I’ve started writing a series on the Oregon Home Buyer Advisory. We’ve covered the sections on Sewers & Septic Tank and Death, Crimes and External Conditions. Today we’ll go to the beginning of the Advisory and cover the Professional Home Inspection:
OBTAINING A PROFESSIONAL HOME INSPECTION IS THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT THING A BUYER CAN DO FOR THEIR PROTECTION. [Their emphasis]
A professional home inspection report will provide the buyer with detailed information about the home’s physical condition, its systems and fixtures and usually note any potential future problems. The buyer should carefully review an inspector’s proposal to determine the scope of the inspection. Some home inspectors may not inspect heating and cooling systems, the roof or other systems or components. A home inspection should be done by a home inspector or contractor licensed by the Oregon Construction Contractors Board (CCB). To inspect two or more components (i.e., roof, siding, structural), the home inspector must be certified and either be a licensed construction contractor or work for a licensed construction company. Also, a home inspector is not allowed to perform the repairs within a twelve-month period following the inspection. [continues]
I’ve likened the professional home inspection to a general practitioner doctor. Well educated in the field but not the specialist. A GP will refer you to a heart doctor if it is thought that you have a heart condition, a home inspector will refer you to an electrician if there are issues with the electrical system. Because home inspections are not one-stop-shopping it is important to schedule the inspection as early as possible in the inspection period. You don’t want to be trying to schedule an electrician and then begin negotiating repairs the day before the contingency ends.
The default inspection period is 10 business days in the Oregon Earnest Money Agreement. That can be changed but if the field is left blank it expires at midnight on the last day. Taking no action means the buyer has accepted the property in its current condition. The buyer can terminate the transaction, negotiate repairs or accept the property within the contingency period.
Realtors generally have working relationships with home inspectors but ultimately it is the buyer’s decision as to who does the inspection. I’d budget $300-$450 for a professional inspection. The actual price will depend on the type of home and its size and may fall outside of that range.