What to Expect When You’re Inspecting: A buyer and seller’s guide to home inspections

An inspection is part of a buyer’s due diligence period and investment protection when purchasing a home. Paid for by the buyer up front, an inspection occurs within the first few days after contract acceptance during the attorney review period.

The inspectors on my team are specialized experts here to also help you navigate your home purchase. They will advise any immediate or potential issues with the home, ranging from big (ie hazards and system replacements) to small (ie simple handyman fixes). 

Where necessary, it’s not uncommon for buyers and sellers to agree any remedies to unforeseen home issues. 

For Buyers

The inspector will determine whether all key systems are in working order and look for safety hazards or operational inefficiencies. He/she will also provide you good home maintenance tips/tricks, and will document the age and model of appliances.

From the inspection report, you’ll have a summary of items that may need replacement or repair. Here’s a list of items your inspector will typically asses and advise on:

  1. Appliances including W/D, dishwasher, furnace/HVAC,
  2. Electrical systems: fuse box amperage and wiring, all outlets including GFCI 
  3. Plumbing routes and water pressure 
  4. Air combustion hazards
  5. Window locking mechanisms and thermal seals
  6. Possible safety hazards ie handrails, wall heights, 
  7. Signs of exterior water damage
  8. External elements including roof, tuckpointing/siding, gutters and garages

If significant deficiencies are found during inspection, your attorney and I will advise you on your options to request a credit, repair or replacement from the sellers during the attorney review period. Remember, it is your inspectors role to point out everrrrrything noticeable in the home, including some items that may be preferential or even inconsequential – it is usually not reasonable to expect the sellers to accommodate every little item.

One of the best parts of the inspection (usually one to two hours, depending on the size of the home) is that its your time to spend in the space while your inspector does his/her work. During this time, I encourage my clients to take measurements, map floor plans, and brainstorm where furniture may go or future projects they have in mind. 

Inspection costs are typically $250-$350 for condos and $450-$650 for single family homes depending on their size and scope.

For Sellers: the Pre-Listing Inspection

For clients putting their home on the market, a pre-listing inspection can provide you the opportunity to make any necessary repairs that might otherwise become buyer objections.

This can provide powerful leverage during offer negotiations and can preempt buyer credit requests once under contract. Should your inspector uncover any major repairs needed, this affords you the time to obtain your own service quotes for repairs – even if you decide not to make them – versus waiting to put this in the buyer’s court.