Tips for getting through a home inspection

Library | 9/16/2019
Couple sitting in new home


Congratulations, you’ve found your new home and you’re now under contract!

When your offer is accepted by the seller, that’s certainly cause for celebration. After you’ve broken out the champagne and celebrated with your friends and family, get prepared for the next phase of the process. The inspection period is quite possibly one of the most important pieces of the puzzle and one of the few things that can prevent a sale from going through. Nearly one-third of all terminated real estate contracts failed due to inspection results. So be prepared and understand the ins and outs of the inspection process.

Understand your inspection contingency

Before you do anything else to prepare for a home inspection, make sure you first establish a contingency in your contract. A contingency period gives you a specific window to inspect the home and withdraw from the contract without forfeiting your earnest money deposit. Normally this period falls a couple of weeks from when you sign your contract, giving you plenty of time to find a knowledgeable inspector and make sure the home is up to your expectations. Talk to your real estate agent about contingency options and make sure a reasonable window is outlined in your contract.

Hire an expert inspector

It’s important to make sure your inspector is experienced, knowledgeable, and thorough. You don’t want to be surprised by issues popping up after you have moved. Take the time to research qualified home inspectors to make sure your potential home is thoroughly vetted before it’s too late.

  • Insurance — A prepared inspector should carry an insurance policy that protects the homeowner if the inspector gets injured in the home.

  • Professional Certifications — Finding the right inspector also means making sure they are up to date on professional certifications, including NACHI and ASHI.

  • Walkthrough — A good inspector will walk with you throughout the home during the inspection, pointing out any problem areas. This will ensure the homeowner has a better understanding of anything that might appear on the inspection report.

  • Inspection Checklist — There’s a standardized home inspection checklist that inspectors should follow. Familiarize yourself with that checklist before you arrange an inspection. Ask potential inspectors about how they plan to assess the electrical system, plumbing, foundation, roof, AC/HVAC and other big-ticket items. Good inspectors will test the water pressure, HVAC efficiency, and can even perform infrared testing for water leaks.


Know what inspectors look for

Inspectors document their findings in comprehensive and precise home inspection reports. These lengthy reports should document all findings, including photographic documentation. Make sure to address items on the list that pose the biggest risk to health or safety. Here are some of the most significant items an inspector will look for in the home.  

  • Roof damage

  • Electrical issues

  • Threats to the structural integrity

  • Corroded or leaking pipes

  • HVAC age and performance​
Questions about home inspections? Talk to one of our Residential Lending experts today for advice and guidance.


Check warranties and recalls

You don’t want to move into your new home only to find out that your fridge or other appliance has been recalled. A thorough inspector can check for recalls and advise you about your options. Generally, a recall is not a cause for concern as long as it is addressed before closing. Ask your inspector about checking for recalls at the time of your inspection.

The truth about wind mitigation

A wind mitigation report is an additional service that checks the structure for wind resistance. Anything that reduces your insurance liability will reduce your homeowner’s insurance costs, and so many buyers choose to pay for the wind mitigation inspection. But before you shell out the extra fees, check to see if this is a valuable service for your home. Structures build after 2002 may not benefit from these inspections. Improved building codes mean these homes are already assumed to pass the mitigation criteria. Talk to your insurance agent before scheduling a wind mitigation inspection to see if this will be a good investment.  

Understand your options

When an inspection reveals items that need attention, its important to have a strategy for addressing those items. Withdrawing an offer will hopefully be the last resort. Consult with your inspector and realtor for next steps. You may consider requesting the sellers make repairs or adjustments, contribute funds to the repairs, or alter the purchase price of the house to reflect the findings. Whatever you choose to do, make sure you are comfortable with your purchase. If a major issue is identified, your first step may be to request an extension of the contingency period to make sure everything is worked out before you are locked into the contract.

The homebuying process is a busy time, and many buyers are waiting impatiently for closing day to arrive. But make sure you take the time during the inspection process to ensure that your new house is exactly what you are hoping it will be. A thorough inspection can make the difference between a happy homeowner or a costly surprise. To learn more about how Valley supports home buying and selling, visit or call us at 1-800-522-4100.

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