4 Tips to a Successful Real Estate Transaction. A home inspection is a necessity for any type of buyer, according to Big Sky Sotheby’s broker and Realtor® Cathy Gorman.
Gorman has been in the brokerage business since the early 1990s, and says that home inspections are a critical part of any successful real estate transaction. If you’re a potential buyer, here’s everything you need to know about having your property inspected.
#1 What’s a home inspection?
A home inspection is initiated and paid for by a buyer during their due diligence period to examine the physical status of the property. Some things inspectors look for are plain to see: cracked tiles, mold; an aging roof or water damage. But Gorman says a good home inspector will provide a thorough examination of many other aspects that might not be as obvious to a buyer or even an experienced Realtor®. These include things like turning on all the faucets, checking each and every outlet, and making sure the boiler is working, among many other things.
“It’s a tedious job that requires an eye for the details and a thoroughness,” says Gorman. In addition, a home inspector may be able to recognize details such as windows or wiring that is not up to code.
“If the piping to the sink is made out of something that is now considered noxious, I’m not going to know that – the seller might not even know that,” Gorman explains.
#2 Do you really need a home inspection?
“Any good realtor recommends a home inspection every single time, for every single condo or home that they sell,” says Gorman, who even recommends home inspections to those purchasing a newer property. “It’s a very inexpensive piece of insurance to give the buyer peace of mind.”
Gorman says having a property inspected is in the seller’s best interest, too, as it protects all parties from potential liability issues later on.
#3 How to find a professional
On average, a home inspection can run anywhere from $350-$500, says Gorman. At Big Sky Sotheby’s, realtors provide buyers with a list of certified home inspectors to choose from. Because a home inspection usually needs to happen pretty quickly to facilitate the closing process, Gorman says most buyers base their decision on availability and cost. Gorman also suggests buyers look for someone they personally connect with. It’s also not a bad idea to ask about their experience in general or with a certain type of property – older homes, for example – especially if the property you are having inspected is unique in some way.
#4 Other considerations
Although it is highly recommended that all buyers bring in a certified home inspector before closing on any property, Gorman says there’s an important caveat for those using this important service.
“Home inspectors are not builders. They don’t have a full understanding of the construction process. Sometimes they get things wrong,” says Gorman.
If a home inspector suspects something about the property is not up to code, for example, Gorman says she will always contact a builder or somebody with a higher level of expertise to confirm.
So although an inspector will do their best to “be the eyes and the ears of the buyer,” she says, “they’re not always right.”