A few hundred bucks here-a few hundred bucks there, and soon enough, the ancillary costs of buying your new home can start to pile up. But the expense of the home inspection isn’t a step the homebuyer should skip. We know of some who have foregone this nominal cost only to wind up with thousands of dollars in unforeseen repairs down the road.
While California sellers are required to disclose to buyers any defects they are aware of, we believe it is always essential to hire an independent, certified home inspector. Like a doctor’s check-up, a home inspection could uncover problems unknown to even the seller.
The What & the Why
A home inspection results a detailed report prepared by the inspector explaining the condition of home and its systems and will include recommendations for the buyer. It generally takes several hours at a cost of around $500. We always recommend our buyers attend their home inspections as this is their best opportunity to really get to know the home before they buy it. And it can be extremely beneficial to get clarification on items as they come up.
Sometimes sellers will order a home inspection to identify significant problems that need attention before listing the property. It is still important to have your own. Your inspection would be done by your inspector, who’s only responsibility is to you.
Here in California, the inspection contingency period as a part of the purchase contract provides the buyer with an escape clause if there are significant problems that cannot be reconciled. Though the time frame can be flexible, it is usual and customary to release your inspection contingency 17 days from the signing of the contract. Having your inspection done as early as possible should provide ample time to identify needed repairs before this period expires.
It is also important to remember that a home inspection is not a fix-it list. Sellers are only obligated to repair or replace items called out by your inspector as code violations or safety issues. This is where we, as your realtors come in because everything else is a negotiation, and it is our job to help you get as close to where you want to be without risking the deal.
Typically, a home inspection will cover:
- The Exterior: Roof, driveway, walkways, doors, deck, and siding, among other elements.
- The Structure: Foundation and framing.
- The interior: Windows and doors, ceilings, walls & floors.
- Plumbing: Water supply, heating & drainage.
- Electrical: Service entrance wire, breakers, fuses, and control panels.
- Heating/Cooling: Ventilation and insulation
Not covered by the home inspection are pests, rodents, lead, mold, radon, formaldehyde, or asbestos as these things are built into other parts of the contract and need to be dealt with by specialists.
Buying a home is often the most significant financial transaction a person is ever going to make.
It only makes sense that a buyer would not only want to know as much as possible about the health, safety, and condition of the property before making such a big decision. Hiring a home inspector should be a critical part of every homebuyer’s process. If you already know one, great. If not, we can make some recommendations.