Who needs a home inspection when buying a new home?

The short answer is people buying a home they plan to live in should order a home inspection and make it a contract contingency. You will hear this advice from every real estate agent and they all know how to integrate wording into the agreement to protect the interest of a buyer.

Home inspections have only become routine over the last 20 years, and only a state-licensed trade in Kentucky since 2004. Today, only a person licensed by the Kentucky Public Protection Cabinet or the Kentucky Real Estate Authority can legally offer home inspection services for a fee in Kentucky.

The licensing requirement ensures people who enter the trade as home inspectors have the required in-person training, passed an examination and are committed to continuing their education, while also being subject to the rules of conduct for home inspectors. Before 2004, home inspections were less common and there was no consistency.

Like most new things, the initial response from some real estate agents was to view insoections as a potential “deal killer,” and someties an inspection does result in a transaction falling through.

The home inspection team is viewed as a vital part of the many steps involved in the purchase of a home.

What you can expect from a licensed Kentucky home inspector is a comprehensive written report covering every system in a structure unless otherwise noted. Many of the items on the report will be patent defects, things you might have caught on your own.

That said, it is the latent defects, things you may not be able to discover on your own, where the advantage of a home inspection comes in.

What do you do with the report once you have one? Here, it becomes a delicate dance involving the seller, the buyer, the buyer’s agent and the seller’s agent. Through collaboration and negotiation, a settlement must be reached between all parties as to what, if anything, will be addressed as a condition of closing. Because of the skill of real estate agents in Hardin County, an agreement is usually accomplished. In the rare case when the differences cannot be settled, the transaction may not close and the home search restarts.

In closing, the best advice when buying a home is to work with local real estate agents, local home inspectors, local lenders, local insurance agents and local closing services.

While it might not look like it on the surface, a typical residential transaction takes over a month to close, involves nearly 50 process steps and requires delicate collaboration between a team of professionals. The better all these people know each other, the more pleasant the experience will be.

T.W. Shortt is past president of Heart of Kentucky Association of Realtors and broker with Realty World Knox Realty Group LLC.