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A Buyers Guide to Home Inspections

Home InspectionA home inspection isn’t always required by a lender (a home appraisal generally is). Nevertheless, it is a very basic and relatively inexpensive step in the home buying process. A prudent buyer will be well advised by their real estate agent to include a home inspection on their formal offer as a contingency. You will inevitably save yourself money and heartache by including a home inspection as a contingency when purchasing a home. 

Inexpensive: A home inspection is typically paid for by the buyer. It isn’t expensive. The price will vary depending on where the home is and the age of the home. A 2-3 hour inspection of a single family home will generally cost $300- $500. 

The Contingency Clause: Your buyer’s agent will recommend including a home inspection as a contingency. This will protect you from costly home repairs. These will be discovered during the home inspection process. With the contingency in place, you will be able to negotiate a better price, negotiate with the seller to make repairs before closing, or simply walk away from the home and look for a property with fewer problems. 

Choose an Inspector: Your buyer’s agent will have established relationships with home inspectors. They will recommend a trusted and certified home inspector. Be wary of home inspection companies that also perform repairs and renovations (a possible conflict of interest). 

Attend the Inspection: You are not required to attend the inspection, but it is in your best interest. Your buyer’s agent will likely accompany you. You are hiring a professional. If you have questions they will be quickly answered in real time as the inspector is performing the task. You will better understand the condition of the home through the inspector's eyes, especially when a major problem is discovered. An inspection report will follow. The report will make better sense after attending the home inspection (you won’t be concerned by insignificant details). 

What the Inspector Looks At: The inspector will look for damage and wear in every room in the house, major systems, and structural integrity including: 

  • HVAC 
  • Electrical 
  • Plumbing 
  • Foundation 
  • Roof 
  • Attic 
  • Chimney 
  • Basement 

The Inspection Report: You will receive a comprehensive home inspection report following the inspection. It is the inspector’s job to include any damage in the home, minor or major. There will likely be a lot of issues. Some will not matter, and some will. Your inspector and real estate agent will help you understand which problems are the most concerning. 

The Negotiation Table: You listened to your buyer’s agent, and listed the home inspection as a contingency on your formal offer. Good on you! You will sleep well tonight and arrive at the negotiation table well informed. If major issues were found you can negotiate a better price, ask the seller to make repairs or simply thank the seller for their time and walk away. Just remember, wear and tear on homes is normal. Don’t expect things to be perfect. Cosmetic issues are generally inexpensive to remedy (major problems are not). 

Let us help you find your dream home on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Chuck Mangold is a resident with a lifetime of Eastern Shore relationships, resources, and real estate experience to help you every step of the way. Contact Chuck today!

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