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Step 14 to Buying a Home: Reading the Home Inspection Report

Once the inspection report comes back, you need to review it thoroughly. Don’t be surprised if it’s 30 + pages long with more than 25 “issues” that need to be repaired. This is typical. I’ve never seen an inspection report that didn’t have at least 5 items that needed repair. However, there is a big difference between small mainly cosmetic repairs such as needing to recaulk a shower or repair a broken microwave handle and large issues such as sewer back up in the basement.  Remember, the home inspection is an informational report for you, the buyer, not a to do list for the seller. We should only be concerned about structural issues, safety defects, or appliances/mechanicals not working.

Here are tips for reading the inspection report:

1. Pay particular attention to issues relating to the electrical, plumbing, roof, foundation, or water intrusion issues as these can be big ticket items to repair.
2. If there are any big ticket items which are concerning to you, decide if you want to have additional inspections performed. For instance we can bring in a structural engineer, a sewer inspector, an electrician, a pest inspector, etc.  If you want to bring in additional inspectors, you’ll be responsible for paying their fees.
3. Make a list of items you feel the seller must repair or you’re not willing to go through with the transaction.
4. Make a second list of items you’d like the seller to fix, but would be willing to still close on the house without the seller fixing.
5. Make a third list of the items you’re OK with fixing yourself or feel don’t really need to be fixed.
6. Once you’ve done this, email us your list and we’ll review it and suggest changes if you’re leaving out an expensive repair, not asking for enough, asking for too much, etc.
7. Keep in mind that you can ask the sellers to repair items or provide a credit for you to fix the items after closing.  Credits go towards your closing costs. For instance, if we negotiate a $2,000 inspection credit that amount would come directly off your closing costs.  Therefore, you’d bring to closing $2,000 less than originally expected. That way you have that $2,000 to do needed repairs after the closing.

Remember that the things on the inspection report which are important are:

A. Safety issues
B. Structural issues
C. Working components such as appliances which are not working.
D. We should NOT be asking for paint to be touched up,  the gutters to be swept out, etc. Unless you are buying new construction, no home is going to be perfect.  If you want a perfect home, buy new construction. If you aren’t buying new construction, then we need to accept the house with its cosmetic flaws or find a new house.  Remember, we are concerned with safety issues and things not working.
E. Once we’ve agreed on a strategy, we’ll negotiate the inspection repairs with the seller’s agent. If there are only a few minor issues which need to be fixed, the negotiation will probably go quickly. However, if contractors or trade people need to be brought in to give estimates, expect the inspection negotiations may take 3 – 7 days. It is important to note, there is no timeframe for the sellers to respond to our attorney/inspection items. It is best to hang tight and be patient at this time.

By the end of our inspection period, we will submit a Buyer Reply to Inspections to the seller.  Once all terms have been negotiated, these terms will be set forth in a Change of Terms to the Agreement of Sale and will appended to the sales contract.  The repairs then need to be completed by the final walk through with receipts proving the work was done sent to us ahead of time. If we are not able to come to an agreement, you have the right to cancel the contract instead and get a refund of your earnest money.

Keep in mind, as part of the inspection negotiations we can also ask the sellers to provide a home warranty for the first year.

Questions?  Call me at 717.963.0016 or email me at

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Gina Casner

In 2016, I began my tenure in real estate as a licensed Executive Assistant for a leading real estate training coach and subsequently for high-producing real estate teams. I very quickly fell in love with real estate and by 2019, I transitioned into personally helping clients turn their dreams into keys. After dozens of transactions, I have been dubbed the “unicorn hunter,” finding out-of-the-box solutions for clients looking for a home with unique requirements. In addition to managing my real estate practice, I am involved in providing community education on responsible home ownership through my exclusive Path to Home Ownership workshop series. I also am the founder of Chronically Strong, an organization that promotes mental health awareness and suicide prevention in our local communities. I take a holistic and individualized approach to real estate. Buying or selling a home in Central PA can be complex, sophisticated and often a deeply personal endeavor. Your experience should mimic the high level of customer service all of my clients have, while being very specific to your own individual needs. I work with a team of experts to provide a full, complete experience that only a cohesive team can consistently provide. Working with us, you will be given personal attention in every aspect of your home buying and selling experience with the professionalism and consistency of a thoughtful business model. And yes, superior results will follow! On a personal note, I attribute my success not only to my passion for helping clients execute on their next “big move”, but also to my knowledge regarding the psychology of buying and selling. My clientele works in diverse industries with an emphasis on technology, finance, medicine, law, and business. My real estate practice has grown successfully and consistently thanks to the repeat business of happy clients and their introductions to friends, family and neighbors. This track record is only possible because we deliver both results AND an enjoyable experience. Growing up, my family moved frequently all across the continental U.S., but you will hear me say that I am from California because that is the longest place that I lived during my formative years. Moving became a way of life for my family and each place I lived became a part of my story. It taught me that our home truly is the foundation of everything in our lives, and it is this belief that compels me to work hard for my clients when they are buying or selling their home. In many ways, our home becomes a part of our identity, an identity and memory that should be honored. I have been accused of being tenacious and super honest. I like to win (for my clients) but do so with a calm demeanor and a smile. I live in a raised ranch home in Lower Paxton Township with my main squeeze, my teenage son, and our very spoiled dog, Ginger. I have mad faith, and truly believe that each and every one of us is capable of great things. I graduated from Penn State University with a Bachelors’ in Sociology. There is a running joke in my family that every day I go to real estate school because every day my clients teach me something new. I continually invest time, money and thought into the latest sales, marketing and negotiation techniques. Why? Because I believe that you deserve to have the best working for you. I want to live life on my own terms, and am committed to helping you do the same. Would you like to work together? Please reach out. I look forward to hearing from you! Gina

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