Napa Valley is home to some of the grandest and oldest homes in California. Once a hot, harsh gateway to the wilder regions of Northern California, the communities in Napa are now quaint, charming, and welcoming to newcomers. Vineyards sprawl out as far as the eye can see, and shopping districts offer fine dining and boutique shopping, and for those who favor the outdoors, rivers, lakes, and creeks abound for watercraft. You can even buy waterfront property with a dock for your boat.
There is so much beauty and joy in Napa Valley, it is no surprise that it is one of the regions with the highest home values in the state. Still, there is a lot to consider when buying a home here. One thing to fully understand is the home inspection. If you are looking into Napa Valley real estate, this article is here to help you understand why a home inspection is important.
What is a home inspection?
A home inspection is a process undertaken by a certified home inspector wherein a home and property are thoroughly investigated for structural, plumbing, electrical, and other issues. The purpose of a home inspection is to allow the buyer to walk into buying a home with their eyes wide open.
A home inspector will provide a report that lays out every area of damage, from a minor crack in a windowsill to a damaged roof or foundation. The buyer typically orders the home inspection. Sometimes, the seller can also order one before putting their house on the market. Whoever asks for the work pays for it.
Home inspection requirements
A home inspection is not required by any law, regulation, or bank. It is entirely up to the buyer or seller to order one before purchase, and it is for informational purposes only. The inspector does not register the report with any local or state board or regulatory body. You do not have to have a home inspection to buy or sell a house.
Usually, a buyer will want to order a home inspection to decide if the offer price is fair. After reading the report, the buyer may lower their offer or ask for conditions. Today, sellers often also hire an inspector, especially if they have been in the home for many years, so they are not surprised by the inspection the buyer will later order.
You should get a home inspection before buying a home
Have you been wondering, “Do I need a home inspection?” The answer is yes. You don’t technically or legally have to have one done, but it’s always a prudent idea. There have been far too many cases of people who have foregone the home inspection only to find out months after buying a home that the foundation is cracked, the roof is caving in, or the plumbing is outdated and corroded. You could find yourself spending thousands of dollars on repairs that could have been avoided had you just had the inspector come out first.
The difference between a home inspection and an appraisal
The other question I get frequently is what the difference is between a home inspection and an appraisal. Why would you need both? Well, the bank orders the appraisal so the lender can be sure they are not lending more money for the house than it is worth. An appraiser does not thoroughly investigate every inch of a property as an inspector does. Instead, the appraiser walks through the house to check its general condition and factors in the location, the neighborhood, and other similar homes to place a value on the property. The inspector only looks at the house to assess damages, not to place a value on the home. The appraisal is required while the inspection is not.
The cost of a home inspection
The common cost of a home inspection is around $400, and the buyer must pay this cost upfront to the inspector. The inspector then delivers the report to the buyer. In the case of an appraisal, it is ordered by the bank, and the report is delivered to the lender.
What happens during a home inspection
A home inspection takes, on average, three to four hours. The inspector will walk the grounds and look at the plumbing, the electrical, and the structure of the house. They will examine any crawl spaces in the home, check out the HVAC system, look for water damage, and note any issues they see. All problems, no matter how small, go in the report. Typically, home inspectors are contractors and have years of experience in every aspect of home construction, so they are well-trained to find any cause for alarm.
How to choose a home inspector
Your best bet for finding a reputable home inspector is first to go through your real estate agent, who will have one or two trusted inspectors on hand. Next, you can look at testimonials and reviews online to be sure the inspector you select has a solid reputation and years of experience. The last thing you want is an inspector who misses important issues. You can also look into a history of contracting or home construction, which will only go that much farther toward a solid reputation.
The home inspection contingency clause
It is common for there to be a contingency clause in the offer a buyer makes. In general, the clause could say something like, “The buyer must inspect the property within 14 days.” It could also list an inspection period, which is an agreed-upon period of time for negotiating any issue disclosed in the report.
How to prepare for a home inspection
Preparation for a home inspection is all on the side of the seller. The buyer simply waits for the report. The seller will have to make time and space for the inspector and clear any blocked crawl spaces and access to electrical and plumbing in the home.
The home inspection report
The home inspection report usually arrives within 48 hours of the inspection and includes the details of the report, marking which issues are minor and which are major. The summary page will highlight any concerns that need to be addressed as well as suggested repairs. The summary page will then refer you to the area of the report that has more detail on each issue.
What to do about big issues
If you find big issues in the report, it is now up to you to decide what to do about them. In most cases, the buyer will either ask the seller to make the necessary repairs or lower the offer to compensate for the cost of those repairs. It is unlikely the seller will refuse to do either, as they will ultimately have to deal with those repairs one way or another.
Work with Avi Strugo for your next real estate deal
In the end, you can also always work with your real estate agent
to decide how to handle a home inspection, read the report, and negotiate with your seller. That’s what they’re here for, after all. With more than two decades in real estate, sales, and marketing, Avi Strugo is well-versed in negotiating and making the best deal for his clients
. Contact Avi Strugo today
to discuss buying a home in Napa Valley and how to make your real estate experience smooth and effortless.