How Home Inspections Help Us Understand What We’re Buying

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There are a lot of steps involved in purchasing a home, and one of the most important is the inspection. We talked with a Nevada inspector and real estate agent about what to expect from this process.

“Every house can have issues, whether big or small, and it’s important to know what they are,” says Las Vegas real estate agent, Johnathon Farrow of Easy Street Realty.

Larry Perna, the owner of Bridge Home Inspections in Las Vegas, has 20 years of experience in the construction and real estate industries. His company offers inspections for three different groups — the buyer, the seller and the builder.

  • Sellers have a better chance of getting top dollar for their homes by identifying and addressing any issues ahead of time, and inspectors often see things that the homeowner doesn’t.
  • For buyers, inspectors are trained to find and identify any deficiencies in the home, repairs that have been done before and the potential for any future problems.
  • Some inspectors, like Bridge Housing, offer a service for new home construction as well. By identifying problems ahead of time, it’s easier for the builder to fix any defects or cover the cost for them.

Since sellers are not having a problem getting top dollar for their homes right now, we’ll focus on buyers for the rest of this article.

Related: Navigating A Seller’s Market

Do Your Due Diligence

Home buyers have a due diligence window of time between making the offer and closing the deal, which is their opportunity to thoroughly do their homework, including getting a home inspection.

Professional inspectors examine everything from the property’s structure, garage, roof and attic to the HVAC, electrical and plumbing systems, and everything in between. They document what they find through written and photographic reports and share that with the buyer.

Depending on the results of the inspection, the buyer has a few choices:

  • In some instances, the buyer can negotiate a home inspection contingency, a clause that makes the offer contingent on the results of the home inspection.
  • More likely in the current seller’s market, they’ll have to accept the deficiencies if they decide to move forward with the purchase.
  • Though buyers have less power in the current market, they always have the option to walk away if they don’t like what the inspector finds. In most cases, they’ll also get their earnest money back.

Related: Making An Offer They Can’t Refuse

Don’t Skip the Home Inspection

Unfortunately, the important home inspection step is often being skipped in the mad scramble housing market Nevada is currently experiencing.

“Sometimes buyers are willing to waive these contingencies to get offers accepted, but it’s not a good practice,” Farrow shares. “If it’s a small leak in the roof, that can be fixed for maybe hundreds of dollars, but if the whole roof needs to be replaced, you’re looking at thousands.”

Though the buyer may not be in a position to leverage the seller into fixing any problems the inspector identifies, Farrow says it’s still important to know what they are. And the inspector might find things that could make the buyer think twice.

“It would be silly to waive the inspection contingency because they (the buyers) don’t want to find out they’re buying a money pit,” Perna says.

In such an instance, buyers will need to decide whether or not they’re in a position to come up with the repair costs on top of the cost of purchasing a new home.

Be Part of the Process

Investopedia shares the importance of being present during the inspection: “The typical inspection lasts two to three hours, and buyers should be present for the inspection to get a firsthand explanation of the inspector's findings and, if necessary, ask questions. Also, any problems the inspector uncovers will make more sense if seen in person instead of relying solely on the snapshot photos in the report.”

Perna agrees with this, “By accompanying us on the inspection, they’re also able to familiarize themselves with the house and better understand operations and maintenance issues on systems in the house.” 

Farrow says that sometimes timing could be a challenge as home inspectors are being kept very busy in this hot market. “Deals are going really fast, which can put a lot of pressure on inspectors,” he says.

This is where the real estate agent comes in. It’s their job to contact the lender, the other agent and the inspector to make sure everything aligns properly.

“At times, we’ll talk to the inspector before we write up a contract with a short due diligence window to make sure they have time to get in there before we push a contingency deadline,” Farrow says.

Perna’s team of ten inspectors has been incredibly busy in this market, but he says he’s still able to get someone out to a property within a few days.

Get Help Making Home Possible

Though it is more of a challenge than it has been in the past, home is still possible in Nevada — with the right team on your side. When you’re ready, visit HomeIsPossibleNV.org, and start by finding your HIP-qualified real estate agent and lender. They can help you put together the rest of your homebuying team, including a professional home inspector.

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