Real Estate: Home Inspections key for both buyer and seller
By JESS BARRON, Lindsey’s Inc. Realtors
Home inspections are an important part of a real estate transaction.
I have been disappointed to learn that many consumers do not realize that they have the option to have a home inspection on the property they are purchasing. In a typical transaction, the opportunity to conduct a home inspection occurs during your due diligence period. This is the point, in a contract, where the buyer has a negotiated length of time, usually 7-21 days, to conduct their due diligence on the property.
Home inspectors will typically charge a few hundred dollars for an inspection, depending on the size of the property and other factors like a crawlspace. Georgia is one of about 20 states that have not adopted licensing for home inspectors. It is important to consider a home inspector’s training and background when considering who to use. Your Realtor should have a pool of trusted home inspectors for you to consider.
A home inspector will thoroughly inspect the property you are purchasing. This includes structural, functional, and even cosmetic issues. I would recommend an engineer for structural issues however.
Typically, home inspectors will provide an in-depth report for you about the house that will include safety issues, major defects and minor items. The due diligence is the time of the contract where the buyer can ask the seller to resolve the issues on the home inspection report or provide a price reduction, closing costs, etc. in lieu of repairs. The repairs are negotiable.
The real estate market has not always provided buyers with a due diligence period and the opportunity for home inspections. In fact, “buyer representation” is still a rather new concept. Historically, the real estate market practiced more of a “buyer beware” mindset during a real estate transaction. As a broker/agent, you listed a property, received buyer calls/leads and worked with the buyer yourself. It was not uncommon for a listing agent to represent both the buyer and seller in what is called dual-agency. Georgia is one of a few states where dual-agency is still practiced. The market has shifted in the last few decades to where buyer representation and due diligence periods, in a contract, are a normal part of most transactions.
A home inspection often carries a negative connotation to sellers. They can see it as the buyer beating them down on price or picking their house apart. A home inspection can be a good thing for sellers if they complete one upfront. It is a wise move to have a home inspection conducted before you list a property so you can have any potential problems taken care of before you list the property and not in the middle of a transaction. I would strongly recommend this, especially in an older home. This will allow you, as a seller, to obtain top-dollar and a quicker closing.
Jess Barron is an Associate Broker with Lindseys, Inc. Realtors and former President of the Newnan-Coweta Board of Realtors.