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Home inspection

Home inspection problems:

Home inspections have become a standard in the home selling process. Buyers arrange for a professional examination of the property as a condition of contract acceptance. 

The inspection can help the seller. It shifts some of the liability over to the inspector – the expert on house problems. If a problem (that the seller was unaware of) arises at a later date and the inspector missed during the inspection, you may have a legitimate defense. 

What to expect:

Inspections are typically scheduled within a few days to a week after contract acceptance. This examination takes from two to four hours. The buyers pay for the inspection.

Inspectors document existing problems, issues and anything that remotely looks like a potential problem. They are often accused of performing their function with an overabundance of diligence. They'll present a written list of the areas inspected and of “concerns” to the buyers, who are usually present to learn about the home and hear maintenance recommendations.

The buyers may choose to have a specialist for a more extensive evaluation of suspect areas, such as for the furnace, air conditioner, roof, foundation, etc.
Is it best to have everything repaired before the inspection? Not necessarily.
If you have a FEW minor problems that aren't outright obvious, but an inspection would catch them, consider holding off on their repair. There is always the window that shows early signs of a broken seal, the interior workings of a noisy toilet, indicative of the need for a replacement, etc.
Why not repair these? In the first place, repairing these "hidden" type of things in advance won't earn you many points. Second, if they are discovered (and they might not be), you can use them as something that you will agree to have repaired. And lastly, if your house is in "perfect" condition, the inspectors need to find something wrong or "some" issue to show the buyers that they are doing a professional job. Better they come up with something you were going to fix anyway, rather than to keep digging to come up with something to justify their fee.      

The inspection:

Inspectors arrive early and usually tackle the roof first - before the buyer arrives and decides to see for himself. Inspectors spend the vast majority of their time in the basement or wherever the electrical box and most key mechanicals are located. In addition, structural, water and pest problems are more readily observed there.

The roof and attic receive special attention because of exposure to the elements. The roof and basement tell an inspector if a house has been well maintained. Here is a comprehensive list of inspected areas with some preinspection recommendations.

Your real concern:

The real concern isn’t always the inspector, but the type of buyers you have. Are they easy going or hard to please? Are they reasonable or looking for perfection? Did they feel you squeezed an inflated price out of them during negotiations and now it’s payback time?

Another layer of concern occurs when an overzealous agent represents the buyers and wants to appear to be very protective for his or her clients. Some agents encourage their buyers to go after everything that the inspector found suspect. 

Today’s inspections mirror our lawsuit-minded society. Everybody, including the inspector, is afraid of being sued, flagging anything remotely resembling a defect. Many buyers feel that today’s home prices are so outrageous that they are suspicious about anything that isn’t in excellent condition.    
Don't let a few hundred dollars in repair requests be a deal breaker. Why jeopardize a good deal if you think the buyer is somewhat out of line. Suck it up. You don't want to start all over again just because the buyer is getting the upper hand on this important contingency.              
Based on the wording in the contract, the buyers may have the right to void the contract or to negotiate with the repairs of the identified deficiencies. Other contracts promote the ability of the buyers to renegotiate the final selling price. 

Your involvement:

Inspectors often arrive before the buyers get there.

You won’t make any points trying to make the inspector your new best friend. However, if you have something related to the inspection that deserves explanation for any reason, explain it to the inspector before the buyers arrive.

Without the buyers present, the inspector is more inclined to take into consideration your point of view. Then excuse yourself and stay out of the inspector’s way.

Be sure your home looks like you’re going to have a showing. This gives the initial impression that it’s well cared for. Besides, the buyers will be seeing every nook and cranny anyway. 
                                          NO EXCEPTIONS!  

There is the possibility of the deal falling apart due to the inspection. Therefore, make sure that the inspection is scheduled as soon as possible. 

FHA inspections: 

FHA inspections are required for buyers applying for a FHA loan. They are extremely mild compared to today's whole house inspection. These inspections typically take 10 to 20 minutes.

The common things FHA inspectors look for are an adequate number of working smoke detectors, making sure all in-house surface walls and ceilings are painted and free of peeling paint, checking for the existence of exposed electrical wires, code approved electrical boxes and that the dirt surrounding the house isn't touching the house (above the concrete base). When infractions are found, the inspector will return to make sure problems have been corrected.

Buyers applying for an FHA loan will usually also have a regular whole house inspection.

More on HOME INSPECTIONS

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