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What to look for during a home inspection.

Because I specialize in new construction, a full home inspection is rare.  After all, during the building process a home is inspected at several stages along the way by a certified County Building Inspector.  The inspections include the slab/foundation, plumbing, electrical, and at the homes completion, a Certificate of Occupancy issued.  And, on top of that, most builders offer a 2-10 Home Warranty, that covers 1 year workmanship, 2 year systems, and 10 year structural, so there’s very little need for a buyer to spend their money on an inspection of a newly constructed home.

On the other hand, I strongly encourage all re-sale home buyers to have a complete home inspection done.  From the attached diagram (provided by a local home inspector) you can see that the home is checked out from top to bottom.  A written report is then provided to the home buyer and their real estate agent for review.  Over the years I've had buyers who want to ask the seller to fix every little thing, and others who ask for almost nothing.  So, the real question is, which repairs should you ask for?

There are some things that a home has to have like working plumbing, and in the metro Savannah area a working HVAC system is a must.  Personally, I believe that if something in a home leaks, or there is evidence of a previous leak, it should be looked at by a professional and the seller should take care of any repairs that are needed.  Also, the seller should be prepared to fix anything that comes up as a safety hazard in the report such has unsafe wiring.  I found a great article at HGTV.com that does a really job of outlining things to look for in a home inspection. They surveyed several inspectors around the country and put together the most common problems found in home inspections.  As they said in the article, a qualified home inspector is always your best bet for a thorough home evaluation, but it's a good idea to have a general understanding of what to look out for.  

When asking for repairs, buyers should keep in mind that sellers do not always have the money necessary to make repairs.  In that case, a negotiation to reduce the sales price might be an option.  Also, the buyer can cancel the purchase agreement during the inspection period if the inspection reveals too many issues.  And, sellers should understand that many home buyers are strapped for cash and cannot afford to have repairs made and buy a home all at the same time.  Of course, sellers can say no to any repair that the buyers ask for. 

Keep in mind, the point of the home inspection is to know what you are getting into when buying a home.   Just because an inspection uncovers problems, dosen't necessary mean you should not buy the home.   It can be an important tool to help you determine the value of the home and prevent you from overpaying.  Depending on what is uncovered during the inspection, you may want to conduct an additional inspection of the problem area(s) and work with the seller to resolve the issue as part of the offer.  At the same time, an inspection can help sellers identify problems that could cause issues if found out after closing. 


Posted: Thursday, July 24, 2014 9:34 AM by Rhonda Shearouse
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