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Buying a Home: The Truth About San Diego Home Inspections

A home inspection is a limited, non-invasive evaluation of a real estate property– usually connected to the purchase or sale of a home. Usually, the buyer brings an appraiser who conducts the inspection and issues a report. The appraiser studies the home for damage, mold, dry rot, zoning compliance, and other issues that could affect the price, safety, or structural integrity of the premises. These are integral to the home buying process. Here's what you need to know about home inspections when purchasing a home:

The appraisal/inspection provides an independent third-party analysis and assessment of the home in comparison to the current real estate market. The findings of the appraiser typically form the basis for the negotiating price. For instance, many contracts for the home for sale are contingent on the appraiser making certain findings.

Bias in the Report

The report is supposed to be an unbiased assessment of the property. However, since the home buyer is the one paying for the report, there is an unavoidable impetus to slant the report in favor of the buyer. Furthermore, a negative report could blow-up the entire sale process therefore, the appraiser wants to give a favorable report to close the home for sale. Finally, appraisers are business owners who depend on clients to refer them new business, it is therefore in their interest to help and satisfy their clients.

To combat the bias in these reports, California amended its law in 2007 and now makes it a crime to doctor or fix an appraisal or slant the findings to arrive at a predetermined value. However, even with these criminal penalties, the practical effect is that a slanted report is unlikely to produce a criminal conviction. Consider that the only people who could implicate the appraiser are the (1) buyer, (2) seller, and the (3) appraiser.

In that scenario, the home buyer hires the appraiser so they are unlikely to give testimony against one another. That leaves you, the seller, to make the case – which is also problematic because if you are unhappy with the result it can reflect negatively on you. So, there is also an economic incentive for you to prove the report was incorrect or fraudulent to escape obligations under the contract.

Hiring Your Own Agent

To combat these trends, it is advisable to bring your own expert to evaluate the San Diego home. In the contract, you could require that the final price be a rectified figure between your report and the buyer’s report. Bringing your own inspector and agent ensures that you aren’t dependent on the buyer’s report thus enabling you to effectively negotiate, armed with information and data.

Moreover, the criminal statute penalizes any party involved in the real estate transaction. So, not only is the inspector in trouble, but so is any party connected to the transaction that put the inspector up to it. Hiring your own appraiser and working with experienced real estate agents helps to shield you from any questions because the final number is a compromise between two competing reports.

Furthermore, your agent will help you back the real assessment. Steele San Diego Homes prides itself on providing our clients with useful information about the home buying and selling process. For instance, a classic single-family home may look fantastic from the outside. However, a thorough home inspection finds termites, dry rot, or mold. This dream home may actually be a money sink that will consume thousands of dollars before you can even move in. If your agent discovers the issues before you move in, you can account for that during the negotiation process, which could account for the repairs or remodeling of the home. 

What does the inspection cover?

While a home may look like your dream home from first glance, it's important to utilize a trustworthy inspector to check for internal damage. While much of San Diego real estate is still relatively new, there are some neighborhoods with properties that could use a new remodel. 

The inspector will check the interior and exterior of the home, including the backyard, separate garage, supporting facilities, and landscaping. Inside, the inspector will evaluate the plumbing, electricity, ventilation, structure, communications connections, appliances, and anything else that affects the usefulness or safety of the structure.

The inspection is thorough therefore it should take several hours to complete. Also, depending on the size of the home and the attendant amenities, your inspector may bring a specialist or two (for instance, to evaluate pools) to ensure that an accurate picture is portrayed in the report. Steele San Diego Homes uses a crack team of experienced agents to help their clients sell and close on San Diego homes. You want someone with experience and background in home inspections. Home inspections are methodical and repetitive, you want someone to diligently follow each step and to quickly identify unique issues that should be addressed.

The Home Buyer's Checklist

If you're looking for real estate agents in the San Diego area with a large network of real estate professionals, the agents at Steele San Diego Homes can help you. We've helped clients buy and sell homes all over the San Diego county area, and have worked with San Diego remodels as well as short sales. If you're ready to find your dream home in San Diego, we can help! Check out our home buyer's checklist if you want to learn more about the buying process. 

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Buying or selling a home is among the largest financial decisions a person makes in their lifetime. We are here to ensure that you are confident in your decision. Reach out, and let us show you how we can help!

John and Melissa Steele, San Diego Real Estate Agents
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John and Melissa Steele

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