A HUGE part of the home buying and selling process is the home inspection. In Florida, real estate sales contracts have the option to have an inspection period (highly recommended). During this time the buyer has the ability to hire a home inspector to provide them with a full report of the conditions of the home. During this period a buyer may back out of the contract without reason and get their escrow deposit returned. Home inspections are also a great negotiating tool, depending on the market, but importantly it gives you an idea of the condition of all of the important aspects of a home that can be visually inspected. Below is a brief description of how sellers and buyers should prepare, and what they should expect.
•Repairs & Upgrades: Prior to listing your home for sale decide what repairs and upgrades you want to make and make them prior to listing. Make sure you have replaced any lightbulb that needs to be replaced, also make sure any controls and panels have batteries. You will also need to make sure their is power and water the day of the inspection. This will help you with your sales price and value, your inspection, and your negotiating.
•Declutter: Prior to listing your home, it should be decluttered, but BEFORE an inspection you will need to do extra. Make sure dishwashers and ovens are emptied. Declutter any cabinets where there is plumbing (i.e. Bathroom Vanity, Under Kitchen Sink Cabinet, Air Conditioning Closet, Water Heater Closet etc.)
•Unlock/Access: On the day of the inspection, make sure everything is unlocked and the inspector has access to all major appliances, indoor and outdoor air conditioning unit, roof, attic etc.
•Finding an Inspector/Cost: A good agent should have established relationships with various licensed home inspectors. A home inspection typically ranges from $300-500 and will depend on the type and size of the home. Some home inspections include additional add-ons such as short term warranties on appliances and leaks etc.
•Pest/Termite Inspection: Some home inspections include pest inspection as part of their price. Some just include a visual inspection, but if you want a true termite and pest inspection you will need a licensed pest control specialist to come out and do that, these range in price from $100-300.
•What an Inspector Looks for?:
Roof: How old is the roof? What condition is the roof exterior? Are there tiles missing? What condition is the interior of the roof? Does the roof have the proper wind mitigation strapping?
Attic: Are there any leaks from the roof? Is the proper strapping attached from the roof to the house? Is there sufficient ventilation? Is there sufficient insulation? Are there signs of pests or termites?
Interior Walls/Ceiling: Are there any leaks or staining on the ceilings, walls, and baseboards? Are there any cracks?
Windows & Doors: Do the windows and doors open and close properly? Are there any signs of leaks? Are they properly sealed?
Electrical: What type of wiring is used? Do all the switches and outlets work? Does the breaker panel have any double tapped fuses? Is the panel in good condition? How old is the electrical panel? Are outlets grounded properly?
Plumbing: Are there any leaks? Is there sufficient water pressure? Are there any clogs or backups? Is there hot & cold water? What type of pipes are used? Are there lead,cast iron, or polybutylene pipes?
Air Conditioner: Age and condition of the interior and exterior air conditioning unit? Are there any leaks? Does it cool sufficiently? Is the coil clean? Does the air conditioning properly drain outside?
Hot Water Heater: Age and condition of the water heater? Are there any leaks? Does it heat sufficiently?
Appliances: Does the refrigerator, dishwasher, stove, oven, microwave, washer, dryer, and any other electrical appliance that is included in the sale work properly?
Exterior: How are the exterior walls, are there any cracks or leaks? Does the home have gutters? How does the home’s foundation look? In what condition is the driveway?
A home inspector will provide you with a full report of their findings, within their report you will have suggested repairs and replacements along with estimated costs. Some suggestions are minor and optional, but others can be major. A good real estate agent can assist you in using the report as a negotiating tool, and possibly lower the contract price, depending on the market, the contract, and what is found in the inspection.
The inspection also provides you with some important reports that will help you in obtaining home insurance. A wind mitigation report for example is a common report needed to obtain windstorm insurance in the state of Florida.
I would love to help you with any questions you might have. Be sure to contact me for help.