Home Buyers Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Why should I have a home inspected?
A. Be the informed buyer. You exercise your due diligence when purchasing a home by using a licensed realtor, a credible mortgage lender, an appraiser to verify the value and a title company to make sure the history of the property is clear and that all of the paper work is in proper order. It is also a very good idea to have a professional determine what condition the house is in.
A good home inspector will look for things that you may not even know exist, especially in places you don’t really want to go, such as the crawl space or attic.
Q. Do home inspections include a termite inspection?
A. Wood destroying insect inspections are not required to be part of the Home Inspection by the State of Oregon. Some inspectors do offer these inspections however, and State law requires the written and signed contact agreement between the inspector and the client to specifically state whether such an inspection is included in the home inspection.
Q. Shouldn’t I have the home inspection before I make an offer so I will know how much to offer?
A. No. Make sure your offer has been accepted before you schedule and pay for an inspection. Without an accepted offer, the house could be sold to another party and you would incur the cost of the inspection without realizing any benefit.
Q. Is there a uniform service agreement or contract for a home inspection?
A. No. The elements of a home inspection contract may be similar to other companies, but individual provisions will vary. The State of Oregon requires that a signed agreement must be executed between the inspector and the client before completion of the inspection. Make sure you read and understand the inspection contract before you committ to the inspection.
Q. How much does a typical home inspection cost?
A. The age, location and square footage may affect the cost. Regional differences also affect fees. At the time of this writing, the average cost of an inspection for an average size home is $400 – $500, if the inspection is performed by an experienced inspector with an established track record. Fees may be slightly higher or lower depending on the availability and experience of the inspector.
Q. Do the sellers have to repair all items listed on the inspection report?
A. No. All issues are negotiable between the buyer and seller, except those required by law, such as the presence of smoke and carbon monoxide alarms.
Q. Will the inspection report include the cost of repairs?
A. No. Credible figures for repair costs should be obtained by a legally licensed contractor.
Q. Will the lender see the home inspection report?
A. The home inspector is legally prohibited from sharing the report with anyone not designated by the client. If the Earnest Money and Sale Agreement mentions a home inspection, the lender may request a copy. Your Realtor will likely want a copy and want to forward a copy to the sellers Realtor.
Q. Can we ask the home inspector to alter or omitt items in the report if we do not want them to become issues with the lender?
A. No. Such a practice constitutes defrauding a lender, which is a crime. Additionally, the home inspector could be held liable for neligence.
Q. Does the buyer need to be on site during the home inspection?
A. Attendance is not legally required. Individual inspectors have different policies. Most buyers do attend if they can. Different inspectors handle this many ways and you should consult your inspector for their preferences. The ultimate goal of most consumers is a thorough inspection and individual inspectors have preferred methods of working to insure quality control.
It is generally agreed that it is beneficial to have the client and the inspector go over the results and the end of the inspection.
Q. How long does and inspection take to complete?
A. Generally, 2-4 hours on site, depending on the property condition and the attention to detail being exercised by the inspector.
Q. How long does it take to get the report after the inspection?
A. The report may be issued on site or a few days after the inspection. Consult your inspector.
Q. What happens after the inspection?
A. After the home inspection, both the buyer and the seller have decisions to make.
The report belongs to the client of the inspector, so they have the first move. The potential buyer has the option of taking the house as is, or backing out of the offer and start looking again, or most commonly, reaching an agreement some place in between those two extremes.
After reviewing the report with their real estate broker, the buyers will decide what they want repaired and maybe prioritize that list, in case the seller does not agree. The broker will then do the negotiating for the client. An agreement will usually be reached, the repairs completed and the transaction closed and you can move in.
Q. Are all Oregon Certified inspectors equally capable and knowledgeable?
A. No. Certification requirements are minimal. References older than 2 years are generally more indicative of the body of work than recent references of work done in the last 6 months. Membership and involvement in professional associations, such as OREIA, can be good indications of a conscientious effort to maintain a high quality of work.
Q. How do I choose and inspector?
A. Like any purchase, you should try to get the most for your money spent. Do not look for the cheapest price, because there is a very good chance that you will receive the cheapest service for your money. A personal reference is almost always a good lead to a good inspector. Does the inspection service stand behind their inspections, in case any thing is missed, or if you have questions later?