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.