Step 8:  Reading the Inspection Report

After receiving the inspection report, it is important to go through it thoroughly. Sometimes it is 30+ pages long and may contain many issues that need to be repaired. Remember it is your inspector’s job to find all the problems. We always recommend very thorough inspectors… Small cosmetic issues, such as recaulking a shower or repairing a broken microwave handle, are not as concerning as larger issues like a sewer issue in the basement or a structural problem. It is important to remember that the home inspection report is for the buyer’s information and not a to-do list for the seller, although we always attempt to get the seller to repair as much as possible.

** We recommend taking the inspection report and looking at is as a business plan for your new home. We suggest taking 3 different color highlighters and highlighting everything that needs to be addressed immediately in yellow, Things that need to be addressed in the next year or two in green, and things to keep an eye on over time in pink, for example.

Here are a few tips for reading the inspection report:

  • Electrical, plumbing, roof, foundation, or water intrusion are the most important issues to find as these can be expensive to repair.
  • If there are any big-ticket items that concern you, consider having additional specialist contractors, such as a structural engineer, electrician, or pest inspector. Often you can get a free bid for repairs, or even for additional work you might be considering.
  • List items that the seller should be responsible for, a second list of items that you’d like the seller to address but would be willing to close on the house without them being addressed, and a third list of items that you would be willing to fix yourself or that do not need to be fixed.
  • Email your agent the lists so they can review them and suggest changes, if necessary.
  • Asking the Seller to cover your closing costs in lieu of repairs is a common way to deal with concerns… although sometimes having a licensed, bonded and insured contractor fix the issues before closing is more attractive.
  • Health and safety issues, structural issues, and appliances/components that are not in good working order are the priority; cosmetic issues: paint touch-ups, gutter cleaning, etc. should not be included in your repair requests unless it is a situation where you have leverage.
  • Negotiation is completed before the end of the inspection period… but keep in mind that the inspection period can be extended if there are additional issues that arise, or if available contractors need more time to inspect the property.
  • Once an agreement is reached, both Buyer and Seller sign an agreement and the repairs are completed with time for the Buyer to inspect the repairs if necessary. If an agreement cannot be reached, the Buyer has the right to cancel the contract and get a full refund of your earnest money.
  • A home warranty can be purchased or requested from the Seller, but this should not be a deal breaker.