After months of searching, negotiating and paper work– you’re about to close on your new home! But wait… there’s still one more step to take before you can begin packing up boxes: a walk-through/home inspection. In order to be sure the house is in perfect condition and that it meets all your contracted requirements, it’s imperative that a final walk-through of your new place is done.
Why is a walk-through so important?
The final walk-through of your new potential home typically is done about 24 hours before you close on the home; making it nearly impossible for any surprises during the transaction. Once you perform a walk-through and sign the settlement, any existing damage or problems with the home become your responsibility. As a buyer, you can decide whether you want one or two walk-throughs depending on what you have written in your contract. If you have in writing that certain repairs must be made by the sellers by the time closing comes around, you’ll need at least two inspections and time to negotiate. A walk-through is important because it protects the buyer from unforeseen costs and unfair responsibilities. For example, a buyer would never know if there was a mold problem below the house without the eye of a professional inspector. While walk-throughs seem like yet another expense in the home-buying process, it will protect you from discovering even more costly (and dangerous) problems down the road.
How to pick the right home inspector.
Your home inspector should be a member of an inspection organization. These organizations license their inspectors and require them to follow procedures and uphold appropriate ethical standards when doing their job. You can also check the inspector’s history of satisfied or unsatisfied clients by checking the state agency.
You want to know the background of the inspector as well. What do they specialize in? Pick an inspector with a vast knowledge of a home’s inner workings and structure. If you get someone who only specializes in one area of the home, you could miss some serious issues. Keep in mind that certain specialists can be good for the specific areas of the home you want to be looked at. Get an idea of what their checklist entails.
Talk with the inspector beforehand and get a feel of how they behave and operate so you have confidence in their work. They may have been in the business for years, but how many inspections have they cleared?
See if the inspector will allow you to attend the inspection– if they say no, that is a big red flag. Being there for the inspection helps you to get to know the inner workings of your potential home. And if this is your first time, you can use the experience for your own walk-throughs in your future home-buying efforts.
Make sure the report they are creating includes photos and descriptions of any damage. You also want to know what kind of a report they are creating and how long it will take. Make sure it coincides with the lender’s requirements of an inspection. You should get the full report in at least 24 hours.
What to expect.
While doing the walk-through, you’ll need to bring your inspection report and the seller’s property condition disclosure or “contingencies”. These contingencies specify what is covered for both parties before the buyer signs, and can include subjects such as financing, inspections, insurance, etc. You’ll also want to request the receipts from the sellers for the repairs that were made. That way you have proof of the repairs and someone to contact if said repairs are not up to par. If there are issues that need to be addressed consider how much it will cost and if it is worth trying to make the seller deal with it–in other words, repairs that are not costly that you may want to handle yourself.
When all is said and done, and signed of course, you will be able to move into your new home. This process as you can imagine, can be daunting. But it’ll save you from unnecessary headaches in the future. Plus, when you finally get those new sets of keys in your hands, it’ll be oh so sweet. If you’re still house hunting, check out how you can go about preparing your first home purchase.