The Importance of a Home Inspection

performing a home inspection

Home Inspection Guide

When someone puts their home on the market, the property moves from being a private residence to becoming a public commodity. Staging is how sellers create a great first impression. The home inspection report allows prospective buyers to take a closer look.

Home inspections reveal the current state of the home’s structural elements, including plumbing, wiring, heating and cooling systems, roof and insulation, foundation, and basement. They provide assurance to the buyer by quantifying the number of improvements a house may need, and they can be used as leverage in the negotiating process.

What’s This About a Pre-Inspection?

Most Realtors recommend that sellers have an inspection report for prospective buyers to look at even before they put down earnest money and begin the loan approval process. This document allows the seller to take care of needed repairs on their own terms, giving them more control during contract negotiations. Pre-inspections also demonstrate a willingness on the seller’s part to be forthcoming early in the process, which can serve to build trust.

For these reasons, more and more realtors are urging their clients to get a pre-inspection on the property completed before the house goes on the market.

How Can Prospective Buyers Choose the Right Inspector?

Realtors usually have a list of go-to inspectors and will simply select one unless the buyer chooses to have input. Here are some points to consider:

Objectivity. The inspector should have no affiliation with the seller’s real estate company.

Experience. How long has the inspector worked in your city or neighborhood? Is she aware of issues that typically arise with homes like yours? Are they familiar with all structural systems in a home?

Credentials. Some states require home inspectors to be licensed, but California isn’t one of them. Instead, inspectors must pass a course of training to become certified. You can also check and see if the inspector is listed with the American Society of Home Inspectors, an organization that holds inspectors to guidelines of ethical conduct.

When Are Inspection Reports Good Negotiating Tools?

Sometimes the inspection report reveals major structural damage to a home that the seller was previously unaware of, such as a foundation crack or the fact that the home was previously used as a meth lab. Other times, the problem is smaller and largely cosmetic, like damaged tile in the bathroom.

Unanticipated structural damage can spook some prospective buyers and cause them to pull out of the contract altogether. But for savvy buyers, the inspection report can also be a valuable negotiating tool, allowing buyers to insist that the repairs are done immediately, at the seller’s expense, or to ask for a lower selling price as compensation. For buyers who are short on money and big on patience, this latter strategy can shave a bit off the monthly mortgage payment and give buyers a bit more cash for the move — the broken tiles can wait for another day.

Find Your Dream Home

At Century 21 Peak, we combine the global industry experience of a leading real estate giant, Century 21, with the know-how of greater Los Angeles agents who are able to give our clients the personalized care, nurturing, and attention to detail they respect.