A home inspection is one thing that you can’t and shouldn’t skip.
“When does the home inspection usually take place? Is it before or after the purchase agreement is signed? Can I back out if the home inspector discovers a serious problem?” Those are just among the few questions any new homebuyer has. That’s clearly normal because purchasing a home is not a cheap investment and there are many things to consider before doing so. But one thing’s for sure, a home inspection is something that you should never skip.
Typically, the home inspection takes place shortly after the seller accepts the buyer’s offer. In a standard real estate transaction, you should get a home inspection as soon as the purchase agreement has been signed by both parties and the house is now in escrow. Even if the seller has already accepted the offer, the buyer can still reasonably back out from the deal, especially if the home inspector unfolds a serious problem that is either costly to fix, or worse, beyond repair. Most buyers include a home inspection contingency. It allows them to back out from the deal without losing their earnest money deposit.
Outlined below shows when the home inspection takes place relative to the home buying process:
- When the home buyer finds a property, he/she then makes an offer to the seller.
- The seller then accepts the buyer’s offer depending on how the back-and-forth negotiations regarding the price, closing date, and seller concessions would go.
- If the home buyer is using a home loan to purchase the property, the buyer should provide a copy of the signed purchase agreement to their mortgage lender and then hire a home inspector.
- If the buyer is paying in cash, he/she will then hire a home inspector to thoroughly conduct the property. A home inspection should cover all major components of the house including the roof, attic, foundation, electrical systems, plumbing systems, HVAC, and major appliances in the home.
- Typically, a home inspector spends about 2 to 5 hours to thoroughly inspect the home and review any issues to the buyer. The home inspector then provides a detailed inspection report complete with photos.
- The buyer, along with his/her agent, then decides which items to repair and which items to leave as is.
- Both the seller and buyer can negotiate regarding the repairs. The seller can either agree to fix them all or not. The seller is under no obligation to repair any discrepancies.
- After a back-and-forth negotiation with the seller following the home inspection, the buyer usually has the opportunity to back out from the deal if both parties are unwilling to accept the issues noted.
So, that wraps up the home inspection process. You should get a home inspection when the house is in escrow – the period after the purchase agreement has been signed and before the closing date.
For home buyers, it is always a wise decision to have a home inspection sooner to give you time to move on to the next suitable property if the inspector uncovers issues you are not comfortable with. For the sellers, a home inspection prior to listing on the market is the best option to give you more time to fix any issues and be confident with your property.
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