|(FAQ's) Questions Sellers Commonly Ask About Home Inspections
- Who Pays For The Inspection?
Buyers pay for the inspection since it is done in their behalf.
- Should I Be Present For The Inspection?
It is not required. It is the seller's decision to be present or not. However, it is important that the seller understands how to interact with the inspector. The seller should allow the inspector to freely do his inspection without interruption. The seller should not "follow around" behind the inspector or engage in conversation. The seller can incur liability for any statements made about the property to the inspector, buyer, or buyer's agent (normally also present at the inspection.)
(For more information go to Question 5)
- How Long Will It Take For The Inspection and Do I Have Any Say On When The Inspection Takes Place?
The seller should be given an accurate estimate of how long the inspection will last which is typically anywhere from 2-5 hours. The sales contract allows inspections during a fairly narrow time frame. The seller is obligated to make all reasonable efforts to make the property available for inspection during regular business hours throughout the specified time.
- What is The Inspector Going To Be Looking At?
The Inspector will be looking everywhere in and around the home.
- All rooms and closets
- Under vanities and cabinets
- Attic area
- Crawl space, if applicable
- All around exterior
The Inspector will do a thorough inspection that will include, but is not limited to:
- All kitchen appliances
- All plumbing fixtures (kitchen and baths)
- Hot water heater
- Heating and air systems (HVAC)
- Attic and roof condition
- Structural Integrity of home
- Exterior Condition of Home (stucco, brick, siding, wood trim condition, slope of ground next to foundation of home, sidewalk/driveway and front porch cracks and condition)
- Basement and Foundation Wall (moisture, cracks, etc.)
- Electrical Wiring throughout home (electrical panel box, etc.)
- Garage Area (garage door, garage auto control(s), general condition of walls, floor, etc.)
* The buyer may also request an inspection of the pool, spa, irrigation system, alarm system, synthetic stucco inspection, radon test, etc. This often entails a second/separate inspection during the home inspection time period specified in the sales contract.
**Be sure there are no obstructions in the above areas that would prohibit access by the Inspector.
- How do I Interact the Buyer, Buyer's Agent, and Home Inspector during the Inspection Process?
During the home inspection, the seller should be careful not to make any unsubstantiated statements to the buyer, the buyer's agent or the home inspector. Statements made by the seller or the seller's family can result in liabilities to the seller.
When the inspection is taking place, it's common for the buyer to ask a lot of questions about the property. This is often the first time the buyer and seller have met and since the seller is literary the "resident expert", it is natural for such questions to be directed to him. Regardless, the seller should try to let his agent handle all questions and the seller should only comment when absolutely necessary.
Also, sellers often try to use this opportunity to continue to "pitch the product". This is risky and unnecessary. In effect, the best advice is "the less said, the better".
Also, sellers should never be argumentative with the inspector. This can raise eyebrows. The appropriate time to dispute the inspector's findings is afterwards, with the help and guidance of the seller's real estate agent.
- What Happens if the Inspector Finds Something Wrong?
Typically this is one of the seller's biggest concerns. Inspectors almost always find some items that are in need of repair or that require routine maintenance. Sometimes building code violations are found that the inspector will be compelled to point out. The home inspector is not a code enforcement official. He has no authority to require repairs, maintenance, or alterations to the property. This is not the job of the home inspector. The inspection is an information gathering process to help buyers understand what they are buying.
The information reported by the inspector may enter into the negotiation process, but negotiations will not include the inspector and he will have no say about what is agreed upon by the seller and buyer.
Unless the buyer has some objection the seller will typically see a copy of the inspection report. Remember that some of the items may be negotiable. Sales
contracts usually require that all systems be in working condition. Some buyers
may make requests that go beyond the normal obligations of the seller. They may ask for a new roof or certain structural repairs that the seller may not want to make. A qualified experienced agent can help the seller to assess the risks of just saying "no" to buyers who are making demands that are considered to be unreasonable. The seller may decide to decline the requests, but the buyer may also decide to back out of the deal as a result.
When a seller agrees to make repairs, he needs to hire licensed professionals who will guarantee their work, and give copies of the reports to the buyers. Arrange to have the repairs made as far ahead of time to avoid last-minute complications which could compromise the transaction.
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