The inspection period of buying a home can be tough to navigate for a lot of buyers, especially if you haven’t been through it before. With that in mind, we’ve come up with a list of what not to do during your inspection period. Read over these missteps, as well as what you ought to do instead, so that you can handle your inspections with a sense of confidence.
Waiting Too Long to Schedule Your Inspections
Typically, home inspection periods range anywhere from seven to 14 days. In that time, you’ll need to schedule a time for all your inspectors to come out to the house, perform their inspections, and generate their reports. You’ll also need time to go over the reports, write up your repair requests with your agent, and submit them to the seller. All told, that isn’t a lot of time, especially considering that most inspection companies don’t work weekends.
“The first rule of the inspection period is to not wait,” says Matt Hernandez with AceableAgent in Austin, Texas. “You’ll want to complete all of your inspections as soon as possible. There may be follow-up required and, if you’re near the end of your inspection period, it may not be possible to get an answer before the inspection period is up—meaning you’ll have to decide whether to agree to buy the home or back out without the complete picture of what’s going on.”
Give yourself the benefit of the doubt and start this process as early as possible.
Neglecting To Read The Reports
It may sound obvious, but once the inspections are completed, you’re going to need to actually read over the reports. They can seem long and daunting, but neglecting to do so could have serious consequences down the road, especially for your wallet.
“Make sure you read the report carefully because you must address any problems you want fixed during the inspection period,” says Maria Tabakova with Triplemint in New York, New York. Unfortunately, if you miss something and sign the contract anyway, the seller may no longer be responsible for rectifying the issue.”
With that in mind, be sure to do your due diligence. Once you have the reports in hand, take the time to sit down in a quiet place and read them over in full. You’ll also want to make note of repairs you think should be addressed. For extra reassurance, we recommend having a trusted friend or family member read over the report, as well, to look for any major problems you may have missed. In this case, two heads are definitely better than one.
Asking for a Laundry List of Repairs
The last major misstep comes when it’s time to negotiate repairs. In this case, buyers have a tendency to ask for a laundry list of repairs, rather than the major ones that they really want. While this method may seem like a good idea at the time, it has a tendency to backfire on the buyer.
“In a competitive market or hot neighborhood, a seller may prefer putting the house back on the market if a buyer is making too many demands,” warns Elizabeth Bain of Commonwealth Standard Realty Co. in Boston, Massachusetts. Alternatively, the seller could choose to do a handful of the smaller repairs on the list, leaving you to handle the big-ticket items.
The better course of action is to be choosy about what you ask the seller for. “Choose one or two major issues to ask the seller to address, either by making a repair or with a credit towards closing costs” advises Bain. That way, even if you haven’t covered every repair, you can at least rest easy knowing that the ones you care most about will be taken care of by the seller.