What Buyers Need to Know About Home Inspections


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The home inspection: an often critical component that can make or break a closing. Many first-time buyers don’t know what to expect during a home inspection. As a result, they may be nervous or anxious. On the other hand, they may not see or understand the value of a home inspection, putting them at risk for buying a property with serious deficiencies.

Educating your buyers about what to expect during the inspection phase is a valuable service that will prepare your clients for the potential “surprises” ahead and set you apart from less hands-on agents. Here are 6 frequently asked questions about home inspections. Talk through these topics with your buyers once they’ve made an offer – or even before – for smoother sailing.

Why do you need a home inspection?

Buying a home is probably one of most expensive purchases you will ever make. To know that you are making a good decision, you need to learn as much about the house as possible. A home inspection with a trained inspector will reveal any safety issues and major or minor defects on the property. The inspector will check the condition of the home in areas you may not be able to see or easily access, like the roof.

What is a home inspection contingency?

The home inspection contingency protects buyers like you by giving you the right to cancel the sales contract without forfeiting your ready money. If the home inspector finds a problem or problems with the property, you can absolutely back out of the sale. Or you can present the home inspection findings to the seller and request repairs or a cash credit before closing.

How much does a home inspection usually cost?

Home inspection prices can vary by inspector and by region, but expect to spend several hundred dollars. Since this is your only opportunity before closing to identify any problems, this is not the time to skimp on costs or look for a “bargain” inspector. You want to make sure you hire a thorough, reputable inspector.

Who do you recommend?

As their agent, you should prepare a list of inspectors you’ve used in the past. If you have examples of how the inspector benefited one of your clients – for example, by preventing them from making a bad purchase – share this information. Becoming a trusted source for recommendations is one way that you can secure a client’s trust and loyalty for years to come.

Will you be there during the home inspection?

Yes, as indicated by the buyer services we discussed when we started working together, I provide a high level of customer service and will be there for the home inspection. You should try to be present, too. The inspector will take photos and provide a detailed summary report, but you should not miss the opportunity to be there and ask questions. The inspector can point out which small repairs you can do yourself and which larger problems may require a specialist. Some inspectors will also offer home maintenance tips as they discover areas that are in good condition now but may need attention in the future.

After the home inspection, what are the next steps?

Depending on the home inspection findings, we will proceed with the sale as is, negotiate for a better price, request repairs or choose to back out of the sale.

Prepare your buyers for the inevitable by reminding them that no home is perfect. Every home will have at least minor issues revealed during a home inspection – even new construction. Let them know that, as their real estate agent, you are happy to offer advice based on your previous experience, but choosing whether or not to proceed with the sale after the home inspection is ultimately their decision.

Do you have additional home inspection tips you share with your buyers? We want to hear them!


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