Home Sellers: Understanding the Inspection Process

A home inspection is an evaluation of the condition of a residential property’s general integrity, functionality, and overall safety. The purpose of an inspection is to ensure that a Buyer knows exactly what is being purchased prior to completing the transaction.

In the course of a home inspection, the inspector will evaluate your home’s foundation, framing, roofing, site drainage, attic, plumbing, heating, electrical system, fireplaces, chimneys, pavement, fences, stairs, decks, patios, doors, windows, walls, ceilings, floors, built-in appliances, and numerous other fixtures and components. Pool and spa inspections are add-ons that Buyers can inspect as well. Inspections are not intrusive (holes in the walls). An inspection will take about an hour per 1,000 square feet on average.

All pertinent findings will be detailed in a written report for the Buyer’s reference and review, and the inspector will make a complete verbal presentation of these conditions for those who attend the inspection. This information enables a homebuyer to make educated decisions about a home purchase: whether to complete the transaction, whether to ask the seller to make repairs, or whether to buy the property as is. Buyers can also determine how much repair and renovation will be needed after taking possession, which problems are of major concern, which ones are minor, and what conditions compromise the safety of the premises.

WHO PAYS? Your Purchase Sale Agreement will specify who is responsible for the costs of inspections and for making any needed corrections or repairs. It is negotiable between the parties and should be considered carefully. Your agent will advise you what is customary and prudent.

STRUCTURAL PEST CONTROL INSPECTION. A licensed inspector will examine the property for any active infestation by wood destroying organisms. Most pest control reports classify conditions as Section I or Section II. The inspection and the ensuing Section I repair work is usually paid for by the Seller. Section II preventative measures are generally negotiated, and not necessarily completed.

Section I Conditions are those currently causing damage to the property. These conditions generally need to be corrected before a Lender will make a loan on a home.

Section II Conditions are those not currently causing damage but which are likely to, if left unattended.

HOME INSPECTION. This inspection may encompass roof, plumbing, electrical, heating, appliances, water heater, furnace, exterior siding, and other visible features of the property. A detailed report will be written with recommendations and pictures which may include the suggestion to consult a specialist (such as a structural engineer or roofing contractor). The inspection fee is usually paid by the Buyer.

GEOLOGICAL INSPECTION. If requested, a soils engineer will inspect the soil conditions and the stability of the ground beneath the structure, as well as research past geological activity in the area. You may also elect to go to the city and research the property’s proximity to known earthquake fault lines. Typically, the Buyer pays for this inspection.

Some Sellers opt to do a house inspection when they list their property to determine in advance which items might be challenges to selling and to address issues that positively impact the sell ability and competitive marketability of a home. Properly maintained homes typically go into escrow faster.

(from Title360 – Home Seller’s Guide)

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