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A Simple Step-by-Step Guide To The Home Inspection Process

After you put in an offer on a home and it's accepted, you'll need to have a home inspection.

Here’s a step-by-step outline of what you need to do (but don’t worry—I’ll be there guiding the entire process!):

The Buyer’s (That’s You!) Responsibilities

  • Prior to the inspection, you should interview three inspectors and choose the one that you feel most comfortable working with. Of course, I will provide you with suggestions, but at the end of the day, use who makes the most sense for you!
  • For your initial home inspection, think of your home inspector as being like a general practitioner. He can see when something isn’t right, but he will suggest that a specialist take a closer look. The home inspector will also provide you with a detailed report, describing what potential concerns there might be with the overall home. 
  • Most homes will also have a sewer inspection. A camera will be sent down the sewer line to make sure that  it connects to the city properly, and that there are no defects in the line. Defects might include standing water, cracks, roots, or full collapse. 
  • Other inspections must be called for by the general inspection. It might be necessary to call in structural engineers, electricians, plumbers, etc. This is also our opportunity to get bids (what is it going to cost to fix it?) and determine the cost of any issues found in these additional inspections. 

After this process, you have a few options for how to respond:

Your Potential Responses:

  • You can take it as is! If you love it and there’s nothing you need changed, then you can accept. 
  • You can get out! If the house is a piece of you-know-what, then you can still say “No thanks!”
  • You can ask for more time. You might want to get additional bids, or a more detailed inspection to understand the issue and decide what to do from there.
  • You can ask the seller for repairs, or money back. If something comes up that you feel you need compensation for but you still love the house, then you can ask. Compensation might come in the form of price reduction, money back towards closing costs, etc.

The Seller’s Potential Responses:

  • The seller can agree to your work order or offer money back towards closing.
  • The seller may not accept your request, but might offer suggestions for other solutions. (It is up to you whether or not to accept.) 
  • The seller may simply say no. In that case, we have the opportunity to accept nothing, or leave the deal.

If the seller decides to make repairs, they’re only legally obligated to make repairs in what’s called a “commercial-like manner.” This means that they do not have to hire a contractor to do it, as long as the work is done in a “commercial-like manner.” We can request that they use a contractor by adding in certain language to the response, and most of the time, they will. 

This is why having the inspector back out for our final walk through is important, especially if repairs are agreed to!

Have a question? Want to chat? Contact me here!

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Matt Miner

Real estate guru and Seattle know-it-all


In everything that I do as your REALTOR®, I have one guiding principle in mind: To make certain that your home-buying or selling experience is a happy, successful, wonderful life experience! We build trust and security with our clients using knowledge and transparency.