Best Tips for Sellers & Buyers

Buying a Home in Virginia? Don't Skip This Crucial Step: Home Inspections Explained

Buying a Home by Natasha Lingle

Don’t risk buying a lemon. Make Sure to Conduct a Home Inspection

So, you’ve made an offer with a Home Inspection contingency; it was accepted, and now your next task is to have the home inspected.

Is the home inspection necessary? I always recommend to my buyers to have one. The Home Inspection will not only allow you to make sure that the house you are buying has fewer defects as possible but will also give you an opportunity to renegotiate the price offered for the home, ask the sellers to cover repairs, or even, in some cases, walk away from the deal.

If you are relocating to Virginia from another state, it is important to note that the state of Virginia generally still goes by the old English common-law concept of “caveat emptor” (“let the buyer beware”). That basically means that while sellers can’t lie outright or actively conceal a problem and must honestly answer prospective buyers’ questions when asked, they aren’t obligated to point out the home’s flaws or defects to the buyers. It’s up to the buyers to do their due diligence and hire a certified Home Inspector to conduct a comprehensive Home Inspection. I have a short list of inspectors that I have worked with in the past and will give you my recommendations, but it is always helpful to do your own homework.

How to Choose a Home Inspector suggests that you consider the following 5 areas when choosing the right home inspector for you:

  1. Qualifications – find out what’s included in your inspection & if the age or location of your home may warrant specific certifications or specialties.
  2. Sample Reports – ask for a sample inspection report so you can review how thoroughly they will be inspecting your dream home. The more detailed the report, the better in most cases.
  3. References – do your homework – ask for phone numbers and names of past clients that you can call to ask about their experience.
  4. Memberships – Not all inspectors belong to a national or state association of home inspectors, and membership in one of these groups should not be the only way to evaluate your choice. Membership in one of these organizations often means that there is continued training and education provided.
  5. Errors & Omission Insurance – Find out what the liability of the inspector or inspection company is once the inspection is over. The inspector is only human after all, and it is possible that they might miss something they should have seen.

Important information for home buyers in Virginia: Check license status of your Home Inspector – Effective July 1st, 2017, all home inspectors in Virginia must be licensed.

It is always best to be present during a home inspection and tag along, that way the inspector can point out anything that should be addressed or fixed.

Be prepared to spend up to three (3) hours in the house. Don’t be surprised to see your inspector climbing on the roof, crawling around in the attic, and on the floors. Remember, you hire a home inspector and pay him a fee, and he works for you.

The job of the inspector is to protect your investment and find any issues with the home, including but not limited to: the roof, plumbing, electrical components, appliances, heating & air conditioning systems, ventilation, windows, the fireplace & chimney, the foundation and so much more!

Important to note that in Northern Virginia around 56% of the tested homes contained Radon levels higher than recommended by EPA standards. Read a full article about Radon gas, Radon testing and Radon sales contract contingency here: “Is Your Northern Virginia Home Radon Free?”

The Most Expensive Problems Discovered by Home Inspection Involve:



Heating/Cooling Systems



Electrical Wiring


The home inspection report will list detailed descriptions of the defects and have photos and will usually be delivered to you by email on the same day. Go through report carefully and decide what items on the report you would like the sellers to repair or replace, or if you would like to have a credit in elu of all or some repairs (all credits have to be issued with the lender’s approval).

Please remember, almost everything can be fixed. I’ll help you negotiate any issues to the get the best contract.

The home inspection report will be be sent to the sellers with the Home Inspection Removal Addendum that lists all needed repairs or a request for a credit.

Bottom Line

They say ‘ignorance is bliss,’ but not when investing your hard-earned money in a home of your own. Work with a professional you can trust to give you the most information possible about your new home, so that you can make the most educated decision about your purchase.


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Natasha Lingle is an energetic and personable real estate professional with a proven track record of success representing home buyers, sellers and investors throughout Northern Virginia. Natasha is known for her deep knowledge of the local market, tenacity, strong negotiating skills, honesty and integrity. Whether providing expert guidance to buyers or creating custom marketing plans for the sellers, Natasha delivers the highest level of customer service to all her clients.

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