We usually associate home inspections with buyers but they are a valuable tool for both buyers and sellers. The sale of a home is an expensive and time sensitive process. A home inspection can save both money and time for both parties. It is wise to have a home inspection before putting your home on the market or as soon as your offer is accepted. Home inspections give needed information as to the condition of the property and therefore its value.
It is the buyer’s responsibility to see that the home they are purchasing is free of defects. After the closing the seller is not responsible for any repairs. That being said, the seller must disclose any health or safety issues to the buyer such as lead paint, pest, or drainage issues. A pre-listing inspection helps both parties meet their obligations.
Home inspectors look for and report on safety issues in the home. They inspect accessible areas for structural defects, water damage, the condition of visible features such as roof, doors, and windows, as well as the operating systems in the home, and pest infestation. The inspection does not include areas that are not visible such as the inside of walls, wells, or septic systems.
While it is advisable for a buyer to have the home they are purchasing inspected, it is not required. The report will identify issues that need to be taken right away and those that will need to be addressed in the future. This is important for the buyer’s financial planning. It is the buyer’s last chance to renegotiate the price of the home or to decide to not purchase the home based on findings in the inspection report. There are other options when significant issues are found. The buyer and seller can share the costs of the repairs, the buyers can get credit towards the repairs, or the buyer can request completion of repairs before the closing.
Sellers also benefit markedly by having a pre-listing inspection. It is a good marketing tool which draws buyers who would like to close quickly. It also attracts buyers by giving them confidence that significant issues will not come up during the closing process. Issues found during this inspection is a good negotiation tool. It allows one to have a good pricing strategy, decide whether to make the repairs before the property is put on the market, sell it as-is and price it accordingly, or give buyers credit towards repairs. The seller is also better able to assess the demands of a buyer.
Are home inspections required as part of buying or selling a house? No! Are they a very good idea? Yes! Whether you are a buyer or seller, make the expensive transaction of buying a home a fair and timely one while protecting your interests.
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