For sellers, the home inspection can often feel like the ultimate judgment day for their property. Did you do everything you were supposed to over the years? Did major issues happen right under your nose?
As nerve-wracking as it might seem, understanding the home inspection report will help you to differentiate between small matters and larger issues that will cost you thousands of dollars in profit.
We asked the founder of one of the nation’s largest inspector associations, a certified professional home inspector, and a top-performing real estate agent what goes into a home inspection report for your house and what to make of it after the fact.
Every component of a home inspection report, explained
A home inspection report is no small task; a complete report can be anywhere from 15 pages for small homes to 70 pages for larger homes. Every page is chock-full of factors that can affect the outcome of your home sale.
Before closing, most buyers will get a home inspection to make sure there aren’t any issues with the property. While home inspectors follow the same general format to confirm every inch of the home is covered in the report, no two home inspection reports are the same.
“Home inspectors should not have a bunch of pre-printed material,” says Nick Gromicko, founder of InterNACHI, the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors. “They should include photos of the home and the defects found.”
A typical home inspection takes two to four hours, depending on the size of the home. Then, it takes a few more hours to write up the exhaustive report. According to Bill Hirsch, a highly-acclaimed certified home inspector and owner of Total Home Inspection in Fairfield County, Connecticut, the entire process takes at least one full day to complete.
“Most buyers will request 10-15 days to get an inspector out to the property. The inspection takes about a few hours and then 1-3 days to write the report up and get it to the buyer,” says Thomas Day, a top real estate agent in Pompano Beach, Florida.
All this work comes at a cost. Home inspections typically run about $250 to $500, which includes the visual inspection and the written report. Typically, the cost of a home inspection comes out of the buyer’s pocket. You can have your home pre-inspected before you put it on the market, but you’ll have to cover the cost yourself and disclose the results to potential buyers from the get-go.