In our next part of our Atlanta Real Estate Buyers Guide The Home Inspection…we’ll talk about just that. The Home Inspection.
When you purchase ANY Atlanta Real Estate, an important step in that process is getting a home inspection, whether it’s a single family home or a condo. And you want to have this completed by a licensed home inspector….not Uncle Bob!
What the Purpose of the Home Inspection?
You can compare a home inspection to a certified pre-owned car. You want to know what you are buying and what the challenges may be. We looked at the home on the surface if you will, placed our offer, and it was accepted. But now, we want to REALLY know what’s going on with this home.
You can choose your own home inspector, or check the Our Team page to get potential home inspectors. The choice is completely yours. You DO want to make sure they are licensed ASHI certified. (American Society of Home Inspectors) There are many home inspectors/companies available, so you want to compare if any offer other services that one may not. Some may offer an actual warranty on their inspection as well as a recall program for any recalls that could happen on appliances and major systems in your home. Not a bad idea!
What Does Home Inspector Do?
You will find there is a big difference between the home inspection in a condominium and a single family home. Why? Well in a condominium, the inspector won’t be looking at the roof, foundation, crawl space or basement. Those things either don’t exist in a condo, or are maintained by the home owner’s association. (HOA) But your inspector will check things like:
- HVAC — They will test the overall operation of the system, depending on the time of year. (Don’t run a heat pump in the summer or an a/c in the winter). They have standards for air temperature and what the system should be producing. Note that your inspector is NOT a licensed HVAC contractor. So if he identifies a significant issue, it may be wise (i.e. necessary) to have that system further inspected by such company.
- Electrical — The inspector will check all electrical outlets to make sure they are operating or are wired correctly. (Think of those special plugs in the kitchen or bath that are to trip in the event of water….we’ve seen many of those not connected properly!) Additionally they will look at the electrical panel to see if it is installed properly.
- Plumbing — This inspection will check for leaks and proper operation of the faucets, toilet’s sinks and hot water heater. The inspector obviously cannot access the walls, but if there is any evidence of a leak, they have special equipment that can determine if it is an “active” leak (meaning water is present) or a stain from something previous that we would want to know about! But in a single-family home, there maybe a basement area where pipes ARE exposed and we can have a better look. If you are buying an older home, you could run into a septic tank vs. public sewer. In other words, they have their own system, not connected to the sewer in the street. This can be tricky, and you should be prepared for additional inspections (and costs) to make sure the septic system is functioning properly. This can be a VERY costly repair later on!
- Appliances — Checking the operation of the microwave, stove, dishwasher and washer/dryer (if included in the sale) can identify any problems with these items. Maybe a burner does not work…..some stoves are more expensive to repair than replace, but to get the same kind of stove could also be expensive.
The Inspection Is Complete…Now What?
Once the inspection is complete, the inspector will provide both you (Buyer) and your agent (ME) a copy of the report. We then review the findings and look at all the items identified in the inspection that may need any repair or replacement. We will look at this list together and rank the items in terms of importance or concern. Also, what will these repairs cost you, or the Seller? We determine which items we want addressed by the Seller, and we complete the Amendment to Address Concerns With Property.
While you have probably heard the home inspector and the home inspection referred to as the “deal killer” by anyone….that’s certainly not the case. But the home inspection, and the negotiation of repairs can be one of those turbulent times I talked with you about in our initial consultation. A Seller may not be willing to make some of the repairs, or ANY of the repairs. It’s a negotiation process for sure. Do they always move forward? Yes and No. It will depend on several things —
- the number of items that need to be addressed
- the severity of items ( old systems can function for many more years, or fail next month)
- the willingness of all parties to move forward
Sometimes that mutual agreement may not be actual repair or replacement of items, but an agreed upon reduction in the contract sales price, or perhaps a home warranty paid for by the Seller.
I’m always confident that we will find the mutual ground needed to keep moving forward to our Celebration! But not always. If that happens, we will have structured your Purchase and Sale Agreement with a Due Diligence period and your ability to terminate your contract and move on.
And we’ll go find you another home!
Our next column will cover the final walk-through and….YES… our CELEBRATION!