Home Inspections might seem daunting at first, but it really doesn’t need to be complicated if you know exactly how to prepare. Here are valuable tips to follow as you prepare for your home inspection.
A. Work with referrals to find the BEST experienced & vetted home inspector.
- Request a disclosure statement from the seller prior to the inspection.
- Conduct your own due diligence and do your research before and after the inspection.
- Think ahead of time of your concerns and questions to ask at the inspection.
- Seek to identify any concerns or deal breakers in advance.
- Be present and attentive for your home inspection appointment.
B. Find The Best Inspector
If you are working with a Realtor, they likely be very willing to help you find a home inspector. Another way is to ask around. Talk with friends and family to find recommendations. Just be sure to hire a inspector who has proven and thorough results and ample years experience; 10+. Be wary of multi-inspector firms as you may be assigned a less experienced inspector.
Ask your inspector these questions to discover whether they will be the right fit:
- “What is your background and experience?”
- If you are buying an older home or a “fixer-upper,” it is best to find an inspector who has experience working with similar properties.
- “How long will the inspection take?”
- If your inspector says your inspections will last less than two hours, you are working with the wrong professional. Home inspections take two to three hours on average and can take even longer if you’re moving into a larger home.
- “Can I attend the inspection?”
- You should attend your final home inspection no matter what. Two sets of eyes are always better than one. If your inspector doesn’t appear excited to let you attend the inspection, keep on looking. It’s favorable to also request your Realtor representing you attend to learn first hand about your concerns at the conclusion of the inspection.
C. Get A Seller’s Disclosure Statement
A Sellers disclosure statement refers to an informative document given by the seller with any property details they need to make the buyer aware of. Generally they include a series of yes, no questions or unknown replies from the seller. One should aim to get a disclosure statement days before a home inspection is conducted. The reason for this is because a disclosure statement can draw attention to any areas that have been renovated or repaired and offer additional insight to you about the home. Bring any noted items of question to your home inspector prior to the start of the inspection.
D. Do Your Due Diligence
Your inspector should possess a broad knowledge of a home’s systems and structures. Your inspector should be independent, objective and not affiliated with the Realtor and or Seller in any way. No homebuyer wants an inspector who doesn’t have their best interest first and foremost and always.
If possible, take your time and walk through your new home on your own again even before the inspection day. This way, you can more easily put together a list of questions for your inspector, Realtor and seller.
E. Ask Questions
Once you’ve found the right Certified & Experienced Inspector, make sure to come up with a list of questions to ask. As a rule of thumb, always ask about the fee, and for a summary of what it covers. Don’t shop around for the cheapest inspection fee, as a wise owl thinks more about the level of proven experience and level of service first. Also, make sure that the inspector can be available on a day and time to work with the dates on your purchase & sales agreement. Keep in mind that the actual inspection is just part of the process, and it can take a day or so to receive the final report with the documented results. Know that a home inspection report given to a home buyer onsite immediately following an inspection likely lacks details and thoroughness. Lastly, verify that the inspector is properly certified if your local jurisdiction does not require licensing for inspectors, which is now very common to aid in protecting home buyers.
F. Identify Your “Deal Breakers”
As a buyer or investor, you should always keep a budget in mind for home repairs. Throughout the inspection process, you’ll start getting a better idea of what’s needed to update the home to your own liking. In advance, set realistic limitations on how much you are willing to spend on updates and repairs, no matter how much you LOVE the home. Major repairs, such as electrical, plumbing, structural work, or roof replacement may break your savings if you don’t have a large enough budget. Once your chosen inspector does the required thorough inspection work and completes the detailed report and the result are not that favorable, be prepared to work with your Realtor to negotiate again with the seller and or make a difficult decision of whether or not you want to proceed with your purchase.
G. Be There!
One might think that it would be best to stay out of an inspector’s way and let them do their job, but please take the opposite mind set. Take advantage of the two plus hours to be present and active inside and outside the home. Be sure to observe and be attentive to items and topics discussed onsite. Your final written report findings should match pretty closely the impression of what your inspector talked about while at the home. Remember to observe the nearby surrounding homes and maybe take a short walk around the neighborhood. Don’t be afraid to ask plenty of questions.