Remember that line in Clueless? “She’s a full-on Monet [...] It’s like a painting, see. From far away it’s okay, but up close it’s a big ol’ mess.”
Houses can be like that too, and a home inspection is your last chance as the buyer to find out what you’re really signing up for before you seal the deal.
Who Pays for the Home Inspection?
In almost all cases it’s the buyer’s responsibility to hire and pay for the home inspection. Typically you pay at the time of the inspection, but occasionally home inspectors will bill the client at closing.
Home inspections in Illinois cost around $350 per visit. And while that’s not an insignificant chunk of change, it’s money well spent to avoid costly and unforeseen issues down the road.
What Does the Home Inspector Look At?
According to the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI), as long as the systems and mechanicals are reasonably accessible the home inspector will review:
- Heating and cooling systems.
- Interior plumbing.
- Electrical systems.
- The roof.
- The attic and its insulation.
- Windows and doors.
- The foundation.
- The basement.
- Structural components.
You can review ASHI’s Standard of Practice for a more thorough understanding of what your inspector will and will not assess.
How Long Will the Inspection Take?
Most single-family home inspections take between 2-4 hours to complete depending on the size and condition of the house. As the buyer, you should plan to attend the home inspection to take notes and ask questions as issues arise.
Typically you can expect a report within 24-48 hours which will include the findings, photos, and recommendations.
What Should You Do When You Receive the Inspection Report?
First of all, breathe! No home is perfect and it’s not uncommon to receive a long list of “problems.” However, many of the issues are likely to be minor - like cracks in the driveway, but others may be large - like lead pipes.
Work with your REALTOR® to decide on the next steps. Some problems might be deal-breakers, but the repair of many issues can be negotiated into the contract to be corrected by the seller either as an immediate repair or as a monetary credit.
“We’ve helped countless clients renegotiate contracts after home inspections,” says Zimmerman Group agent Emily Moore. “After looking at a home inspection, we can help you decide if you should ask for repairs upfront, renegotiate the price, or walk away.”
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