Just like you can’t judge a book by its cover, you can’t truly judge a home you’re considering purchasing by looking at photos, attending an open house, or doing a walk-through. So much about a house lies behind drywall, under concrete, or in other places that aren’t readily apparent. Under the surface of a dream home could be a host of nightmares that reduce the home’s value, necessitate costly repairs, or even threaten your health.

That is why having a professional home inspection is so critical for anyone buying a new or existing house. That is also why most buyers make their purchase contingent on the report a home inspector provides within a specified amount of time. The parties can agree on the items that could justify either a termination of the agreement or a concession by the buyer as to purchase price or a commitment to remedy the issue.

What Do Home Inspectors Look For?

A home inspection is a visual examination of the property by a trained and licensed individual who can identify health, safety, or significant mechanical issues. The inspector will do a thorough tour of the home, looking for deficiencies or problems with such things as:

  • HVAC system
  • Interior plumbing and electrical systems
  • Roof
  • Attic
  • Walls
  • Ceilings
  • Floors
  • Windows and doors
  • Foundation
  • Basement

When and How Does A Home Inspection Happen During A Purchase?

As noted, home inspections are usually a contingency in a home purchase, meaning that they happen after an offer has been accepted and contract signed but well-before closing. The buyer hires and pays for the inspector at the time of the inspection. The cost is typically around $300-$500 depending on the home’s size and condition. Sometimes, a seller may arrange for and pay for an inspection before listing their house so that they can identify and address problems before putting it on the market.

In a buyer’s inspection, the inspector coordinates with the seller and the seller’s agent to arrange a time for their visit. Inspections can take between two to four hours, again, depending on the home’s size, the number of defects, and the inspector’s thoroughness.

While not required, buyers and their agent may tag along during the inspection, as can the homeowners and their agent.

What Happens After The Inspection?

Shortly after their visit, the home inspector will prepare a report reflecting their findings which they will share with the buyer, seller, and their respective agents.

If the report reveals serious health or structural problems, such as termites, asbestos, mold, or lead, a more specialized inspection may be necessary.

Other problems cited in the report can range from minor to deal-breakers. For those that fall somewhere in between, the buyer can demand that the seller remedy some or all of the issues as a condition of consummating the purchase. Alternatively, they can ask for a reduction in the price to account for the cost of repairs they will need to make.

To learn more about the importance of home inspections or to discuss buying or selling a home in Chicago, please contact one of the experienced and accessible agents at Z Chicago today.