In Arizona’s hot real estate market, home buyers need every advantage they can get. Arizona property inspections might seem like they give your offer an edge, but they also expose you to serious risk. Although inspections add time and cost upfront, they can uncover expensive defects and provide negotiating power to ensure you don’t overpay. For most buyers, a property inspection is one of the smartest investments you can make. Read on to understand what’s included, why it matters, and how to make the most out of the process.
What is Inspected?
In a standard home inspection, all major systems, structures, and components of the property are examined, including:
- Roof, attic, walls, floors, and foundation for structural issues
- Electrical system safety and function
- Plumbing leaks, water pressure, pipe materials
- Heating and air conditioning operation
- Kitchen and bathroom fixtures
- Doors, and windows for function and condition
- Insulation, ventilation levels
- Fireplace and chimneys
- Built-in appliances
- Pools, spas mechanical components
- Security system, if present
While an inspector won’t test built-in appliances thoroughly or evaluate cosmetics, their overall home condition assessment helps identify issues to address.
Top Reasons Inspections Are Critical
Here are some of the top reasons a property inspection should be a non-negotiable step in the home-buying process:
- Avoid overpaying
Inspection findings give you an objective view of the true condition, allowing you to make a fair offer based on required repairs and upgrades.
- Inform negotiations
Documented defects provide bargaining power if significant issues are found. You can re-negotiate the price or ask the seller to cover repairs.
- Establish legal protection
If major undisclosed problems are discovered later, the inspection report helps establish the issues were pre-existing. This protects against post-sale lawsuits.
- Budget for repairs
The report lets you anticipate repair costs to plan your finances accordingly. No surprises down the road.
- Assess safety & function
Identifying deficient or dangerous electrical, gas lines, appliances, etc. allows you to address fire and other hazards.
- Prioritize upgrades
Use the report to plan which upgrades to tackle first. Focus on critical systems.
- Learn about the home
The inspection educates you on the home’s systems and what to monitor/maintain.
The inspector serves as an objective third party, bringing an experienced eye to uncover issues and advise repairs.
Choosing the Right Inspector
Not all home inspectors are equal when it comes to experience and expertise. Here are tips for choosing the right one:
- Verify certification
Make sure the inspector carries an active license from a reputable national or state association. This ensures proper training and adherence to standards.
- Check experience
Choose an inspector with 5+ years of experience, who has inspected 100+ homes. Verify they’ve worked extensively in the area so they’re familiar with local homes.
- Look for specialization
If the home is especially old or has unique architecture or systems, consider a specialist inspector.
- Check online reviews
Verify the inspector has overwhelmingly positive online reviews from recent home buyers. Look for responsiveness, communication skills, and thorough reporting.
- Meet beforehand – Interview potential inspectors briefly to get a feel for their professionalism and style. Make sure you're comfortable with them.
- Ask about tools – Find out what high-tech tools like thermal imaging cameras they use to uncover hidden issues. Advanced equipment improves detection capabilities.
Don’t just default to the cheapest option. Spending a little more for experience, expertise, and technology pays off.
Preparing for the Inspection
You can maximize the value of the property inspection with a little prep work:
- Review the purchase agreement
Understand rights regarding the inspection period, remediation requests, and termination clauses.
- Research the property
Learn the age of major systems, prior repairs, permits pulled, and any renovations done. This helps the inspector identify non-compliant work or issues caused by amateur repairs.
- Attend the inspection
Following the inspector provides visibility into issues and allows you to ask questions. If attending in person is difficult, request a follow-up walkthrough of the findings.
- Take notes
Document the inspection findings, recommended repairs, questions, and clarifications needed. Organizing this info helps with next-step decisions.
- Prepare your own checklist
Make a list of concerns you want the inspector to focus on like insulation, drainage, appliance function, etc. based on the home's age and location.
- Arrange other inspections
If the general inspection reveals concerns needing specialized assessment, arrange appropriate follow-ups like sewer scope, mold testing, chimney inspection, etc.
Thorough preparation ensures you have a clear understanding of the home’s physical state to make informed next steps.
Using the Inspection Report
The true value of the property inspection report rests in how you utilize the information:
- Review in detail
Note any deficiencies, recommended repairs, or areas of concern. Ask your inspector to clarify anything you’re unsure about.
- Assess objective value
Factor in recommended repairs to determine a fair price. Don’t overpay for issues you’ll have to fix.
- Discuss the timeline for repairs
Understand which fixes are urgent vs. longer-term. Plan your budget accordingly.
- Get contractor estimates
For bigger repairs, get pricing estimates to inform negotiations and planning.
- Prioritize critical issues
Focus on repairs needed to ensure safety and liveability like electrical, plumbing, structural, and HVAC.
- Negotiate repairs or price
Use documented issues in the report as bargaining power to modify the purchase agreement favorably.
- Consider specialist follow-ups
If major concerns are found, consult appropriate specialists to investigate further.
While tempting to overcome inspection obstacles and finalize the deal, don't let emotion override objective data if the report indicates pervasive issues. Rushing through this step can cost you down the road.
In Arizona’s competitive market, property inspections add essential protection for buyers against overpaying and inheriting expensive problems. Though not flawless, an inspection establishes baseline property conditions to make smart decisions. Utilize the inspector’s unbiased expertise, understand your rights, focus on critical repairs, and negotiate objectively. Don’t let the desire to win a bidding war push you into waiving your right to an inspection. It’s a small upfront investment that can pay dividends for years in avoided headaches, surprises, and costs. Protect yourself with this essential step. Read more