Step 11 to Buying a Home: Tips for Attending the Home Inspection
Attending the home inspection is one of the most important parts of buying a new home as it’s a huge financial investment with long term repercussions and you want to make sure the home you know exactly what shape the property is in.
Therefore, I feel strongly that buyers should always be at the home inspection. Yes, you’ll get a written report after the inspection, but it doesn’t give you nearly as clear of a picture of the condition of the house as being there to see any problems for yourself and ask the inspector follow up questions. Plus, unless you’re extremely knowledgeable about home construction, it’s difficult to understand what’s in the inspection report. Are these issues a big problem or they really a minor issue. Instead, it’s easy to get worked up about ungrounded outlets, but not realize that the water seepage in the crawl space is a much bigger and more extensive problem to fix.
Here is my list of tips for attending the home inspection:
- Inspections of condos take approximately 2 hours and single family home/multi-unit buildings generally take about 3 hours. Plan to be there the entire time.
- Wear comfortable clothes and shoes that can get dirty as the inspector may ask you to crawl in the basement or get up on the attic to see any problems.
- The inspector isn’t psychic. He can only see obvious defects and cannot see what is going on inside the walls with plumbing, electrical, etc. Therefore, having a clean inspection report doesn’t mean you won’t ever have a problem with a home. It just means what can be seen seems to be in good shape.
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions of the inspector, especially if you don’t understand what he is explaining to you. It’s crucial you understand each issue and whether it’s a minor issue or an expensive repair.
- Bring a tape measure with you to take any needed room measurements as we may not be able to get back into the home until the walk through the week before closing. In addition, if you want family/friends to see the home, it’s best to bring them to the inspection as well.
- Feel free to bring friends and family with you, especially if you want their input on inspection items, furniture placement, decorating, etc as we may not be able to get into the property again.
- If you are planning on having any work done to the home, it’s best to arrange for contractors, painters, floor refinishers, etc. to come by sometime during the inspection to give you estimates as we may not be able to get into the home again until the final walk through. If you need referrals for service providers, please let me know.
- Bring your checkbook with you as most inspectors require payment at the end of the inspection.
- Some inspectors will give you a copy of your report on the spot, others will email them to you within 2 days after the inspection. Usually, the inspector will also give me a copy of the report, if not, be sure to email it to me so we can look it over. We’ll then set up a time to discuss any items we want to ask the seller to fix or give a closing cost credit to repair after closing.
Remember that the point of the inspection is to:
- Discover safety issues
- See if there are any structural issues
- Discover any needed repairs to the working components. For instance, we want to make sure that all of the appliances are working, that the furnace and AC units are working, etc.
- We are NOT there to nitpick because we don’t like the paint colors, there is a dent in the fridge door, the furnace needs to be cleaned, the gutters need to be swept out, etc. No home is going to be perfect, not even a newly built home. Remember, we are mainly concerned with safety issues and knowing what issues we might face in the future.
IMPORTANT: Before the inspection, ask me for a copy of my Checklist for Inspection and Walk-thru. While the inspector is conducting the inspection, your job is to check off each relevant item on the list. In addition, you’ll likely want to measure for furniture placement. Lastly, I recommend photographing every room and closet in the property as you’ll want to refer to these photos later when planning where to put furniture, whether to update paint colors, add shelving in closets, etc.
Go back to Step 10 to Buying a Home: Schedule a Home Inspection, go forward to Step 12 to Buying a Home: Tips for Reading the Inspection Report.