Home Inspections for Buyers and Sellers

One of the most important aspects of buying a home is performing all necessary home inspections.


Home inspections are to protect buyers from purchasing a home that’s not safe or not in adequate condition. These home inspections check everything from the foundation to the roof and everything in between. Understanding the process of home inspections can be a bit overwhelming for new buyers, The following checklists are designed to help educate and guide you through the process of the home inspection. Buyers deserve to know precisely what they’re purchasing before they close. The home inspection checklist for sellers and buyers is complex.  To make it easier to understand by all parties it is broken down below.

Home Inspections, A Checklist Comparison

No two inspectors perform the same duties, but all inspections are quite similar in nature. What a buyer might have experienced with a home inspection in one state might not be what they experience in their new state. With so many different types of inspections available, there are options for buyers and sellers to consider. Not all items found in the inspection are the big deal. Buyers and sellers assume everything is inspected in the home inspection process which is a misconception. Use these checklists to see where you stand, how the inspection went, and what it means for you as a seller or a buyer.

Items Not Inspected

A home inspection does not automatically check everything. This could be because not all home inspectors carry the correct licenses needed to check for specific presences in a home nor the expertise to do so. It’s imperative sellers and buyers understand this. Some of the following items are “extras” or may require an expert to do further inspections:

  • Lead paint inspection
  • Termite inspection
  • Mold
  • Mildew
  • Fungi
  • Asbestos inspections
  • Radon inspection
  • Methane inspection
  • Radiation inspection
  • Formaldehyde inspection
  • Wells
  • Septic

The home inspector will be very educated about all the workings of your home but is an “expert” at none.The home inspector will advise you If anything needs further evaluation by a professional.  Most of the items mentioned in the above list are specific to certain areas, such as radon testing. Or they are of concern to the individual buyer and will require additional cost and in some cases an additional inspector.

Items Generally Inspected

  • Garage
  • Appliances
  • Plumbing
  • Systems and components
  • Structural elements
  • Roof
  • Attic
  • Exterior Siding
  • Electrical
  • Windows
  • Insulation
  • Vapor Barrier

The listed items are inspected and checked for concerns and defects. Plumbing and electrical inside walls will not be inspected, only items that can be seen. Garages are typically inspected but additional buildings should be mentioned when scheduling home inspections. Additional buildings or multi-units will take more time and more cost for the inspection.  The lender determines if the region your new home is in requires a termite inspection. A Realtor or lender can tell you if your new purchase is in an area that requires this additional inspection or any others. There are several things an inspector doesn’t have on the list but will inspect for the buyer. The washer and dryer are commonly overlooked due to it not always is included in the sale.

Home Inspections Show Items Needing Service

The shorter the list of items needing service the better. Buyers and sellers don’t want to see a list of items in need of service. A poorly maintained home commonly has a long list of repairs and maintenance items following a home inspection. These items aren’t always serious. They could encompass anything from an outlet requiring a GFCI to a light fixture that’s in need of rewiring. However, some items are serious and inspectors want to provide sellers and buyers with an example of what requires attention sooner rather than later.

  • Moisture problems
  • Drainage issues
  • Roofs in need of replacement, repair or maintenance
  • HVAC problems or need of servicing
  • Issues with the foundation of the home
  • Health and safety issues of the home

Accomplishing an agreement with buyer and seller can be achieved, even though the above items sound alarming. Buyers shouldn’t panic before discussing the cost of repair and the extent. Discuss with your Realtor how to handle moving forward with your transaction, either by negotiating repairs with the seller or getting estimates. You’ll want to know what expenses you will be incurring in addition to your home purchase if you plan to take on the repairs yourself. Estimates from contractors can also help you when negotiating with the seller as to how your settling on the remedy of the repairs.

Home Inspections Reveal the Unknown

In most cases, home inspections reveal things about the home that the seller is unaware of. Usually, buyer and seller can work out a remedy that is acceptable to both parties. This is a difficult time that requires good negotiation skills to bring the parties to an agreement. Make sure to perform all inspections and negotiating within the timeframes stated on the contract. Rely on your Realtor of choice to guide you through this time. Below are a few misconceptions when negotiating the repairs:

  • Sellers don’t want to fix items wrong with their home, and they might choose the least expensive contractor they can find.

This is not true. Most sellers want to pass along a home without problems. When correcting problems that surface it is important to specify the seller use licensed professional of the specific trades when appropriate. Your Realtor will draft the necessary paperwork with the correct wording. This is a time that having a Realtor rather than dealing directly with a for sale by owner is exceptionally valuable.

  • Talk to a contractor to find out the estimated cost of the repairs before submitting a request to the seller to fix issues from the inspection.

This is good practice and can help when negotiating. Good practice is to get three bids for any major work. It will also help you to know what you are buying should the seller decline to do the repairs and you have to decide if you want to continue or not.

  • Consider asking for an allowance or lower price on the house to handle issues of this nature.

Determine the best way to handle repairs. In some cases, a credit will be the best option. Getting the work done prior to closing to eliminate any underlying repairs, might be the better way to go. Such as, servicing a furnace can uncover other needed repairs. Have the seller service the furnace prior to closing to uncover any additional repairs. it is the seller’s responsibility to make the furnace operable and free of defects If other items do arise.

  • Sellers want to get their house sold and move on and are willing to do anything to make that happen.

No one wants to see the sale fall through and have to disclose the now know defect. Sellers are usually willing to work out the cost of repairs or an adjustment in price in order to see the sale to closing. The Seller will be less likely to correct a laundry list of small maintenance items, so pick your battles wisely.

Home Inspections Take Mental Preparation

Get to know the inspection process, how to make it work for you, and which types of items aren’t even a consideration in many states or not as expensive or serious as one might think. A good Realtor representing you and your best interest is the best negotiating tool you could have in your court at this time. A Realtor will help you sort through the repairs and identify the important items. Determining if a credit in the purchase price would be the better option is difficult.  Rely on your agent to hold the transaction together and get you through to the closing table.


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