When you're submitting an offer on a home that is conditional on a home inspection, you'll eagerly await the inspector's findings. Typically, a licensed home inspector will take several hours to carefully look through a home, and then several more hours drafting up a thorough report that indicates his or her findings. This document, which may be dozens of pages long, will identify potential issues throughout the home, along with a recommendation for dealing with them. You'll often find these problems grouped into several categories. Here are some tips for understanding and reacting to these notations.
In an ideal world, you won't come across any house issues labeled "immediate" — but many home inspectors' reports will highlight at least a few problems with this term. As the word suggests, this is a problem that must be rectified promptly. It's a good idea to confer with the home inspector about the severity of the issue, as well as to consult your real estate agent. In some cases, you may wish to request that the current homeowner address this issue; this will save you having to do it upon buying the house and moving in. After the homeowner has completed the task, the inspector can return to check if the work has been done satisfactorily. An example of an immediate issue is a leaky roof or a moldy attic.
When a home inspector uses a term such as "priority" or something equivalent, he or she is suggesting that the specified issue should be addressed quickly. However, this may not necessarily be something that you need to ask the current homeowner to handle before you close the deal. A priority project is something that you should add to your to-do list once you take possession of the home. For example, if the yard isn't sufficiently sloped and water is pooling near the foundation, this is something you'll want to address in a timely manner.
Your home inspector's report will often draw your attention to things deemed as "regular maintenance." This simply means that the current situation isn't optimal, but that there's no immediate threat and that this issue can be addressed during regular maintenance. For example, the report could show that branches from a tree in the yard are beginning to approach the gutters, which could be problematic in time. The home inspector is advising that you trim these branches when you're working in your yard.