The home inspection has been done and you have the inspection report… Now What?
Read the home inspection report.
Take the time to read your home inspection report thoroughly and ask your home inspector for help if you don’t fully understand what something means.
Consider the big picture.
Take a broad view of the report and Don’t Panic! Some items are deficient in the home inspection report because building standards change and some items are deficient because they are broken, don’t work or are in an unsafe condition. Especially when buying a home that is a few years older, understand not all deficiencies mean mean big problems.
The home inspection report is part of the due diligence process in purchasing a home. It is a “TEST DRIVE” of the home, its major various systems and components. The inspection is Visual, Non-Destructive and Not Technically Exhaustive.
If needed, schedule any further review.
Now is the time to schedule additional reviews. Any further review should be done by a qualified professional and they should be instructed to evaluate the system, not just a single issue.
A home inspector is a generalist, does not do repairs, is limited by the conditions of the house at the time of the inspection and can’t do any destructive inspection (like opening the wall) or specialized testing (like plumbing leak test or putting pressure gauges on the AC system). Inspectors sometimes identify the symptoms of a problem; a technician or licensed professional may be needed for further diagnosis.
Prioritize the results.
In Texas, the inspector presents the information in a system by system order and does not break issues down in order of importance. It is important that you consider the information and evaluate it. We recommend the following categories for breaking down the information.
- Things that may hinder your ability to finance, occupy or insure the home – An older roof may not be leaking but might not be insurable. Peeling paint and damaged siding or trim or conditions conducive to wood destroying insects can become Lender Required Repairs. An exterior door that doesn’t close or lock properly can be a safety issue. And, no one wants to spend a day moving into a home and not be able to take a hot shower because of a water heater problem.
- Safety hazards – Are there issues or defects that make living in the home unsafe? Typically, these are things like unsafe electrical, loose heater or water heater flue vents, improper combustion air, missing smoke or carbon monoxide detectors or even missing hand rails. These are not necessarily expensive but very important repair items.
- Major defects – Are there big ticket and costly issues that need to be addressed. These are typically major system repairs or upgrades like Foundation repairs, Electrical system upgrade, Roof replacement, Heating or Cooling systems that are at or near the end of life.
- Things that lead to major defects – These are items that, if left alone, will become major or expensive defects. Issues like a small leak can rot out the sub-floor over time, trees close to the roof may tear shingles during a strong wind, or poor drainage that holds water by the house can result in foundation problems.
Make your Repair/Negotiation Items list.
- Must Have Repairs: These are the make or break issues.
- Really Want Repairs: Issues that are desirable but can be negotiated.
- Upgrades: Okay, it would be great if these items could be done, and they probably won’t be, but we want to at least raise them through the repair amendment.
Meet with your real estate agent.
Your real estate agent will assist with negotiation strategies, options and preparing a repair amendment. There are three basic options for addressing issues. 1. Request seller to make repairs. 2. Request a price adjustment and take care of the items after closing. 3. Accept the imperfections and live with them.
This is important. Every house and every deal is different. Your agent will be help explain your options, assist with the preparation of a repair amendment – if necessary – and guide you through the negotiation process. Neither your home inspector nor your real estate agent can tell you what to do, but they can answer questions and provide some guidance so that you have the information to make good decisions about the purchase of your new home.