So you’ve put your home up for sale. Now you have a Buyer interested in purchasing it. They’ve put an offer and you’ve accepted. Now you’re in the option period where the homebuyer has their inspections. You’re wondering What to expect from a home inspection as a Seller?”
I’d like to offer you up a simple answer. But there isn’t one. Every home inspection is different just as every home inspector is different.
I’ve been a home inspector going on 19 years. I see and hear a lot. Some good, sometimes not. Currently, I own a home inspection company in Tulsa.
Home Inspections – What To Expect As A Seller
In Oklahoma as well as many other states where home inspectors are licensed, a home inspector has a Standards of Practice they must follow. This SOP is a minimum they must follow. Honestly, some inspectors don’t reach the minimum guidelines. Others, like myself, go far above these minimum standards to bring their Clients the best home inspection they can.
As a Seller, you should expect that anyone coming or going is respectful of your property.
You shouldn’t be able to tell anyone was at your home after the Inspections are completed. There are exceptions, but they are rare.
The home inspector should be inspecting many things in your home. Some of these are:
- Electrical System
- Plumbing System
- Attic Structure
- Heating & Air
- Fireplace (if present)
As I said above, every home inspector is different. Some will open doors and windows to check for operations. Some just give them a visual once-over and move on.
Others will test outlets and switches to make sure they’re working the way they should and that they’re wired correctly. Some just flip a few switches and go about their inspection.
I personally fill tubs and sinks then drain them. Every good home inspector will do that. Some just run water and see if it drains. But a drain may not leak until there’s a little pressure applied (like a sink full of water). Simply running the water and moving on really does not tell you anything other than the fixture works.
Some home inspectors will walk your roof when doing a roof inspection, some won’t. These days the buzzword is drones. Drone using home inspectors will tell you how much better their home inspections are than those who don’t use drones. What they don’t tell you is that their drones can’t tell you how many layers of shingles your home has, or if shingles and flashing is secured properly. At a minimum, the roof should be checked from the edges if at all possible.
Likely there’ll be somebody else doing the Wood Destroying Insect report (sometimes called a WDI, WDR or Termite Report).
Also, in some areas of the country (including right here in Oklahoma), Radon is a big problem so there will be Radon inspections. These consist of an inspector leaving canisters or a machine at your home for a few days then returning to collect them and send them to a lab for analysis.
How Long Will A Home Inspection Last?
I know you’re going to hate to hear this, but it’s true. How long a home inspection takes depends on several things. Mainly the home inspector!
Some home inspectors do what we call a “drive-by” home inspection.
Let’s say you have a 2000 square foot home built in the ’80s.
A ‘drive-by’ inspector may only be there an hour to hour and half and give the Buyer and their Real Estate Agent an onsite inspection report he or she filled out at your home. As a Seller, you just hit the lottery!
Many times this ‘ drive by’ inspections are performed by home inspectors that are referred by a Real Estate Agent. Since the home inspector wants the Agent to continue to refer business to them, they go ‘soft’ on your home. You as the Seller just got lucky!
Other home inspectors, myself included, may take several hours at the same home. Our reports will be thorough and there will be detailed photos of the discrepancies we find.
A report from an inspection like this may run 30 or more pages. It also takes quite a bit of time to compile such a report. I generally tell my Clients the report will be available within 48 hours.
On average, a home of 2000 square feet, built in the ’80s, in decent condition, will take around 2 hours or more to properly inspect.
Should a Home Seller be Present For the Home Inspection?
As a home Seller, you have all the right to be present at the Home Inspection if you want to. It’s still your home!
I personally do not mind a Seller at a home inspection. Many other home inspectors and real estate agents do, however.
As long as a home seller doesn’t cause a distraction, I’m fine with them being there.
As a home Seller, it may not be in your best interest to be there. Here’s why.
If I’m pointing out discrepancies with your home, guess what? You are now aware of these discrepancies and in most states, will be required to update your disclosure statement and include these findings.
Sometimes, ignorance is bliss!
Trust me, I’ve seen this happen thousands of times.
Take a few hours off and go shopping, or to the park or visit a friend during the home inspection. I know it can be hard to wait for the report or the addendum, but it really may be in your best interest. Both financially and mentally!!!
In my opinion, the Buyers should attend a home inspection at the minimum. Their Agent should also be there. After all, that’s their job! (sadly, I see many Buyers get brushed off by their Buying Agent)
I hear a lot of home Sellers state that they do not want a bunch of people in their home. Well, you voluntarily put your home up for sale. In essence, you’re agreeing to let as many people as the Buyer deems necessary into your home.
I’ve seen whole families come to an inspection. I’m talking Grandparents, Parents, Cousins, Uncles, etc. The WHOLE FAMILY!
Other times, the only one who shows up is me, myself and I!
But generally, as I stated above, the Buyers and their Agents should be there. I also like to see the Listing Agent there in case the Buyers have questions their agent cannot answer.
Other people who may be at the home inspection are the Termite Inspector and Appraiser. If the home has specialty components such as a Swimming Pool or Water Well, people inspecting those may be present as well. (if the home inspection company does not perform those inspections)
In some areas, there will be Radon Inspections and Mold Inspections. If the home inspection company does not perform these inspections, you can expect another individual for those inspections as well.
What Is a Home Seller Expected To Fix?
Are you ready for this one? Are you sitting down? Okay then. Here goes.
It depends! It depends on what the Buyers asked to be fixed. It depends on how bad you want to sell the house. It depends on how bad the Buyers want the house! It depends of how good (or how poor) the Buyers inspector is.
I’ve seen Buyers go back to the Sellers and ask them to fix everything on the inspection report.
I’ve also seen Buyers ask for nothing to be fixed because they just wanted in the home.
While that may sound frightening, let me tell you this. I do a lot of handyman work on the side. A lot of this work is fixing things on a home inspection report (not homes I inspect, but from Sellers who find me through traditional advertising).
I can tell you, that about 80% of the time, the inspection report is soft and there may only be 8 to 15 things on the report that according to the Inspector needs to be fixed. And most of the time, these are relatively minor. Even in older homes!
It doesn’t speak well of the quality of home inspector out there right now, but it’s a bonus for the Sellers!
In the rare instance that something major comes up, the Buyer may ask that it be fixed or corrected.
But then again, I’ve seen home inspectors who thought they knew more than they actually did try and tell Sellers they had to fix this or that. I’m not aware of any state that requires home Sellers to fix everything in an Inspection Report. If you are, contact me and let me know the state you’re in!
At the end of the day, you the Seller still own the house. Depending on where you live at, you don’t have to fix a darn thing! But then again, the Buyer doesn’t have to buy your home!
And honestly, some Buyers use the Inspection Report to get out of buying a home. Maybe they got cold feet. Maybe there really was a big issue that they couldn’t get over. Whatever the reason, just move on. Don’t cry over spilled milk. Yeah, I know, it takes a lot of trouble and it’s time-consuming to sell your house.
But now at least, you know what to expect from a home inspection as a Seller.