Failed Home Inspection? Here’s What To Do
Home inspections aren’t like car smog tests, where the car will either pass or fail, and at which point the car owner will have to put in some work. If it was this way, all houses will fail because there’s always something that needs work in a house.
“The inspection report you receive afterward offers more of a portrait of what’s happening in the house rather than a grade,” says Steve Wadlington, president of WIN Home Inspection in Nashville. Wadlington is talking about the functional condition of the house’s major systems.
Hopefully, you were present at the time of the home inspection.
Why be present at this critical time?
Because you paid about $3oo or so for the inspection and you need to get the full value and get some insight from the professional. “The biggest upside to an inspection is having the onsite dialogue with the professional about what’s going on in the property’s major systems, including the heating, ventilation and air conditioning, water heater, electrical and roof,” Wadlington added. Also, an inspector will likely show you “where your water shutoff valve is, which doesn’t seem important until a pipe bursts and it’s the middle of the night.”
Having your real estate agent present can also help when it comes to discussing needed changes before or after closing that could affect the deal.
So now, what to do if you already failed the inspection?
- Go back to the negotiations table. Should the inspector find some existing problems – mold in the basement or a water heater that will need to be replaced – you have the option to go back to the negotiation table. The inspection mostly takes place during the first 10 days under contract, when any due diligence on the home can be conducted and discussed between the buyer and seller parties if negotiating for a plumbing fix or a reduced price for new windows is needed. If the deal falls apart during the agreed-upon time period, the buyer doesn’t lose any money.
- Use the failed inspection report as a guide for improvement.
If there were no serious safety threats or systems issues with the home, and you’re willing to move forward with the purchase or ownership of a home, keep your inspection report on hand because the information the inspector has provided will tell you what to fix on your potential new home. Keep in mind, however, that the home inspector won’t go into the walls and inside appliances so the report won’t be a detailed account of everything that needs to be changed. “A home inspection is not invasive – they’re not going to take parts of an HVAC apart to see something inside. It’s just not part of what their scope of work is,” Wadlington says.