Are you scared? I know I have been! Oh, about what you ask? About getting a home inspection and it possibly not going smooth!!
Look, I get it. You’re in the process of buying a home and it’s scary and stressful. Plus, the inspection process can make that feeling even worse. You may feel like the whole thing will fall through and you have to start over.
Is a home inspection really a smooth process? Maybe…or maybe it’s not. It really depends on everyone involved in the transaction. The seller, buyer, realtors and yes, even the home inspector. This is a big investment and responsibility for not just the buyer but everyone involved. In order to have a “smooth sailing” as people say, you must do your homework, be involved and don’t be scared to ask EVERYONE questions. Here are a few things you might want to do before, during and after the inspection.
1. Are you getting multiple recommendations?
Some of you may ask your real estate agent for suggestions on a home inspector, and maybe that inspector could turn out to be an awesome inspector – like myself…j/k! However, take the matter seriously. Every moment and aspect of the real estate process must be looked into and research carefully, by you. You’re the one buying the house, so make sure you choose wisely. You can start by asking your friends and neighbors. One thing I highly recommend is using the certified associations these inspectors are affiliated with such as American Society of Home Inspectors or ASHI for short or International Association of Certified Home Inspectors or InterNACHI for short. Their recommendations are a good start since they train and certify the majority of the home inspectors. That way you make sure you hired someone who’s qualified.
You want to interview the inspector and find out about how they work, whether they are licensed and insured, attend continuing education classes through their association, and have great communication styles.
2. Why don’t you want to attend the inspection?
Buyers typically get a report from the inspector after the job’s done or within 24 – 48 hours after the inspection. Because of this, many people don’t realize they can be at the inspection. In fact, a good inspector expects you to be there. This allows them to assist you with questions by educating you, show you what they find and let you know whether it’s an issue or not.
The fact of the matter is, some inspectors might cut corners, I want to apologize for those inspectors. Another reason why you should be there. Depending on the weather, the inspector may avoid inspecting the exterior. This could potentially lead to problems later due to missed deficiencies that were not reported. You want to make sure that either the inspector reschedules that portion of the inspection for another day or do the entire inspection on a day that the weather permits.
3. Don’t be scared, ask questions!
You may think, “I don’t know anything about homes….I mean anything! I’m not an electrician or plumber or a contractor.” However, it’s okay. Just ask! First thing you should do is attend the inspection. Then ask plenty of questions. A good inspector will answer all of your questions and will explain what he or she is doing and looking for. If you don’t get it, just tell the inspector you did not understand. Be honest, I know I am with my clients.
4. Please turn the utilities on, please!
I know you want a thorough inspection, but please make sure the utilities are on. If you don’t know how, ask your realtor. I’m pretty sure they can assist you with this. During your typical home inspection, the utilities will still be connected by the sellers. What people don’t know is that most cases at homes that are foreclosure, the utilities must be turned on by the buyer for the inspection. You don’t want the utilities off because you may miss something very important such as plumbing issues, leaks, electrical problems with receptacles and light switches – and these are the smaller issues.
5. My new home doesn’t need an inspection, it’s new.
This section may come as a surprise to some of you. Here it is, new homes still need to be inspected. Yep, it’s true! Some have defects, even if they did meet county codes. The fact of the matter is, if the builder tells you that the house is built perfectly and professionally, get it inspected anyway. I have seen my share of new homes with deficiencies – my own new home included!
Check with your realtor regarding your new home builder’s warranty. After about a year's worth of seasonal changes, you start to see a lot of defects. Some home inspectors provide a 11-month warranty home inspection specifically for these matters. For example, in winter you may discover that water is seeping into the basement or around window frames. Probably because the landscaping was badly graded and leads to mudslides, or that you have a mold problem. Also, your homeowners' insurance probably doesn't cover construction defects. An inspection
6. Do I really need to hire a specialist?
The real question is, “Do I really want to pay a lot of money for a new component that was recommended by the inspector to be looked at by a specialist before closing?” A home inspector and a doctor are a lot alike. They are both in a sense a general practitioner. They both can diagnose problems, and they both know when to refer you to a specialist. If your home inspector recommends a specialist, most likely you should get one. Look, don’t be afraid to paying a little extra money for the specialist to check out the component of the home. It may save you a lot of money in the future. Trust me!
7. Is the report that important?
I understand you may want to buy the house after you’ve gone through all the trouble of finding one to begin with, making an offer, and then getting an inspection. However, I highly recommend that you consider the results of the report. The inspection is not a “custom” to the entire process of the sale. It’s a service provided to the client to determine through a non-invasive and visual inspection if the home is in overall adequate condition. If the home inspector finds any problems, depending on the seriousness of the problems, you might need to pass on the home.
Are you ready to sell your home and or buy a home? Here are five common mistakes to avoid.
Why aren’t you researching the home inspector you are hiring?
Many home buyers and sellers take a card from their realtor and just run with the first one they see. Do your research! You want a certified, well trained home inspector to do your inspection. Here are a few questions to ask yourself when researching an inspector:
Are you not attending your inspection?
Look I get it, we all have busy schedules. Work, with school at night, children (and all their activities) and a spouse you want to spend time with, things can get crazy. For me, attending your inspection is not mandatory. However, it is highly recommended. When you receive your report, you may still have questions that come up from the report that you do not understand. An inspection can take 3-4 hours, make some time to attend. It’s okay to tag along and ask questions at the inspection. The best thing is let the inspector do his or her job and you can write down the questions you want answered at the end of the process. Don’t get me wrong you can ask during the inspection and the home inspector will gladly answer the question (most do). But allow the inspector to do the job accurately for you.
Did you read that inspection report?
Don’t just glance at it and give it to the realtor. The report helps you to understand your home and its needs for maintenance. A good inspector will educate you on what’s wrong with the house and what it may take to fix it. The reports nowadays are digital with photos, so they are easy to read.
If you are selling your house, did you get an inspection before putting the home on the market?
Typically, if you are selling a house you are not thinking of a home inspection. Home buyers are! But you should be thinking of a home inspection too. Usually, when a home buyer gets a home inspection, the seller does not have much time to do repairs. Or worst yet, they lose a potential buyer because there are too many deficiencies to repair. However, if the seller has the home inspected before putting the home on the market, there will be more than enough time to repair some – if not, everything on the report. Then the selling processing will be much easier.
Did you prepare your home for an inspection?
One of the things that grinds my gears (as well as other home inspectors gears) are homes on the market that are not prepared for an inspection. Especially when they know the home will be inspected at some point. The majority of your home inspectors do not move furniture during an inspection Seth is includes, furniture or equipment in front of an electrical panel (safety hazard), under the attic hatch, or in the utility room. One of the main reasons is due to liability. You break it, you bought it! Please be considerate and move the furniture a little to allow access to certain parts of a home. Unlock the utility closet, basement or even your attic. If you do not know what to do to prepare an inspection, call an inspector or ask you realtor. They will gladly help you. Oh yea, don’t DIY the repair. Nine out of ten times (if an inspector is good) they will catch it and it will show up on the report. That means you will have to pay for the repair anyway. Avoid extra unnecessary costs.
Have you ever wondered what is going to happen during your home inspection? I know I didn't - both times! I've been through two homes. I wasn't even a home inspector then. The anxiety, the fear of the unknown and wondering if I will be able to negotiate the findings into the cost of the home or WORST...start the whole process of looking all over again! AGH! It felt as if I was in the waiting room of a hospital waiting for the good or bad news from the doctor. (By the way, worst feeling ever in my opinion)
To be honest, the home inspection process is actually not bad now that I am on the other side of the spectrum. It's easy and pretty straightforward and if you get a great home inspector, you should leave that inspection knowing everything you need to know with confidence and reassurance of your investment. Whether you buy the house or not, you should not feel anxious. Here is what you should expect on the day of your home inspection:
BUILD THAT RELATIONSHIP
One of the first things the home inspector you hired should do is to take a moment and introduce him or herself. Chances are you have not yet properly met since you only made a phone call to hire the inspector. At that point, the inspector should explain the inspection process.
The entire process of a home inspection is non-invasive. However, to the seller in particular, it can feel like just the opposite. If the seller is present during the inspection (this is a rare occasion) then they should feel free to ask questions too. Both the buyer and seller bring good input to an inspection and can learn a lot from the process. Ask the inspector questions, this will help you and educate you on the components of a house. If the home inspector does not answer all your questions, they should be able to get an answer for you and get back to you within 24 hours.
THE ACTUAL HOME INSPECTION
The home inspection itself requires the home inspector's full concentration. Because of this, the client might leave a home inspector alone and not interrupt the inspector. The client is encouraged to join the inspector, but If you have questions while the inspection, write them down. Bring a note pad and pen with you and write them down so that you don't forget and ask the inspector later or during the end of the inspection. It is okay to ask the inspector questions during the inspection, but it can prolong the inspection which can make you (the client), the realtor and the inspector late for any other places you all may need to be. The best time to ask all your questions are during the final phase of the inspection which is when the inspector is reviewing his or her findings with the client. Which brings us to the next step.
REVIEWING THE REPORT WITH THE INSPECTOR
The final phase of the inspection process is the inspector reviewing their findings to the client through the inspection report. One thing that I do - which I believe all good inspectors should do - is give a copy of all pictures and video to the client. THEY hired the inspector, so that means that all findings are for the buyer or seller. It's theirs. They choose if they want to share it with anyone.
One of the last things to the inspection is payment. Also, the client and realtor (if the client agreed to release the information to the realtor) should be able to contact the inspector anytime with questions that may arise after the inspection. For example, I am usually available anytime (during business hours) through email, phone call or text for my clients and realtors to answer any questions. It all depends on the inspector and how available they are for their clients.
AFTER A LONG DAY
Once the entire process is done, you are home with your spouse, you should review the report. Then set up a time to outline a negotiation through repairs or lowering the price of the home. That's up to your realtor and you to talk about. You should be aware though, not all sellers will repair anything. Technically they are not required to. However, the majority will work with you since this is an investment for them as well.