Questions From a Seller: How Do Home Inspections Work?
Are you thinking about selling your home and are thinking about what an inspection may uncover or how they work? By being familiar with the home inspection process, you can help it run more smoothly and be prepared for what may come your way.
Home inspections are often something most sellers are not familiar with or may have even forgotten about. Though it is not required, most buyers seek home inspections so they’re sure of what they’re getting — or not getting — in their new home.
Before you can hand over the keys to the new owner and move along your way, a home inspection is a good idea for both parties. But how will it affect the sale of your home and will it be costly? Let’s explore.
How Do Home Inspections Work?
The purpose of a home inspection is for buyers to feel secure and confident that they are aware of any possible defects and minor and major repairs before buying their home. The idea behind doing this inspection before the sale of the home is so that buyers can proceed in a transaction with their "eyes wide open" and in some cases ask sellers to pay for any major and costly problems with the home.
A home inspection can take anywhere from two to four hours and is usually performed by a professional home inspector (I frequently refer to as a whole house inspector), trained to investigate things like a home’s HVAC unit, plumbing, and electrical systems, foundation, roof, and other structural components. They'll test the outlets, switches and most appliances but they are primarily looking for red flags. When a whole house inspector finds something wrong they will most often recommend a specialist take a look and provide a deeper analysis.
In general, I recommend buyers be present at the home inspection. The buyer will generally pay for the home inspection. Home inspections in Evergreen cost between $500-$1,000 though it will depend on a variety of factors like the location and size of the home. Some homes high in the Foothills like Hyland Hills in Evergreen, or further in like Pine and Bailey might cost a little more and some inspectors won't work that far out.
Following the home inspection, the inspector will provide the buyer a detailed summary report of all of the things they found during the inspection, along with detailed photos associated with each condition.
Beyond the Whole House Inspection
In the Foothills it's common (and I recommend) for buyers to test for conditions that a whole house inspection won't typically cover. Many of our homes in Evergreen and Conifer--and almost all homes in Pine and Bailey are served by well and septic. While Jefferson, Clear Creek and Park Counties all require sellers to obtain a septic permit aka a continuing use permit, there is no such obligation relating to the condition of the well. Therefore, it falls to the buyer to perform due diligence on the quality of the water and the availability (or well production) of the water. This test includes taking a well water sample and a productivity test and can take a bit longer than the whole house inspection since the water has to be analyzed over time at a laboratory.
Likewise, everybody should and most educated buyers will test for radon gas in the home. This test requires a radon monitoring device to be placed in your home for a few days. Generally, a home that averages higher than 4.0 pCi/L should be mitigated and in a balanced market that burden will often fall to the seller. Radon mitigation systems start at approximately $1,000.00 in Evergreen and can be significantly more expensive if your home has a large crawl space of exposed soil or other factors.
What Happens If a Home Inspection Doesn’t Go Well?
Prior to the inspection, there are a few things I recommend to do to help the process go off without a hitch. Make sure you’ve:
- Addressed any issues with bugs or rodents
- Replaced the filter in your furnace and made sure it has been recently serviced
- Made sure all light bulbs are working
- Run water in all sinks and baths and ensure there are no clogs
- Repaired broken glass windows or screens
- Clean the tops of the furnace or boiler and the water heater
- Finish any repairs or work you've already started
Before the inspection, small things can help make a difference to the inspector and make them feel as if your home is well maintained. Addressing minor and inexpensive repairs before the inspection will help limit the report to the most critical things. It may also help you save a few bucks in the long haul.
If your home’s inspection comes with some alarming news, you’re not alone. Many sellers are unaware of certain problems within their homes before selling. Let's face it--hardly anyone inspects the home they live in unless there are weird noises or something obviously malfunctions. Most reports that come back with dozens of defects, some of which may be pricey to address
It is important to pay special attention to the items on your report that are deal-breakers, like structural component issues or safety/health hazards and begin crafting a negotiating strategy.
How Can a Home Inspection Impact the Sale of My Home?
A home inspection may cause some tension between the buyer and seller, as some things can require negotiation. If the buyer is uninterested after the inspection altogether, the seller would have to put it back on the market and start over. This may raise red flags for future buyers who can see the home was relisted. In today's market in Evergreen and Conifer when I represent a seller I try to negotiate away the buyers' ability to object to most imperfections. Even better yet, in a multiple offer scenario I'll frequently combine a more gentle inspection contingency than what is built into the Colorado Real Estate Commission approved Contract (the one almost all brokers in Evergreen and Conifer use) along with securing the second place buyer into a backup position. Having a second buyer waiting in the wings is a very powerful way to maintain a seller's negotiating position.
Buyers may still request you address the biggest concerns before the sale continues. Depending on how the negotiation goes the seller may take on the costs associated with making these repairs. I can be helpful in navigating these difficult waters in negotiating an acceptable concession--or if work is absolutely necessary I have many connections with reliable repairmen and electricians to help you accomplish the work in a timely manner.
In conclusion, going through the process of a home inspection can be complicated, depending on what the report of your home inspection has found and how the foundation of the inspection negotiation was crafted in the original contract negotiation.
Working with a seasoned pro makes all the difference. Getting the best price for your Evergreen home is great but it is only as good as the contingencies in the contract!
Have Other Questions For Bob?
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