What to Expect When You’re Inspecting
Home inspections can be stressful for homebuyers, especially first-timers. You’ve gone through an exhaustive process and can almost feel the keys in your hand, opening the front door. You’re that close.
It’s easy to fall into a trap of regarding the inspection as something that stands in your way. Don’t. Think of it as an important part of one of the largest sales transactions you’ll ever make. In extreme cases, the inspection can prevent you from signing up for a string of major headaches. The last thing you want is for your dream home to turn out to be a nightmare!
The coronavirus pandemic has significantly affected the home inspection process. Real estate is considered an essential business in Florida, so both REALTORS® and home inspectors have been quick to adapt to new protocols.
Here’s how inspections work, and how you’re likely to be involved. Before we begin, a simple truth: Your Orlando REALTOR® is your best source of guidance in the inspection process.
The home inspector is your advocate, so choose wisely. The good news: Florida requires inspectors to complete 120 hours of state-approved training, pass an exam and obtain a license, which must be renewed every two years.
You’ll typically pay an inspector $200 to $400, depending on the size of the home. Get at least three quotes. Your REALTOR® will help you understand exactly what your inspector is going to check, and what you should be prepared for. Agreeing on a fixed fee is the norm, but some inspectors charge based on time spent, the age of the house, and other factors. Choose wisely, and remember: this might not be the time to go with the cheapest option.
When choosing an inspector, look to your REALTOR® for guidance. They’ll certainly have a network of reliable practitioners to choose from and can match the inspector with the home you’re looking to buy.
The International Association of Certified Home Inspectors can provide full details on what their members will do during their inspection.
Overall, though, you can anticipate your inspector taking a few hours giving the house a thorough going-over. They’ll keep a close watch out for roofing problems, electrical wiring issues, poor insulation and ventilation, water pressure, plumbing problems, mold, pest infestation, leaks, and more.
A few days after the visit, your inspector will issue a comprehensive inspection report that highlights any issues or concerns. What the report won’t include are things like the life expectancy of a property or its components; the market value or marketability of a home; and advice on whether or not to purchase the property.
While buyers and their REALTORS® are certainly allowed to attend home inspections, you might want to reconsider attending during the pandemic. It’s also recommended that the sellers and their agents leave during the two- to three-hour home inspection. Ideally, the inspector should review the property with no one around. Of course, the seller may insist on being present and, for that matter, so can the buyer. But the best course is to hire an inspector whom you are confident will do a thorough job.
These days, inspectors routinely use social distancing, masks, gloves, and other safety precautions as part of their process. Trust your REALTOR® to make sure that all parties — buyer, seller, inspector, and themself included— understand what is expected in terms of health and safety.
The pandemic will, in all likelihood, prevent you from meeting with inspectors face to face. All the more reason to rely on your Orlando REALTOR® to help you find one you can trust.
If you’re fortunate, the inspection will reveal only minor issues, the fixes will be made, and you can move on to closing. If that’s not the case, work with your REALTOR® to negotiate repairs or concessions on the sale price. The seller may agree to all your requested fixes or may pose a counteroffer of whichever repairs they’re willing to make. Work with your REALTOR® to find a middle ground that’s acceptable to both sides and move the sale forward.
If the seller isn’t willing to make the repairs or offer a concession, you have the right to back out of the deal. Naturally, everyone would love for the deal to go through. But remember: your Orlando REALTOR® is bound by a code of ethics that requires them to represent your best interests above all. In the unlikely event that you decide to walk away from the deal, you’ll probably end up thanking your REALTOR® -- who will gladly help you find an even better dream home!
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