What is it and what to expect
We’ve all heard the term “home inspection” but what does that really mean? As a buyer, you will hear me tell you nonstop how important a home inspection is. I ALWAYS recommend you get one, doesn’t matter how handy you are, how much DIY you’ve done or watched on TV, this is not where you save money during the home buying process.
The Inspection Period
One of the main questions I ask a buyer when we’re talking about writing an offer is “How long do you want for inspections”? This is something you a buyer stipulates in the offer you submit. Florida As-Is contracts default to 15 days unless you request differently.
Now this timeframe will vary in every situation, sometimes you need less time and sometimes more. This can typically be signed off on earlier if you complete your inspection quicker and a request for an extension is a possibility if necessary.
During your inspection period is your time to do your due diligence and research on this potential home.
The type and complexity of a home inspection are really up to you. There are companies that can perform just about any test imaginable and then there is a broad overview. It’s all about what’s best for you and your situation, but overall, a home inspection is a MUST.
Some of the common inspections include (if applicable) the traditional home inspection, WDO (wood destroying organisms), septic, water quality, mold, and many more.
I know of several great local home inspection companies I can forward you at any time. They will be able to discuss with you in further detail costs, available services, any warranties, etc.
Once your offer has been accepted and you are officially under contract, it’s up to you to get your inspections scheduled, the sooner the better. A typical home inspection can range from 2-4 hours and cost approximately $350-$500. This is your expense as the buyer, the fee is typically due at the time of inspection.
I urge all buyers, if able, to attend the home inspection. This is your opportunity to learn a great deal about what could potentially be your new home with a professional. If that’s not feasible, I do suggest you stop by for the last part, report of findings, which I also attend. This is when the inspector goes over with you the possible items of concern or what they feel you should be aware of.
Your inspector should send you a full inspection report, typically with photos a day or so after inspections are completed. Review this report carefully and then proceed accordingly.
Now as you can imagine, your full inspection report could be intimidating. The inspectors will find things wrong, it’s their job to do exactly that. The purpose of the home inspection is not to scare you off, but for you to ultimately know what you’re getting yourself into, what may need to be addressed and repaired now or maybe in the near future. Everything from the roof to the flooring and everything in between. Do you have an outdated or recalled electric panel? Is your roof nearing the end of its life? Is the A/C barely blowing cold or have torn ductwork? These are all things most of us wouldn’t know, so seek professionals to help you make a smart and educated decision.
The Next Step
If necessary, it’s at this time that you can or should order additional inspections or professionals. Request the seller to make specific repairs and/or adjust the price for you to make the repairs. Some repairs may be necessary for financing, if the seller is unable or unwilling to make these repairs, you can pay for them to be made or cancel the contract. Please note, if you pay for repairs and do not for some reason purchase the home, the seller will not be responsible to reimburse you.
If you are uncomfortable with what you have learned with inspections, it is within the inspection period that you request with your agent to cancel your contract. Your agent will write up a Release and Cancel for you and the seller to sign. Typically, canceling within the inspection period allows you to have your escrow (good faith deposit) returned to you from the title company. If you decide after the inspection period to cancel, you could risk forfeiting that money. You would be out the cost of the home inspection regardless.
If all looks good and you feel confident with the findings you can sign off on the inspection period and move forward with the transaction. Congratulations, you’re one step closer to making this potential home your new home.