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Questions From a Seller: How Do Home Inspections Work?

Paul Young

I've been a resident of Irvine for over 25 years and have been a Realtor for over 18...

I've been a resident of Irvine for over 25 years and have been a Realtor for over 18...

Jan 19 6 minutes read

Are you thinking about selling your home and are thinking about what an inspection may uncover or how they work? By being familiar with the home inspection process, you can help it run more smoothly and be prepared for what may come your way.

Home inspections are often something most sellers are not familiar with or may have even forgotten about. Though it is not always required, most buyers seek home inspections so they’re sure of what they’re getting — or not getting — in their new home.

Before you can hand over the keys to the new owner and move along your way, a home inspection is a good idea for both parties. But how will it affect the sale of your home and will it be costly? Let’s explore.

How Do Home Inspections Work?

The purpose of a home inspection is for buyers to feel secure and confident that they are aware of any possible defects and minor and major repairs before buying their home. The idea behind doing this inspection before the sale of the home is so that buyers can make sellers pay for any major and costly problems with the home.

A home inspection can take anywhere from two to four hours and is usually performed by a specific home inspector, trained to investigate things like a home’s HVAC unit, plumbing, and electrical systems, foundation, roof, and other structural components. It may take several days to get a full report back. A home inspector is also looking for things pertaining to your state’s health standards to make sure everything is in compliance and up to safety standards and code.

In general, the buyers, as well as a real estate agent, should be present at the home inspection. The buyer who is interested in your home will generally pay for the home inspection. In some instances, some people insist the seller pays for an inspection if they want to proceed with an interested buyer. On average, a home inspection costs between $300 and $500, though it will depend on a variety of factors like the location and size of the home.

Following the home inspection, the inspector may discuss the findings with you. They will provide a detailed summary report of all of the things they found during the inspection, and sometimes photos associated with them.

What Happens If a Home Inspection Doesn’t Go Well?

Prior to the inspection, there are a few things you can do to help the process go off without a hitch. Make sure you’ve:

  • Addressed any issues with bugs or insects
  • Replaced the filter in your HVAC unit and made sure it has been recently serviced
  • Made sure all light bulbs are working
  • Run water in all sinks and baths and ensure there are no clogs
  • Repaired broken glass windows or screens

Before a scheduled inspection, small things can help make a difference to the inspector and make them feel as if your home is well maintained. Addressing minor and inexpensive repairs before the inspection will help limit the report to the most critical things. It may also help you save a few bucks in the long haul.

If your home’s inspection comes with some alarming news, you’re not alone. Many sellers are unaware of certain problems within their homes before selling. Most reports that come back following the inspection of a home list dozens of defects, which may be pricey to address

It is important to pay special attention to the items on your report that are deal-breakers, like structural component issues or safety/health hazards. 

How Can a Home Inspection Impact the Sale of My Home?

A home inspection may cause some tension between the buyer and seller, as some things will require negotiation. If the buyer is uninterested after the inspection altogether, the seller would have to put it back on the market and start over. This may raise red flags for future buyers who can see the home was relisted.

If the buyer is still interested in your home, they may request you address the major concerns before the sale continues. The seller will likely be responsible for the costs associated with making these repairs. A real estate agent can be helpful in navigating these difficult waters, and likely has connections with affordable repairmen and electricians to help you with the high cost of many repairs.

If the buyer does want to move forward with the purchase of the home, there may be additional inspections by specialists in the given area of concern. The costs associated with these, and addressing the concerns, are often negotiated by buyers or their real estate agent.

In conclusion, going through the process of a home inspection can be complicated, depending on what the report of your home inspection has found. The best way to tackle a home inspection is to aim to fix minor concerns and problems before the inspection and tackle only major issues after you’ve seen your report. It will be easy to identify which items on the report are deal breakers for the sale of your home. 

Have Other Questions?

We're starting a new series answering your questions about selling. We'd love to help you! If you have any questions, please let us know by scheduling a call below.

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