Covered Home Buying Guide - Navigating a Home Inspection

Previous ArticleNext Article

Navigating a Home Inspection

Now that you’ve found your dream home, it’s time to get a home inspection done! A detailed home inspection will provide you with not only a list of problems or potential problems the home may have, but also a comprehensive assessment of the home’s systems that can help you with future upkeep or with setting budgets for future replacements. Of course, it always feels good to understand what you’re buying as well — especially when it will be your family home.

Research the Home Inspector or Home Inspection Company

It’s important that you’re comfortable with your chosen home inspector. The home inspection is your primary protection against buying a lemon and can be an ally who can help you understand all those gizmos and doodads that make a house work.

  • Choose someone who wants you present for the inspection. If an inspector doesn’t want you present for the inspection, that is a red flag, and you should place inquiries with other home inspectors.
  • Ask for a sample report. This will give you an idea of the type of detail you can expect.
  • Check review sites. Websites like Yelp, Google Maps, and Angie’s list can be good places to get a feel for the experiences others have had with a home inspector.
  • Better yet, get a recommendation. If you know someone who recently used a home inspector, ask who they used and if they were pleased. Asking for advice from your friends and neighbors on NextDoor can also be a great source for these and other recommendations.
  • Verify experience, certifications, licenses, and insurance. Much of what you’ll want to know will be on the home inspector’s website. If not, don’t be afraid to ask. You’re the customer, and these are questions they should be used to answering on a regular basis.
  • Understand costs before you commit. Is there an extra fee for inspecting wells, septic systems, detached buildings, or foundation issues? Even if these items are “extras’ you may still choose that inspection company if you feel they are the best choice — but it’s always good to know about any extra fees before the inspection.

Prices for a home inspection typically range between $200 to $500 and average just over $300. If your inspection is quoted significantly higher (or lower), ask why.

Radon testing and mold testing are often add-ons or need to be sourced separately.

Attend the Home Inspection

Home inspections tend to be thorough, but are often glossed over by busy homebuyers. Being present for the home inspection gives context to the details on the report. Your inspector may even discuss some aspects of the home’s condition while you’re at the inspection, helping you to understand important report details.

Follow the inspector where appropriate, but give your inspector the space needed to do his or her work. Talking, playing with switches or faucets, knocking on walls, or crawling around in attics probably aren’t helping the inspector to do their work efficiently and could even be dangerous.

Don’t sweat the small stuff

No home is in perfect condition, not even a brand new home. It’s not uncommon for a home inspection to list dozens of items that need attention. The vast majority of these will be small items, like cracked switch covers or holes in screens. It isn’t realistic to expect a seller to fix every item on your report. If you ask the seller to fix every little thing, you may risk losing the deal as well as the cost of the inspection.

Do sweat the big stuff

If some items uncovered by the home inspection will cost thousands or even tens of thousands to rectify, and these are the items you’ll either want the seller to fix or to provide a credit for so you can fix whatever needs fixing after the sale. If you choose the latter, be sure you’ll have the money to fix the problem and that the problem won’t affect your safety, create an uninsurable risk, or interfere with getting a certificate of occupancy. If the seller offers to fix the items, consider having the repair or replacement inspected again. Whether due to miscommunication, oversight, or something less innocent, sometimes repairs detailed on a repair receipt haven’t actually been completed.

A home inspection can also uncover items that just can’t be easily reconciled, like a cracked slab or foundation problems that weren’t immediately obvious. The seller may not have the money to complete the needed repairs and the down payment might leave you temporarily cash-challenged as well. In these cases, you’ve avoided a potential money pit, making the home inspection a wise investment.

Hopefully, the inspection will only uncover minor issues, which are normal. It’s common to find 50 to 100 items that need attention, most of which are cosmetic and inexpensive fixes that can be completed at your leisure.

After the Home Inspection – Protect Your New Investment with Covered!

After the inspection is completed and you feel comfortable with the condition of the house and its systems, you’re one important step closer to buying your new home. Congrats! This is really happening.

The inspection report will have nearly all the information you’ll need to get an insurance quote to protect your new home. Don’t hesitate to reach out to one of our dedicated Insurance Advisors here at Covered so that we can help you with this very important final step. If you’re using a lender, you’ll need home insurance coverage in place before you go to closing, so let us get you the quotes you need and keep the process moving along to the finish line!