Technically defined as an objective visual examination of the physical structure and systems of the property, a home inspection is a crucial part of the buying process. In layman’s terms, having your home inspected is comparable to having that physical you have been putting off for the last year. It’s a routine checkup to ensure things are running as they should be.
Although the buyer, real estate agent, and home inspector have the same opportunity to visually inspect the property, the inspector’s eyes have been trained to spot even the faintest evidence of potential deficiencies.
So when is a home inspection ordered and what does that mean to you, the current or future homeowner?
A home inspection is typically ordered the day escrow is opened or the day your offer is accepted. Your real estate agent will likely suggest a reliable home inspection company they have a relationship with; however, you are the final decision maker in the selection process.
Both the real estate agent and buyer will have the option of being present for the inspection. My personal preference is to meet the inspector at the end of his evaluation. Most home inspections will take between two and fours hours, depending on bedroom/bathroom count, square footage, fireplaces, attics, crawl space access, etc.
According to Tek Inspection’s website, tekinspections.com, their reports exceed industry and state standards, and include a visual inspection of the following:
• Roofing and flashing
• Foundation and structural components
• Siding and windows
• Attics and crawl spaces
• Plumbing systems
• Electrical panels
• Heating and air conditioning
With the record-breaking snowfall year we’re currently in the midst of, home inspectors have certainly had their work cut out for them as of late. Copious amounts of snow, flooding, mud slides, and downed trees have shaken up the Truckee/Tahoe area since the beginning of 2017.
As most of us know, mold thrives in an environment of water-soaked materials. If the rain was strong enough to trigger multiple mudslides and shut down Interstate 80, it surely has the capability to make its way inside a property.
In fact, we recently had a home inspection completed where the inspector noticed a very small dark spot in one of the bedrooms. To the untrained eye, this likely would not have set off a mental light bulb. However, the inspector had a sneaking suspicion it was mold in one of its earliest stages.
We hired Servpro, a local mold restoration service company, to come out and confirm the spot was, without a doubt, mold. Without the inspector’s keen eye and awareness, we would have missed a crucial and important detail.
Once the inspection is complete, you (the current or future homeowner) will receive a detailed report of the inspector’s findings.
You and your real estate agent will review the findings together and assess how to move forward. There are traditionally two ways to address the findings of a home inspection when in a real estate transaction:
Option 1: Compile a list of defective items and ask the seller to have these repaired before the close of escrow. This tends to be the less desirable option, because by the time the inspections are completed and the repair work is mutually agreed upon, you’re already two or more weeks into the transaction, leaving the seller with a small window to have repairs completed.
Option 2: Your real estate agent will assist in obtaining estimates for items in need of repair. Using the bids provided, you will determine a credit that will sufficiently cover the repairs that you can schedule at your convenience.
Assuming the seller agrees to your credit request, you can choose to either have the credit applied toward closing costs (most common) or to have it dispersed at the close of escrow.
Although a home inspection is not legally required when the transfer of ownership occurs on a property, it is highly recommended by both agents and their brokers. The inspection will cost you time and money up front, but in the long run, you will be happy you didn’t ditch this important step in the home buying process.
Amie Quirarte, Real Estate Agent, realestatenorthtahoe.com