bound to take longer than average to inspect.
* Age of the house: Because older homes have outdated structures that can create a challenge for the inspector, add another hour to your time estimate for outdated features. These features include outdated electrical wiring and older pipes that can cause problems.
* The number of systems in the house: Because larger homes tend to have multiple heating and cooling systems, water heaters, and other appliances, it can take longer to inspect these systems one by one throughout the house.
* The home's foundation: If the interior has crawl spaces, basements, or other extra spaces that add to the foundation, add at least 30 minutes to the inspection time.
* The home inspector's experience: When looking for a home inspector, check their experience level to ensure they provide the most thorough inspection that is up to standard. An inspector who has completed at least 100 paid inspections and has one year of experience is considered a professional. So don’t be afraid to ask for credentials and experience when looking for an inspector.
* Weather conditions: Inclement weather can slow down a home inspection in several ways, from delaying the inspector's arrival to the home to interfering with the inspection. If your area experiences severe weather conditions such as heavy rain or snow, it's best to reschedule for another day.
* Delivery time for the report: The inspector will deliver the home inspection report within 24-48 hours. With specific programs home inspectors can use to generate a report, some inspectors can provide a final report on-site.
What Happens During a Home Inspection?
The seller should be aware of what the home inspector will look for during their inspection. Finding out how to properly prepare the home for the inspector is another way to put the best version of the house forward.
The inspector will examine the interior and exterior of the home, where they look for signs of water damage, code violations, and any issues with the electrical system, plumbing, or foundation. Also up for inspection are appliances, the HVAC system, chimneys, sprinklers, light fixtures, and the circuit breaker.
What about other issues noted by inspectors, such as mold or termites?
Although mold damage is technically not included in a standard home inspection, an inspector may document a severe case like black mold. But if it’s a minor case of mold, it will usually require its own examination by a mold specialist.
If the inspector finds a small patch of mold, it will be up to the buyer to determine whether it’s worth it to close the deal on the home and get the mold taken care of by a professional.
Another issue not typically on the home inspectors list is termites. Although the home inspector will make a note if they see evidence of termite damage, these wood-eating pests usually need the attention of a pest control specialist.
It’s also encouraged for the buyer to walk through the inspection with the inspector to check out the home’s electrical systems, HVAC, and utilities for themselves. Allowing the buyer to join the inspector can make them more comfortable asking questions about the house.
However, the seller should not attend the inspection. The seller’s presence in the home can distract the buyer during the walk-through process, especially when it’s the buyer’s time to speak with a professional inspector one-on-one about the property.
Are Home Inspections Required?
Mortgage lenders do not typically require a home inspection, but a home appraisal inspection may be required depending on the type of loan. In short, an appraisal gives the buyer a third party to provide an unbiased report of the home’s condition, but it cannot guarantee the property is without issues.
But with a professional home inspection, the buyer can be assured they are aware of issues and the home's current condition. So it is highly encouraged to avoid later having to pay a hefty repair cost on a problem that the inspection would have uncovered.
Even if a home inspection isn't always a requirement, the value it gives to the seller and buyer is worth it in the end.
What Happens After a Home Inspection?
After a home inspection, the buyer will receive a written report of all the findings by the home inspector. Then, the seller must address any issues with the buyer, and both parties can negotiate a closing price.
Legally, there are no mandatory repairs that the seller or buyer must make after a home inspection. However, the buyer may make a list of repairs they want the seller to complete before closing the deal.
How Do I Prepare for a Home Inspection?
Because home inspections can take several hours, it's a good idea for the seller and buyer to prepare in their own way to ensure a smooth inspection.
For the buyer, taking time off work or clearing your schedule for the day can ensure plenty of time for the inspector to show up to the home and do a thorough inspection.
Essential preparation for the seller is to check that all utilities are in working order for the home inspector. Another tip is to make the attic, garage, and basement open to inspection. So make sure those areas are unlocked and accessible before leaving the inspector and buyer in the home.
The seller should also disclose any remodeling work on the home, so prepare to have that paperwork ready for the inspector. Having all of this information on hand helps the inspector provide the remodeling details in their report for the buyer.
A final tip for the seller is to spend time tidying up the home, especially the interior. You wouldn’t want to close a deal on a home that looks unpleasant on the inside. Plus, it’s also essential to make sure the inspector and buyer can easily walk through the home without anything in their way. So think about how you would prefer the home’s appearance to look if you were the buyer and make a few minor touch-ups.
A home inspection is crucial to create peace of mind for sellers and buyers that the home is in good condition with no significant issues hidden beneath the surface.
During the homebuying process, don’t skip a home inspection just because you can. It’s a time and money saver when done by a professional that can disclose the home’s current condition so you can make an informed decision whether to close or walk away from the deal.
If you’re a homebuyer, you want to purchase a home without significant problems on your hands, so a home inspection is the best way to make all parties fully aware of the home's condition. For home inspection tips and more, check out BHGRE HomeCity!