Home Inspections

The home inspection is an important piece of the purchase puzzle.  It isn't necessarily a 2nd bite at the "price" apple.   The inspection is for the buyer to know what the current condition of the home is.  There are many ways to interpret the inspection.  There are health and safety areas, deferred maintenance areas, and cosmetic areas. 

As the buyer, you have to decide what areas are most important to focus on - with help from your Realtor.  If you go through the inspection items and elect to have the seller correct everything, depending on whether you are in a buyer's or seller's market, the seller may choose to correct the least expensive items on the inspection list and opt out of correcting the rest.

Buyers I work with and I look at the list of most costly and important issues first and ask for those items to be corrected in a commercially reasonable manner prior to the closing date.  If the furnace hasn't been cleaned and inspected in the past 2 years, while this isn't an expensive item, if the furnace has failed or is failing, replacing it is an expensive item. 

As the Buyer's Agent my job is to go through the inspection with the buyer and identify what items are "too much" for them to buy the home, which items need correcting/repair/replacement, and what items are "no big deal" - what I call nickel and dime issues - i.e., a washer needs to be replaced in a faucet or an electrical outlet has a cracked cover. 

Everyone has their own threshold of what is "too much" and what is "no big deal" and we have to identify those issues and get the "too much" corrected or we have to find another home if we can't come to an agreement between the seller and buyer.

Being the "full disclosure gal" - I point out things I see when we are looking at homes before we ever decide to put in an offer on a home.  While I'm not an inspector - I will point out heavy moss on a roof, peeling paint, windows that have failed (double paned), and such as we are going through homes.  If I see deferred maintenance (gutters overflowing, bathtubs/sinks needing caulking, light moss on the roof), I will point it out to the buyer.  We live in the northwest where most of our storms come out of the south - we will walk around to the south side of the home to see what it looks like - it takes the brunt of the winter storms.  If it needs attention we can either call attention to it in the offer or bring it up on the inspection.

If hidden defects come up during the inspection - electrical panel issues, wood rot, severe water damage, etc. we again have to decide if it is too much for the buyer or if they want to ask for the issues to be corrected by the seller prior to closing.  The inspection is a piece of the purchase puzzle.


Debra Hamilton helps Seattle real estate clients find homes for sale in Seattle and surrounding communities.

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