The Home Inspection Process
Find out how the home inspection works and how it can provide valuable information for years to come.
Whether you are looking at Tampa homes for sale, South Tampa real estate, or the best neighborhoods in Wesley Chapel, you may think that the home search and contract negotiation are the most important parts of the process. After that, it’s home free to the closing table, right? Well, not quite. A home inspection can have just as much impact on the transaction, sparking a new round of negotiations and determining how you move forward.
We’ve answered our clients’ most frequently asked questions about the home inspection process so that you can go into it with your eyes open, ready to make the important decisions ahead. Here you’ll learn what happens before, during, and after the home inspection and what types of decisions you’ll need to make along the way.
1. When does the home inspection take place?
Generally, the home inspection occurs within a few days after your contract is ratified. As part of your contract, you’ll define the number of days you have to complete the inspection and how many days you have to respond to the results.
2. How do I find a qualified home inspector?
While you can conduct your own search for an inspector, your real estate agent is the best person to ask for a referral. Because he or she works with so many inspectors, your agent is able to recommend someone who is reliable, dependable, and proven.
Home inspectors in Florida complete a rigorous approval process. They are registered with the state’s Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) once they have completed 120 hours of state-approved training, passed a state-administered exam, and successfully applied to become a licensed Florida home inspector.
3. Who schedules the home inspection?
Your real estate agent will reach out to the home inspector as soon as the purchase contract terms have been agreed upon. Your agent will coordinate the scheduling with you, the sellers, and the listing agent so that anyone who wishes to can attend, the utilities are in service, and the home is available for the inspection.
4. Do I need to attend the home inspection?
While you are not required to attend the home inspection, many buyers prefer to do so. This gives you an opportunity to look around the home at your leisure and spend more time learning about its layout, systems, and features.
5. Can I talk with the home inspector during the inspection?
Absolutely! Inspectors are happy to talk with you and have you come along with them throughout the inspection. Doing so gives you the opportunity to ask questions and learn more about the proper maintenance and upkeep of your future home.
6. What if problems are identified during the home inspection?
If your home inspector identifies needed repairs or updates during the home inspection, they will be noted in your inspection report. Often, there will be information that helps you prioritize the repairs and decide which are the most important and urgent and which can wait a while. In addition, your mortgage type will determine if certain repairs are mandatory in order to ensure that the house is eligible for approval.
7. How should I negotiate post-inspection items?
You have a number of options when it comes to your post-inspection negotiation. In some cases -- for example, in the case of a home sold “As-Is” -- you may forgo repairs and approve the home inspection contingency right away. In other cases, you may ask to extend the inspection period in order to get more information about problems that were identified. Alternatively, you may wish to ask the sellers to go ahead and complete some or all of the repairs identified in the report.
8. How should I decide which repairs to ask for?
There are a number of ways to prioritize the repairs that are most important to you. They include:
- Asking for the most expensive repairs to be completed by the homeowners.
- Asking for the most time-sensitive repairs to be completed by the homeowners.
- Asking only for repairs that require professional expertise and DIYing the simpler items.
Aside from these options, you may choose simply to ask for the money to complete the repairs yourself after closing. Called a “credit in lieu of repairs,” these funds are applied to your closing costs from the sellers’ settlement.
9. Should I consider a credit in lieu of repairs?
In some cases, a credit in lieu is a better option than having the homeowners make repairs. This is especially true if you have a small window of time before closing or if you are already planning to make updates and upgrades in the home. For instance, it doesn’t make much sense to have the sellers put in a new kitchen faucet if you’re planning to renovate the whole kitchen.
10. How do I know that agreed-upon repairs are completed correctly?
If you wish, you can negotiate specific requirements for the repairs. For example, you can request that they are completed by a qualified contractor or a licensed service provider. In addition, you’ll have an opportunity to conduct a final walk through where you can walk through the home the day before or the day of the closing. This will give you a chance to ensure that the repairs have been properly completed.
11. How long should I keep my home inspection report?
It’s a great idea to hold onto your inspection report and use it as a guide during the first years of your homeownership. This way, you can prioritize needed repairs that were not completed before the closing or those that are coming due in the future. In addition, the inspector may have noted service requirements for systems and appliances that you need to use to schedule your ongoing maintenance.
Whether you are moving to Florida, wondering about the best neighborhoods in Wesley Chapel or Tampa, or simply wondering about the value of your current home, we have the answers you need and the expert market information required to make better real estate decisions. Contact us today to start your Tampa real estate home search or to find out more about listing your home with us