What Now? How To Decode Your Home Inspection Report

Posted on: 20 October 2020

Home inspections can make or break a sale. They inform the buyer and seller about any issues the home has that require immediate attention. Home inspectors examine the home's attic, crawl space, basement, electrical panels, and more. They are usually hired by the buyer, but sellers may hire an inspector to avoid the surprise of a bad report.

In this article, you'll discover what your home inspection report indicates and how to proceed.

Primary Recommendations

The primary recommendations section is a summary of the inspection. It will usually include any concerns the inspector has about the home's safety. Some may go as far as recommending whether you should buy or walk away from the property. Things such as structural damage due to mold, insect infestations, fire, or water will appear here because they compromise the home's integrity.

A good inspector can also give you an idea of the expense associated with the issue. At this point, the buyer can use the information to negotiate on the price of the home. Seller's are legally responsible for fixing or disclosing major pre-existing issues and may decide to accept a lower offer price in exchange. Check with your local government on legal buyer and seller responsibility.

Expensive Fixes

Expensive fixes are also red flag issues but aren't always as serious as structural damage. Things like electrical wiring, HVAC systems, roofs, and plumbing systems in old homes all fall under this category. The inspector can only see what is on the surface, and less obvious problems can go undetected.

If you find something that will be an expensive fix or you are purchasing an old home, it's wise to get a second opinion. The issues could be better or worse than predicted. If you decide to move ahead with the purchase, use these fixes as negotiation fodder. As the seller, fixing these issues before going to market may enhance your home's overall value.

Minor Fixes

Minor fixes include things like replacing small sections of pipe, professional HVAC/furnace maintenance, and other cosmetic issues. These things may cost you some money and a little sweat, but they are fairly easy things that don't indicate greater problems with the home. As the seller, home inspections done prior to marketing gives you a chance to fix these problems. This makes the buying and selling process run smoother. As a buyer, minor things can still be a negotiating point, but if the home has a lot of interested parties, it may be worth it to overlook them.

Home inspectors are an essential part of the home buying/selling process. No home is perfect, and one should expect the report to have a few listed items. Contact an inspector that is independent of the seller or seller's agent to get an unbiased opinion.