Navigating and Negotiating a Home Inspection Report

Want to introduce and thank Aaron G. for his Guest Post regarding the importance of Home Inspections.

A home inspection report is a crucial element to both buying and selling a home, so it’s important to understand how to navigate one and what to do with the results. Some homes require extensive repairs, while others may be nearly ‘turn key’ and ready to move into right away. It’s unreasonable to expect perfection up front as every as home has its issues.  In fact even a brand new home will have something.  Without experienced representation, lots of buyers may get spooked by home inspection reports and miss out on great opportunities.

As a buyer, you need to feel confident that you are making a wise investment by buying a home. Finding peace of mind that the large and small details are taken care of is where your Agent can assist. These are some of the key items to look for when reviewing a home inspection report; how to differentiate between serious and minor issues, and how to negotiate necessary repairs.

Red Flags

These are some of the more serious issues that you and your agent should be concerned about when reviewing a home inspection report. But just because multiple red flags exist, it doesn’t mean you should bail and look elsewhere. Take a deep breath and pay attention to the inspector’s advice about long-term solutions.

Mold and Mildew Issues

Mold and mildew aren’t just disgusting and unsightly; they are also indicators of serious moisture damage in a house. Poor roof drainage is often a common cause of mold and mildew in the attic space or even in the crawl space.

Electrical Wiring Issues

Many older houses have outdated electrical systems and electrical wiring setups that range from inefficient to downright dangerous. Electrical configurations can be complicated, so if you don’t understand what the report says, ask the inspector to explain it to you in detail.  In some cases a licensed electrician may be hired for a review of the home.

Plumbing Issues

When reading your home inspection report, find the section where the inspector describes the water pressure and drainage from the house’s pluming system. Plumbing problems can be difficult to detect because pipes are hidden behind walls and inside closets. Keep in mind that even the smallest leak could turn into a major household problem.

Roofing Issues

Check the report to determine if there are any shingles missing, gutters bent, or soft spots in the roof. Look for words like aging, cupping, blistering, lifting, and insect damage. If your prospective home has a fireplace, check the inspection report for details about the condition of the chimney, as chimneys are a major cause of home fires.

Manageable Issues

Although sellers don’t like to feel like they’re being nickeled and dimed, most won’t let a good deal get away from them over just a few small repairs or a couple hundred dollars. These issues may seem less alarming than the ones above; however, they shouldn’t be overlooked when you review your report. Remember, buying a house involves a little give and take.

  • Not enough outlets
  • Leaky sink
  • Carpeting stains
  • Outdated air conditioner
  • Inefficient lighting
  • Gas range burners

Negotiating with the Seller

It’s important to be cordial and cooperative with the seller and the home inspector throughout the entire process to ensure that necessary items are repaired and to work out the details of paying for the repairs. Engage in open, honest discussions together about which flaws are just minor signs of normal aging and which ones are red flags for serious future issues.

An experienced real estate agent can help you negotiate with the seller to address all the issues in your home inspection report and leave nothing up to chance. For other useful buyer tips, including choosing a realtor and putting in an offer, check out HomeCity’s “Ultimate First Time Home Buyer’s Guide” to get prepared, comfortable, and excited for your new home!

Aaron G. lives in Austin, loves his dog, and often writes about Georgetown homes for sale.

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