As a buyer, I want to know if it’s typical for sellers to get a home inspection, and what this means for me. Do I still need to pay for an inspection before I make an offer on a house?
Tim Buell, a past president of the American Society of Home Inspectors, says that in a home inspection, “We look for things that are significantly deficient, unsafe, near the end of the service life, or not functioning properly.”
This is definitely information the buyer would want to know. I want to know what I’m paying for, right? I wouldn’t buy spoiled food at the supermarket or a pen that was leaking ink. Obviously, a house is a much bigger investment than an apple or a pen. If there are significant problems with a house, I can use this information to ask the seller to fix the problem or negotiate a lower price.
Why would the seller want to get a home inspection? Well, knowing the condition of the house would help to list the house at a fair price. If there were any surprises at the inspection, the seller would be able to address them before listing. Trying to fix any problem noted by the buyer would be much more stressful. A hurried repair could result in shoddy work, but a prolonged delay could discourage the buyer. These are some of the reasons for the seller to get a home inspection before listing.
If the seller has already gotten a home inspection before listing the house, why would I need another one?
In Florida, sellers are required to disclose any known information that may affect the value of a home. But what if they choose not to do so? Although I may have legal recourse if an issue arises, I’ll save myself a lot of emotional and financial stress by having the information ahead of a possible sale.
Second, if there are any problems that have been repaired, I want my own inspector to verify that the work has been done correctly. In any field, there are competent, responsible, ethical, and experienced business owners and hopefully the seller chose one of them to do their inspection. However, there are also some that may not be ideal. Like the “measure twice, cut once” advice from seasoned carpenters, it’s beneficial to have another expert’s advice when making such an important decision.
Finally, inspectors may have differing opinions about the same issue. One may see a certain aspect as minor, while another sees it as critical. Always accompany the inspector during the inspection and make sure the report includes photos.
Unfortunately, most people don’t get a lot of practice at buying homes. Therefore, it makes sense to be careful and make a wise decision; which means having as much information as you can. Even if the seller gets a home inspection before listing, I’m going to get one too. I’m going to get local inspector that is certified and trusted.