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Home Inspections

Making the most of your inspection

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Home inspections are often the most nerve-wracking part of real estate transaction for all parties (buyers, sellers, agents). If a deal is going to fall apart, most of them begin to unravel during the home inspection process. Sometimes buyers get "cold feet" after finding out about some small or large issues; sometimes the buyer and seller cannot come to terms when negotiating repairs or credits. Often, agents can work through these issues in a professional manner and keep the transaction moving forward to closing. I did want to take a moment to talk about home inspections—what they are, how to make the most of your inspection and how the inspection is used in a real estate transaction.

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A home inspection is an objective examination of the physical structure and systems of a home, from the top of the roof to the crawlspace and foundation. I cannot stress this enough: Get a home inspection every time. Part of making a "good decision" is being aware of as many facts as possible; having a professional inspector go through a property as well as check out the major components is easily worth the cost. Now, one must also understand that the job of a home inspector is to find issues, or point out things that are imperfect, and trust me, they always find things. I work with inspectors who inspect brand-new construction and they find things to report on every time. Both the buyer and the agent need to understand that while an inspector will point out dozens of issues in most homes, it is important to keep perspective. Take some time to educate yourself on what kind of items should be concerning and what kind of things can simply be added to a "weekend to-do list." For instance, an inspector pointing out a cracked outlet cover should not scare a buyer away from a home, whereas major mold issues may do so.

One of the best ways to learn about your new house and the major systems is to attend the home inspection. There's a lot of value in learning where your water shut-off is located and how you access the crawl space, or learning about your electrical box and breakers and what each light switch does. Everyone has different levels of knowledge about homes, so take the opportunity to ask the inspector whatever questions you have. Attending the inspection also makes reading and understanding the inspection report much easier, as the inspector will likely take some time to show you some of the items they will be "calling out" in the report.

Typically, in the state of Oregon, from the time buyer and seller agree to terms, the buyer has 10 days to inspect the property and negotiate any repairs or credits. The buyer can terminate the purchase agreement and retain their earnest money if they are within this window, so staying on top of your inspection period is imperative. Time is of the essence when it comes to getting your inspection scheduled and completed to allow time to negotiate any needed repairs/credits, so that everything is buttoned up before the inspection window expires. Hope this helps with your next home inspection!

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