What Does a Home Inspection Look For?-Missouri Home Inspections

house before house inspection

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When a seller gets a contract on their house, they have one more hurdle to clear - the home inspection. The way they respond to the inspection might determine whether the sale goes through, or sinks. If a seller won’t, or can’t, fix issues in the inspection report, they probably will have to take a lower offer - if they don’t lose the deal altogether. When a sale is contingent on the results of the home inspection, 17% of deals fall apart. 

How to Address Inspections 

Sellers have several options when preparing their home for sale:

  1. Pay for an inspection before listing the property, then fix any issues found in the inspection. These sellers usually get the best possible offer.
  2. Pay for an inspection before listing the property then put it on the market “as-is.”   
  3. Wait for a prospective buyer to order an inspection. 

In all of these scenarios, Missouri home inspectors look for any major problems with a house’s mechanical system, foundation, and roof. They’re also on the alert for violations of local and state codes related to safety.  

Real estate agents are up-to-date on the condition of homes being bought and sold and see inspection reports regularly. This makes agents a great resource for sellers who want to be proactive regarding inspections. 

Once an inspection is completed, real estate agents work with the buyer’s agent to negotiate an agreement about which repairs will be made and who will make them. For example, some buyers want repairs to be made by a professional, not the seller. If the seller is unable to make repairs, their agent might mediate negotiations with the buyer.   

Missouri Home Inspections Focus on Five Areas

In Missouri, real estate agents pay close attention to who buyers hire to inspect homes because the state does not regulate home inspections. Inspectors are not licensed and they don’t need any training to run home inspection businesses. They do need to follow fair trade and consumer protection guidelines. 

However, buyers getting loans need to have the home inspected. Government-backed loans, such as VA and FHA loans, have stringent guidelines for home purchases. Lenders of conventional loans also require a house to be structurally sound and free of hazards like asbestos and lead-based paint. The buyer’s lender might have a checklist of items to be inspected. In Missouri, home inspections focus on five areas:

     1. Foundation

Large cracks in the foundation might mean there are structural issues with a house. A home inspector will walk around the outside of the house looking for cracks and problems with the way the ground has settled around the foundation. Inside, they will look for wet basements and sloping floors. If there is a crawl space, they will go in and look for moisture, mold, and decaying wood supports. 

       2. Roof  

The inspector looks for leaks and damaged or loose shingles and estimates the age of the roof. Some inspectors get on the roof and others inspect it from a ladder. The roof inspection also includes assessing the condition of gutters, vents, flashing, and attic ventilation. 

To pass the inspection for a government-backed loan, the roof must be expected to last at least two more years. The FHA requires a new roof if it needs repairs and has three or more layers of shingles. 

      3. Plumbing

An inspection of the plumbing system includes pipes throughout the house plus bathrooms, the kitchen, and spigots. The inspector looks for leaks, corrosion, and cracks. If the seller has fixed plumbing problems themselves and the inspector knows it, that will be noted in the inspection report. 

If a sink, toilet, or bathtub has been leaking, there might be evidence on the walls, floor, or ceiling. The inspector will search for where the leaks are coming from and note it on the report. 

      4. Electrical systems  

Inspectors examine the electrical panel to see if there are exposed or frayed wires and if the system is up-to-code. For government-backed loans, switches and outlets must work throughout the house. In old houses, inspectors see whether knob and tube wiring is present or has been replaced.        

     5. Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. 

Every buyer wants to know whether the heating and air conditioning are in good shape because replacing a furnace costs big bucks. The inspection is simple if everything runs well. The inspector turns on the heat and A/C upon arrival and waits for them to run through their cycles. 

A home inspector also looks at windows, doors, the attic, insulation, the basement, and safety hazards like pest infestations, radon, and mold. Home inspections typically do not include cosmetic defects like landscaping, appliances, paint, and wallpaper. 

real estate agents looking at house after inspection

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Disclosing Your Home’s Defects in Missouri

The state of Missouri does require a seller to disclose the condition of the house. The disclosure covers the major issues included in a home inspection like defects in a house’s plumbing, the foundation, and the roof. Check with the city and county to see if they require any disclosures in addition to Missouri’s disclosure requirements. Sellers can save themselves some time by finding an experienced real estate agent who knows the local laws.

Preparing for a Home Inspection

When a prospective buyer has scheduled a home inspection, sellers should get busy with making the house look its best. The buyer will be present at the inspection. Help the inspector finish quickly by planning ahead: 

  • Tell the inspector where to find keys to locked spaces.
  • Have the pilot lights turned on for heaters and fireplaces even in the summer so the inspector can check them. 
  • Clear a path through items in the basement and attic. The inspector will need to be able to get to the furnace or water heater, check for leaks, and look for other issues. 
  • Outside, move anything blocking access to the crawl space, septic system, or drains. 

Most inspections take two to four hours. Buyers can expect to pay $280 to $400 depending on the location and property. Home inspectors usually turn around an inspection report within a few days. 

Anticipating what a home inspector will find before selling a house is one smart way to prepare a house for sale. The real estate agents at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Select Properties offer complimentary consultations on where to invest time and money before listing the home. Contact us online or by calling (314) 835-6000. 

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