The Ultimate Guide to Home Inspection Before Buying


There was a time when people would buy a home with nothing more than an agreement and a handshake, but today, purchasing a home is a much more complex and involved process that often involves a home inspection before buying as part of the process. In this guide, you will uncover the process of getting a home inspection before buying and why it is important to do so.

What is a home inspection?

If a buyer is looking at a specific property and wants to verify the home's condition, they will often hire a professional to do a home inspection service. The inspector will provide a full report of the general integrity of the home, including its structural soundness. They will also flag any pest problems, like termite infestation, or damage, such as water damage from a flood.

Is a home inspection required?

There's no doubt about it: getting a home inspection is a good idea. If you skip this step, you're gambling with the chance of your home having major and costly issues in the future.

Why should I get a home inspection before buying?

The purpose of an inspection is to find out if there are any potential problems with the property before you buy it. If there are any significant issues, you may have the opportunity to negotiate a lower price for the property or back out of the agreement altogether.

Home inspection vs. appraisal: What’s the difference?

A home appraisal serves the purpose of determining a home’s value. It considers factors like the home’s condition but also the local real estate market and the value of homes nearby. On the other hand, a home inspection focuses primarily on the particular house and its general condition, not its value.

How much does a home inspection cost?

Home inspection costs depend on the location of your home, but typically the total fees fall between $200 and $600. However, the price could jump if the home requires specific inspections, such as sewer scopes.

The cost of an inspection might vary because of the property's condition, size, and features (i.e., Does it have a swimming pool?).

About the home inspection process 

Choosing a home inspector

Consider looking for a home inspector before you search for the perfect home. Start by asking family and friends in your area if they have any recommendations for quality home inspectors.

You should do your research and ask plenty of questions when looking for an inspector, including how long they have been in the industry, how many inspections they have done, and what their reports involve.

The home inspection contingency clause

A home inspection contingency clause requires a professional home inspection within a specific time frame, typically 10 days after mutual acceptance of an offer. This contingency protects the buyer, allowing them with the necessary time to gather information about the condition of the home and negotiate repairs, a lower sale price, or even walk away from the deal if they find major damages.

What happens on home inspection day?

As part of the home inspection process, the inspector will take notes and pictures as they observe the property’s major systems. If you are there, they will also point out any observations they make. The inspection should last several hours. It is also essential to know that the home inspector will provide you with an overall evaluation of the home's condition at the end of the inspection.

It is essential to know that while inspectors have a keen eye for detail, they can’t always detect the unseen. Thus, pests, mold, and other potentially hazardous substances could remain undetected. For example, a septic tank would not be covered. In order to solve such problems, specialists must be called.

Reading the home inspection report 

A good home inspection report includes notes, and photos. The report should let the potential buyer know if any repairs or replacements need to be made.

As a first step, you need to read the entire report from beginning to end to gain a complete understanding of the home's condition. You should then ask your home inspector any questions you may have about the details in the report. For instance, if the report mentions roof damage, you can ask the inspector to provide further information, like the specific location of the damage.

What if significant damage is found?

If the inspection report shows any damage to your home and you are purchasing a home through a mortgage lender, you may be required to repair the damage before they will commit to lending you money. Mortgage lenders will not lend money on a property with significant damage or safety concerns.

If this occurs, talk with your lender and agent to determine whether or not you should back out of the purchase agreement. If you have a home inspection contingency, it may be well worth it to cut your losses and begin searching for another property. Depending on the type of damage and its location, repairing may be costly, cutting into your overall funds.

Are you looking for Pullman real estate?

If you’re looking for a home to buy, enlist the trusted support of real estate expert Krista Gross. A seasoned real estate professional and the 2022 and 2021 REALTOR of the Year by the Whitman County Association of REALTORS, Krista is more than ready to guide you through every step of your home-buying journey. Contact Krista to begin today.



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(509) 339-9524
Krista Gross


Krista stands by her word and is her clients' best advocate—whether during the home purchasing transaction or lobbying at the legislative level for homeowners' rights. Krista is respected by her colleagues and well known and well liked throughout the community.

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