You put in an offer on a new home, but it didn’t pass inspection. What next?
Here’s what happens after a home inspection uncovers major issues.
You’re about to drop a big chunk of change on a new home, so you decide to get an inspection first (good call, by the way). And that’s when it happens. The inspection report comes back with a laundry list of expensive-looking issues that you don’t think you have the money to fix.
So what are your options?
In this article, we’ll talk about what you can do after a home inspection uncovers major problems.
Inspections Aren’t Pass/Fail
You may have heard (or even said) that a home “didn’t pass inspection,” but that isn’t exactly how home inspections work.
A home inspection report doesn’t come back with a big, fat “F” in red ink. Rather, the inspection report is a snapshot of a home’s current condition.
And even after filling out their checklist, a home inspector can’t advise you on whether or not to buy a particular house because they don’t know what your goals are.
Ultimately, it is up to you, the buyer, to decide whether or not you are comfortable purchasing the home in its current state. The inspection report is simply a source of information you can use to make that decision. That’s why it’s so important to focus on the quality of the home inspection you’re getting.
Finding the Right Home Inspector
Some people approach the search for a home inspector the same way they would look for new headphones on Amazon. They know what they’re looking for (i.e. a home inspector), so they simply look for the one with the best value and the highest Google ratings.
Instead, finding an excellent home inspector should more closely resemble the search for an excellent surgeon.
You’d never choose a medical professional based solely on price or reviews. You’d do some research on their education, background, and certifications. You’d want to know how long they’ve been practicing medicine and whether or not they have pending legal cases against them.
You’d do all of this because you know that your health is too important to entrust to “whoever’s cheapest.” And your home inspection is no different.
The decision to buy a home should never be taken lightly. Once that deed is in your name, you’re responsible for the home and any issues that it might have. It’s one thing to take on a property expecting to pay for a new roof in the next five years. But it’s a completely different thing to be blindsided by those repairs.
That’s why finding an accurate home inspector is more important than finding a cheap one.
Before you hire a home inspector, look at their qualifications. What is their background? Have they lent their expertise to courtrooms and news agencies? What are their certifications? Are they also licensed contractors or an engineering firm? How long has the company been in business? Do they offer a warranty?
Your home inspection is only as good as the person performing it. Make sure that you find someone with the background and qualifications required to do the most accurate home inspection possible.
What Happens After a Home Inspection Uncovers Problems
So what happens after a home inspection uncovers major problems?
As long as the property still legally belongs to the seller, you do have some options. Here are your three options for going forward after a home inspection.
You shouldn’t have to pay full price for a building that doesn’t meet your expectations. Luckily, there’s a common solution: renegotiate the selling price. For example, if the inspection showed that the roof is nearly 20 years old, you can ask for $15,000 off the price so you can afford to replace it.
However, it’s important to get accurate estimates for the entire scope of work. If $30,000 is taken off the price but you end up needing $50,000 to get the job done, you’ll end up responsible for the remaining $20,000.
You might hear some experts in the industry supporting another version of this. Instead of lowering your offer, you can ask the sellers to make the necessary repairs before closing. However, we at BIS advise against this.
Any work done on your home (or future home) should be completed by someone you have vetted yourself. What’s to stop the sellers from going with the cheapest (i.e. worst quality) bid or doing the job themselves?
#2. Walk Away
If your real estate contract stated that your offer was contingent on the inspection report (this is standard), you can always choose to walk away from the sale.
If the issues are too extensive and/or pricey, you might decide that it simply isn’t worth negotiating who will pay for what. Use that time to focus on finding a place that fits your budget and your needs.
#3: Buy It As-Is
Lastly, you always have the option to buy the property as-is.
Remember, once the home is in your name, you will be financially responsible for any issues that may arise, so it’s vital that you understand exactly what you are walking into. This is where an accurate home inspection is worth every penny.
The Inspection Is Your Most Important Real Estate Tool!
There are no Lemon Laws that apply to real estate. Once you close on a home, you will not be allowed to return it if it doesn’t meet your expectations. Even if you decide to resell it, you will have to divulge what you know about the property’s condition to any potential buyers.
The safest course of action is to get a thorough, accurate home inspection upfront from a qualified professional with credentials and experience you can trust. Remember, your inspection is only as good as the inspector who does it.
At BIS, we have performed tens of thousands of inspections over the past 40+ years and our expertise has been heard in the courtroom as well as the news room. Our qualifications speak for themselves.
Although we are licensed in construction and engineering, inspections are our only business. You can rest assured that our inspection reports are not only thorough and accurate, they are completely unbiased.
Contact us today to schedule your inspection.