Congratulations!! You've picked out a home, seen all the goods, negotiated a contract, and now you're in escrow to buy a home you've fall in love with. So what's next?
The home inspection!
A home inspection is usually completed by the buyer within 10-14 days after the home officially goes under contract. As the buyer, you're responsible for paying for the home inspection as part of your "due diligence." Simply put, you're making sure the home is safe and secure beyond what you can see. A home inspector is someone you choose, although your agent likely has some glowing recommendations for you to work with if you don't have recommendations from friends or family.
Home inspectors look at things like major systems in the home: plumbing, roofing, HVAC, major appliances, electrical, foundation, and insulation. An inspection report can be daunting if you don't know what you're looking for, so let's walk through some of the majors, quickly!
✔️ Electrical - A home inspector will check to make sure outlets are grounded, GFCI protected in wet areas, and updated to a newer breaker panel (no knob and tube wiring.
✔️ Roof - Although a home inspector is not a professional roofer, he/she can give you a good indication of whether there's excessive wear and tear that will need to be addressed sooner than later.
✔️ Plumbing - A home inspector will check for major leaks under the sink, near/around the hot water heater, and usually even runs the dishwasher and bathtub to make sure all are in working order.
✔️ Foundation - Again, a home inspector is not an engineer nor do any of them claim to be, but they are trained to detect signs of foundation shift and retrofitting on mobile homes. If you see something pop up on your home inspection regarding cracks, don't freak out. Often times it's a subtle shift that's very common in Louisiana. Your agent can help you navigate this smoothly.
✔️ HVAC - For all loan types, the HVAC must be in good working order. A home inspector will check to make sure temperature splits are within normal range and the HVAC is functioning as it should. He/she may recommend a good cleaning of the exterior unit, may tell you it's near the end of its life cycle, or otherwise.
✔️ Other - this includes things like broken windows, low insulation, appliances, doors that don't close properly, windows that won't open, etc.
There are a few things to keep in mind: A home inspection is for your safety, first and foremost. They make sure there are no overt fire hazards or major issues that could cause you to go bankrupt within 6 months of moving into your shiny new home. An inspection is a also a negotiating tool. Once the inspection report is back, your agent will help you sort through the things are of concern and things that are not. Chipped paint and squeaky doors are not issues to be addressed during a home inspection, but an 18 year old roof with major hail damage could be. Finally, a home inspection can make or break a deal. If negotiations on a home inspection don't end favorably and you're still within your inspection period, it is possible for the buyer (you) to walk away from the deal without penalty. Keep in mind that if you've negotiated a home service warranty into your contract, you've bought yourself some coverage for future repairs!
Although a home inspection is not required, we highly HIGHLY recommend getting one in every single transaction. If you need helping finding a licensed and reputable home inspector to help you in your next purchase, let us know! We help you navigate every moment of the home buying process so you can feel confident that you've made a sound decision!
Let's go look for a new home!