Home Inspections are a great way to discover potential problems with the purchase of a home. From the Buyers standpoint it can help them feel they are not buying a money pit with a bunch potential problems. Some Sellers order a home inspection prior to listing their home. This pre-listing home inspection will give the sellers a punch list of items that should be addressed. It is also a sign of good faith to the buyer that the seller is interested in selling a home functioning properly and in good repair. This short video of a home inspection. This will give you an idea of what inspectors look for.
Picky Home Inspectors
If you are buying a home the list of things identified by a home inspection can seem a little overwhelming. It is important to consider the fact that the inspectors job is to find “everything” that is wrong with the house. To avoid liability the inspector needs to be thorough. There are usually two types of items identified. Items that really need to be fixed, and less important items that are not very expensive or difficult to fix. A good example of an item that will need to be fixed, would be a non functioning air conditioner. This has the potential to be very costly. An example of a less important item to fix would be caulking around a sink.
Things Wear Out
It is important to take into consideration the age of the home and typical wear and tear. When homes are listed for sale, the agent will use comparable homes of similar size and age. When a 20 year old home is being sold it is usually understood that many of the items in the home will be original to the house. It is typical for a home this age to have the original heating and a/c unit. These will be nearing the end of their expected life expectancy. This can create some anxiety for a home buyer when the home inspection indicates they are nearing the end of their expected usefulness. In reality, the other homes used for comparables usually have similar aged equipment. Basically the age of the a/c heating units are already figured into the price of the home. Another factor to consider is the fact that building codes are continually changing. What used to be OK may no longer be OK. One example of this would be Earthquake straps on water heaters. It is a good idea to have them, but they have not always been required.
Buyer VS Seller
When a Seller lists their home they usually struggle with the price they should list their home for. It is always difficult for a home seller to welcome a price reduction, or a request to fix items on their home. Not only is in somewhat of an insult to see a list of things wrong with their home, but the buyers request will cost them money. The Buyer is interested in getting the best home they can, for the least expensive price possible. With both sides basically opposed to what the other side wants it can sometimes be difficult for both parties to come to terms. I usually recommend that a price reduction is used rather than the seller fixing the items needing repair. This assures that the buyer can oversee the repairs to make sure they are up to their standards.
I have found that the home warranty can bridge the gap between buyers and sellers and help both sides to get together. If the air conditioner is older and described as nearing its life expectancy, a home warranty can offer some comfort to the buyer. The last thing a home seller wants is to receive a call from the person that bought them home charging them with knowledge that they knew that water heater was ready to go out. If a water heater goes out the day after the home changes hands the buyers would definitely be suspicious. If there is a home warranty in place, the water heater will be covered. In this respect the home seller benefits from a warranty being in place also.