Congratulations! If you are to The Home Inspection, this means you won the bidding war, or your offer was accepted by the Seller! In our last post for the Atlanta Real Estate Buyers Guide, we talked about contingencies and what they are. Your home inspections is one of those contingencies we work on during your Due Diligence period.
What is The Home Inspection?
As we shopped for your home, and got this particular one Under Contract, we’ve really just seen the surface of the house or condo. Now, is our opportunity to “look under the hood” if you will and really find out about the condition of the house. And you do this with a home inspection by a licensed and ASHI certified (American Society of Home Inspectors) home inspector.
You can choose your own, or consult with one of our Team Inspectors. We have worked with these individuals/companies and know they do a detailed inspection with a good follow up report. Some inspection companies will offer additional services like a warranty on their actual inspection, appliance recall information and more.
What Is Covered in a Home Inspection?
If you are buying a single family home versus a condominium, your home inspection will be much different. While an inspection will cover many of the same things, in a condo the inspector does not check items like the roof or the foundation or maybe even the exterior of the building. These items are covered through the HOA. (Home Owners Association) But, in a single family home, all of these items ARE a part of the inspection, and you want to know about the condition of these! But here is a highlight of the items that you inspector will check:
- Roof — Can they determine how old it is and what condition it is in? You know we get some pretty strong storms in the Atlanta area, and you wan to know if there has been damage (and has it been repaired) to the roof.
- Foundation — From where visible on the outside and from the crawl space or basement area, the inspector will look for any issues. Cracks or water stains will be key indicators that their may be an issue, or one that has been addressed. If anything looks serious enough, it might call for a more detailed inspection by an engineer or building contractor to determine the cost of repairs.
- Electrical — From top to bottom, your inspector will check all the plug-ins (that they have access to) to make sure they work, and are wired properly, as well as the electrical panel. You might find wiring that has been installed incorrectly and could be a hazard. In older homes, it’s common to not have grounded plug-ins, but all of this will be pointed out in the report.
- Heating and Air Conditioning Systems (HVAC)— The inspector will check the overall operation of both systems, depending on the time of the year. (A/C cannot be turned on when it is below a certain temperature due to potential damage to the system) The check for things like the age and condition of the systems parts (furnace, condensing unit, etc) They can check the temperature of the air coming out of the system as well. Most home inspectors are NOT licensed HVAC contractors, so if an issue is identified, we may want to have a specific inspection done by one of these companies.
- Plumbing — Here, the inspector will check the operation of the faucets and drains in every sink in the home, the hot water heater (is it producing hot water, and HOW hot is that water, plus the age of the actual water heater) He will be looking for any potential leaks, signs of a past leak or water damage and if either of these are still active with sensors that can actually determine if there is water inside of a wall! They can also see water pipes that are visible in the basement or crawl space. This is always important as there could be leak happening that is not visible unless the property owner has crawled up under their own home! It is still possible to find homes in the Atlanta area that are on a septic tank. This can be tricky, and as a Buyer, you should be prepared for additional inspections (and costs) to make sure the septic system is functioning properly. Repairs and/or replacement of a septic tank/system can be very, very expensive.
- Appliances — Any appliances that remain with the home can be checked for operation. You might find a stove burner does not work, or an automatic ice maker not working. A dishwasher may not work. All items that will be noted on the inspection report for us to address.
We Have The Home Inspection Report. Now What?
Once the inspection has been completed, the home inspector will email you (and I as your Buyer’s Agent) a copy of their detailed report. From here, we will look at the Summary Report and all the items that have been identified in the inspection as needing attention (Attention could be a simple repair or a full replacement). I’ll review this list with you and together we will decide and rank in order of importance, (and the cost to you later) of what we would like replaced/repaired by the Seller. This is all done with an amendment to your Purchase and Sale Agreement, called the Amendment to Address Concerns With Property.
“The home inspector killed our deal!” I’ve heard that phrase many a time. But, what the home inspection does, is help you know the condition of the house (or condo) you are buying. It is a point in the home buying process whereby we can have challenges. A Seller may not be willing to fix/repair any of the items that we have requested. Or maybe they only want to do a couple small things. It is another negotiation step in the home buying process, and do they always move forward? Yes and No. If there are significant issues with a home, and the Seller either will not fix them, or offer you some type of credit against the purchase price, we may choose to terminate our contract and move on to another home. You can also choose to still purchase the house, and address any of these issues yourself, after the purchase. This is an option to you as well.
I’m always confident that we will find mutual agreement between you and the Seller to keep moving forward. But if we can’t, that is why we have structured your Purchase and Sale Agreement to give YOU that ability to move on. And find maybe even a better house than this one!
In our next, and last post in our Atlanta Real Estate Buyers Guide, we’ll talk about the final walkthrough and YOUR Celebration Day!