In a hot real estate market, it is easy to rush into a buying decision without considering all of the variables that come with acquiring a home. Luckily, there are usually contingencies in place that protect both the buyer and seller from making a mistake. One of these contingencies is the home inspection, which allows the buyer to ensure that there are no major flaws or defects with the home before they are fully under contract. Many homebuyers waive this contingency to make their offer more attractive to a seller in a multiple offer situation, but this strategy does not come without its risks. The following article provides an in-depth look at home inspections and their value to both the buyer and seller.
What exactly is a home inspection?
In most typical real estate transactions, a home inspection is the next step that occurs after a bid is accepted. Buyers are responsible for hiring the inspector before the deal closes, and the process is in place to protect them.
The inspector’s job is to examine a home, determining whether there are problems with its exterior or interiors, from the foundation to the roof. The inspector provides a report to a buyer, who can then bring that information to a seller and use it back at the bargaining table.
How quickly do I have to schedule one?
“It depends on the contract and the state you’re in,” says Frank Lesh, executive director of the American Society of Home Inspectors. But typically, he adds, buyers have five to 10 days after a home goes under contract.
Lesh’s advice: Once a home is under contract, contact an inspector immediately.
“Inspectors are busy, especially in hot markets,” he says. “Some people tend to forget and wait until the last minute. You really only have a few days.”
How can I find a well-respected home inspector?
Regulations for home inspectors differ across the United States. In New Jersey, for instance, inspectors are licensed and regulated by the state’s Home Inspection Advisory Committee. To become certified, inspectors must, by law, complete 180 hours of study courses, including 40 hours of unpaid field work in the presence of a licensed inspector. Each inspector must pass a national exam, and complete continuing education every other year.
In Pennsylvania, by contrast, home inspectors are not regulated by the state, and instead are required to be a “member in good standing of a national home inspection association,” such as the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) or the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (interNACHI). Each association has its own requirements on certification and continuing education; for example, ASHI requires inspectors to pass the national exam and to complete 250 inspections to become certified. Continuing education is also required.
Click here to read the full article.