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How is COVID-19 affecting home inspections?

COVID-19 has changed many aspects of the home-buying process, including home inspections. These basement-to-rooftop investigations give buyers a deep dive into the condition of their home. For that reason, home inspections are still considered an essential business even with shelter-in-place orders in effect.

Once an offer on a property is accepted, many buyers base it on the outcome of the home inspection.

As a buyer, you may be concerned COVID-19 is placing limits on your access to the property before you make the final decision.

As a seller, you may be feeling reluctant to allow extra visitors to your home, especially if you’re still living there.

The following will fill you in on how home inspections are taking place amidst COVID-19 and what that means for you.

What home inspections during COVID-19 mean for sellers

Just about everyone you encounter in the home-selling journey, home inspectors included is doing their part to protect themselves and others in the home-buying process. It can be reassuring to know that home inspectors are doing their jobs a bit differently.

  • They’re maintaining social distance. During normal times, the buyer and their Realtor are present during a home inspection. That’s not the case during COVID-19. Just about all home inspectors are working solo and then giving their verbal findings via teleconferencing afterward. Like everyone, they’re also wearing gloves and masks, and wiping down surfaces with disinfectant wipes when they’re finished.
  • Because they want to be as thorough and detailed as possible, most are taking additional photos and video footage. That means the inspector may take extra time to collect what they need to provide a full report.
  • Find out in advance if the home inspector has any special requests to prepare the house. They may want you to disinfect all surfaces before they enter the home, for example. If you have any precautions of the home inspector, just ask.
  • Stay-at-home orders can make home inspections inconvenient for sellers. Sellers are usually not present, and if you’re also fitting in a work-from-home shift and your child’s distance learning, that can put you in a bind. You can absolutely request a time slot that works best with your schedule. During the inspection, plan on spending some away-from-home time with your family for awhile. Take a drive, go for a long walk around your favorite lake, grab some take-out from your favorite neighborhood eatery, or have a socially distant visit with a friend. The home inspector will let you know when it’s all done.

What home inspections during COVID-19 mean for buyers

As a buyer, it’s good to know that home inspections are still happening. Still, being asked to keep your distance during the visit is not ideal. But the idea is to keep everyone safe.

  • Home inspectors will collect many photographs and plenty of video throughout the visit. You’ll have plenty of visuals to provide context for your detailed report of the property. Don’t forget, the home inspector will walk through their findings during a video debriefing, and they’re happy to answer any follow-up questions you may have — even if they occur to you later. Some may need extra time to prepare the materials for a presentation, so be patient.
  • During normal times, the Realtor typically accompanies the home inspection. But with COVID-19 precautions, that may not be possible. However, the Realtor will attend the inspector’s debriefing.
  • Based on what they find in the property, you can still request a repair or a reduction in the selling price to move forward with the sale. Your Realtor can offer their professional guidance and negotiate on your behalf with the buyer.

Keep in mind that home closings are taking longer than normal. While scheduling a home inspection can be accomplished easily, lenders are swamped. While these historically low-interest rates are beneficial for you, homeowners are taking advantage of the potential savings by refinancing their loans.

Looking for a trusted professional to sell or buy a house? Reach out to Scott Haubrich at today by calling 612-298-5400.