Home Inspections – So Very Important to Buyers and Sellers

Home Inspections in San Diego

While you are in the process of buying your San Diego area home, one of the most important items you’ll have to understand and work with is the Home Inspection.  After all, your home is going to be an investment as well as your “castle”, and you’ll want to know as much about the home’s condition as possible before making the decision to move forward with the purchase.


Yes, I realize we don’t have snow here, so if you’re tired of the snow remember that San Diego homes are among the world’s finest…in the most beautiful place on the planet.

Why Do A Home Inspection?

A home inspection is primarily for YOUR PROTECTION.  All through the home buying process the buyer is given numerous opportunities to inspect the home, the grounds, the surrounding area, schools, parks, etc.  Most homes (no really ALL homes) have defects.  These defects range from the smallest scratches or torn screens up to damaged plumbing, rotting wood, electrical problems, and possibly even radon or mold problems.  Even new homes have defects.  It’s up to the inspector to find every single defect and bring that information to your attention.  So the home inspection acts as a buffer between what you know, the seller knows, the seller has told you, and what really is happening today with the home you are about to buy.

Home Inspections Aren’t Just for Buyers – Seller’s Benefit As Well

Although the buyer initiates the inspection, paying his inspector out of his own funds for the service and the report, the seller also benefits.  Here are some of the benefits of a home inspection for both the buyer and the seller:

  • Buyer – Detect major issues with the home BEFORE committing to purchase.
  • Buyer – Ask for repairs on items of most concern (both safety and financial).
  • Buyer – Talk with a professional (hopefully CREA) credentialed inspector in depth about the home and potential cost for repairs.
  • Buyer – Build a solid foundation with your Realtor about the issues most concerning to you, and allow the Realtor to offer advice as to generally accepted repairs the buyer might expect the seller to make.
  • Seller – Since most sellers are not electrical, plumbing, building or safety issues, the inspection will bring forward any potential areas in their home that affect the value and marketability.
  • Seller – In California the seller has the duty to disclose, disclose, disclose.  The inspection report eliminates some of the worry about later being blamed for not disclosing something the seller might never have known about if not for the inspection.
  • Seller – When or if the buyer asks for repairs or money in lieu of repairs, a third party report from the inspector acts as a tempering rod so that both buyer and seller can negotiate with the facts….not feelings.

Details of  a Home Inspection Report

Your Realtor will likely recommend and insist that you have a home inspection.  He or she will also provide some companies or individuals who perform home inspection services, and you can choose to work with one of these, or someone that you know and trust.  { I continue to recommend Glen Schwartz and Associates, Tim Rohrbeck of Royal Inspection Services , and Steve Roseberry of Safe Keeping Home Inspections. } The home inspection is one of the few items that is paid for directly by the buyer, and out of escrow.   This means that whatever the appraiser charges will be due and payable by the buyer on the day that the inspection is done.  This fee is not refundable for any reason, and if the buyer decides at some point not to move forward with the purchase, the buyer will have born the cost of the home inspection report.  Fees in San Diego run between $300 to $600 for most homes.

The home inspection itself usually takes 2-4 hours.  During the inspection the buyer and his real estate agent are usually present.  Good inspectors not only check and report, but they can educate the buyer on the location of valves, shutoffs, electrical panels, sprinkler heads, clean-outs, etc.  This information is invaluable to the new buyer.

During the home inspection the inspector can point out significant issues, and also point out issues that are common and probably not of great concern.  Since buyers have varied degrees of expertise in this area, this session with a good home inspector is often some of the most helpful in determining if the home is suitable for the buyer.  As I indicate above, select the best home inspector you can.  Choosing a friend or even a General Contractor who doesn’t regularly do home inspections can be a disaster.

After the home inspection is completed, a copy of the inspection will be reviewed by the buyer and the real estate agent.  If the buyer decides there are repairs that he or she thinks should be made by the seller, then a Request for Repairs will be made asking the seller to either make those repairs or pay a certain amount of money instead of making those repairs.  It is important that the buyer rely on the Realtor’s experience and advice when making requests, but ultimately the decision is up to the buyer.

What happens after the Home Inspection?

With the home inspection in hand, a meeting will take place between the buyer and his Realtor.  During this meeting the findings made by the home inspector will be noted, discussed, and then those items that the buyer wants the seller to repair or pay for will be documented in the Request For Repairs.  The Request for Repairs is a California real estate document that puts into writing what the buyer is asking the seller to do or pay for.  As you’ll see, choosing which items to include in a Request for Repair is part art and part science.  Similarly, the Request for Repair is an item that the seller and his Realtor should discuss and understand prior to receiving one from the buyer.



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