Ask the Home Inspector

What’s the best way to educate a first-time home buyer about inspections?


Why do buyers need to get a home inspection?

As REALTORS® can attest, a home inspection is one of the most important steps in the homebuying process because it brings any issues present in the home to the buyer’s attention. Without a proper inspection, significant issues might be discovered after a home closing and your clients could find themselves in an unfortunate financial position.

If issues arise during an inspection, the buyer should consult with their broker regarding the issues. It’s important to note that a home inspection occurs after a buyer’s offer has already been accepted. Still, if the repairs are too expensive, a buyer can walk away from the purchase at this point in the process.

REALTORS® should note that that the reason buyers pay for the home inspection, rather than sellers, is for their own protection. Referring a quality home inspector to your buyers instills confidence and trust in a thorough job, from beginning to end.

How a REALTOR® can help to make a home inspection successful?

The first thing you need to do is make sure your homebuyer actually attends the home inspection. Because buyers receive a report after an inspection is complete, many don’t see a need to actually be there. However, their presence is key so they can understand the report and ask questions along the way. A good inspector urges buyers to not be afraid to ask for clarification on anything.

It’s important to note in the case of a foreclosed home, it is the selling and listing broker’s responsibility to make sure all of the utilities are turned on before the inspection. Without turning on the utilities, an inspector cannot check if any pipes are leaky or if there are any other issues with a home’s water flow.

What your clients should do after a home inspection is complete?

Inspectors will give the buyer a report when their inspection is complete. We recommend making two copies, one to use in negotiations with the seller and one to store with legal records. Instruct your client to read the report very carefully and call the inspector with any questions.

As you know, once the sale of the home is complete, backing out becomes incredibly complicated and will likely result in huge financial losses for the potential buyer.

A home inspector may recommend the buyer hire a specialist to address certain issues beyond our area of expertise. It is better to spend a little bit now before the issue grows into something far more expensive.

Barry Mortensen is one of WIN Home Inspection’s Strategic-Partners or S-P’s (WIN-speak for franchisee) with a location in Kent. Servicing the Burien, Federal Way, Kent, Puyallup and Renton areas, WIN Home Inspection Kent offers home inspections, pre-listing inspections, wood destroying insect inspections, water quality testing, mold screenings and sampling. He was honored recently at WIN’s annual conference, recognized as the company’s 2015 Top Revenue Single Vehicle Operator (SVO) with the highest total dollar volume. He also performed the most inspections in 2015 for a SVO. A member of the Seattle-King County Association of REALTORS®, Barry can be reached at 888-454-4056, or via his website at WIN Home Inspection Kent.

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