Attending the home inspection is a critically important part of the home buying process!
Buying a home is a huge financial investment (possibly the largest investment that you will make) and you want to make sure the home you’re buying is in good shape. I feel strongly that buyers should personally attend the home inspection. Even though, you’ll get a written report after the inspection, it doesn’t give you nearly as clear of a picture of the condition of the house as being there to view defects for yourself and ask the inspector questions about what you are seeing. Plus, unless you’re extremely knowledgeable about home construction, it’s difficult to understand what in the inspection report is a big problem or defect and what is really a minor issue. Frankly, it’s easy to get worked up about the minor defects (e.g. cracked window glass), without realizing that the larger defects (e.g. bowed basement wall) are tremendously more expensive to fix AND may cause the appraisal and final loan approval to fail.
Here is our list of tips for attending the home inspection:
- Inspections of condos/townhouses take approximately 2 hours and single family homes may take up to 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 doesn’t have X-Ray vision… they 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 does NOT guarantee that you won’t ever have a problem with the home. It just means what can be seen appears to be in satisfactory condition.
- Ask questions of the inspector! …especially if you don’t understand what they are 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 you may not be able to get back into the home until the walk-through just prior to 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.
- If you are planning on having any work done to the home after closing, it’s best to arrange for contractors, painters, floor refinishers, etc. to come by sometime during the inspection to give you estimates. If you need referrals for service providers, please let me know….I’ve worked with many different contractors in the area!
- Bring your checkbook with you as most inspectors require payment at the end of the inspection.
- Inspection reports are generally emailed to you within 2 days after the inspection. As soon as you get the inspection report 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
- Check for structural issues
- Discover any obvious issues with the mechanicals… are all of the appliances working? The furnace and AC units? The hot water heater? etc.
Remember, no home is going to be free of defects.
This is not the time to bombard the Seller with a request for concessions 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. Unless you are buying new construction, no home is going to be perfect. If you want a perfect home, buy new construction. If you aren’t buying new construction, then we need to accept the house with its cosmetic flaws or find a new house.
While the inspector is conducting the inspection… you’ll likely want to measure for furniture placement. Also, wouldn’t be a bad idea to photograph 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. …It’ll give you something to think about while you are anxiously awaiting the closing…