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The Home Inspection Process for Buyers and Sellers


It’s amazing how much you can learn to live with in a home. While the creaks and groans of your house may never feel like a problem, they can become huge issues when someone else is looking at the house. That’s why the home inspection process has become so important, as it lets people move out of their comfort zones and gives them useful knowledge about their potential homes. If you’re getting ready to buy or sell a home, it’s very important that you take the time to get acquainted with this process and how it might ultimately impact your decisions.

What you need to know about the home inspection process

It’s important to remember that getting a home inspection done is very different for the buyer vs. the seller. Both parties have an interest in knowing the condition of the house, but only the former is really in a position to make changes based on the information gained. As such, it might be useful to gauge the possible reactions to an initial inspection by the seller, to what happens during the buyer’s inspections, and then the reactions to the information gained through the latter.

home inspection process

The seller’s inspection

There is no requirement that sellers have a home inspection, but it’s actually a good idea. Having an inspection gives the seller a good idea of what might be wrong in his or her house and it helps them to better answer questions about systems like the plumbing or the roof. It’s a good way to get an idea of how ready a home is to sell and what it’s likely going to cost you to get the house on the market. Without this inspection, there might be some serious surprises a bit later down the road.

These inspections are also great for those who are looking to make more money on their homes. They can, for example, reveal small repairs that help to sell a home faster. While these inspections are entirely optional, they can be very helpful for those sellers who want to get top dollar and sell their house faster. After all, failure to uncover the problems now can lead to problems being uncovered by the buyer after a base price has already been set for the home. This inspection does a great job of getting you ready for any surprises that might be waiting for you in your home.

real estate offer evaluation

The buyer’s inspection

While the seller’s inspection can be very important, it’s the buyer’s inspection that tends to matter the most for real estate transactions. Many loans, including those that are federally backed, require a buyer to have an inspection done on his or her potential home before the closing date. The timing of the inspection is important, as it can impact how quickly the loan itself can be originated. This inspection is almost always paid for by the buyer, though sellers who are in desperate need of a sale can sometimes be persuaded to pay for half of the cost of the inspection.

This inspection is done by a neutral third party and it doesn’t always reveal all of the problems in a home. Most inspections just look at the major parts of the house, and the inspector will usually recommend that a professional plumber, roofer, or electrician takes a look at those areas of the house. These further inspections are not mandatory, though, and many sellers skip them altogether. Once the information is compiled, both the buyers and sellers will have a better idea of any hidden defects that the home may have. From there, the two parties will have very different plans of action.

home inspection process

The seller’s response

As a seller, the results of a home inspection won’t be too surprising if you have already had an inspection done on your own. Because the new inspector may come at the process from a different angle, though, you might find out a few new things about your home that you didn’t know before. This is a time when you’ll need to look at your budget and decide what to do next.

On a basic level, you’re going to need to decide if it’s more time and cost efficient for you to offer the buyer a price concession or to fix the problem on your own. Small, cheap problems are usually best done by the seller, while bigger problems might better be suited to a concession if you are on a tight time schedule. It’s also possible that you may need to look into finding a new buyer if the current buyer has issues that you don’t believe are relevant to the sale. In short, the post-inspection period for a seller is one that requires taking a close look at your potential profits.

The Buyer’s Response

If you’re a buyer, it’s time to decide how much work you want to do on a house after you’ve made a purchase. Dealing with serious construction issues may not be something the buyer wants to deal with, and major problems are usually something that can cause the previous sales agreement to be voided. As such, most of the power is in the buyer’s hands after an inspection is finished – so long as the buyer is aware of what he or she can do next.

In most cases, it’s time for the buyer to start negotiating with the seller again. You may want to get a price concession for the repairs, or have certain issues taken care of before the closing date. As a buyer, it’s usually in your best interest to have major systems like the air conditioning unit replaced before you buy, while it’s more helpful to have small problems with which you can live be dealt with through a concession. It’s the opposite of what works well for the seller, but it’s something that’s worth talking about with your real estate agent.

Whether you are buying or selling a home, you’ll need to learn all you can about home inspections. Having the information a good inspection can bring to you on hand will strengthen your bargaining position and help you come out of the sale in the best possible condition. Whether you’re buying or selling a home, getting a good inspection is only one piece of the puzzle. If you really want to be successful, you’ll need professional help. If you’re ready to make a move, don’t forget to get in contact with a trusted CENTURY21 Northwest agent for your home evaluation.


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