Eleven essential tips to navigate your home inspection
Updated: Nov 19, 2020
After partnering with many homebuyers as a home inspector, I have put together eleven tips to navigate the home inspection part of purchasing your dream home. Listening to concerns is an essential and important part of my job. Sharing what I have learned so other homebuyers can feel more confident about the process is also something I love about my job.
After searching for the perfect home, you have finally found a home you love; a home you started decorating in your mind when you walked in the door. But before all your imaginings become a reality, there are less-exciting steps you have to take.
The dreaded home inspection -- this step can be nerve-wracking. What will the inspector find? What if I discover the roof is about to cave in, or the furnace is 72-years old and on its last leg? First, take a deep breath.
Your home inspector is your advocate. Any inspector you hire is there to ensure that you, the homebuyer, are aware of things about the home that could be potential problems. She or he will look into heating, cooling, interior plumbing, the electrical system, roof, attic, visible insulation, walls, ceiling, floors, windows, doors, foundation, basement, structural components, and grading. And your home inspector will make all of this information accessible and easy to understand.
So how to prepare for the inspection?
Eleven Tips For Preparing for Home Inspection:
Take a good look around on your own first. As you walk around the house, take time to notice things. Turn on the faucets and flush toilets. Turn on light switches. Note any unusual smells. Look at the floors, the walls, and the ceilings. Take note of things you have questions/concerns about.
Be prepared for problems. Go into the inspection knowing that no structure is perfect. The home inspector will likely find some things during the inspection. You will be given information on the findings. Do not panic.
Be there. Schedule your home inspection at a time that you and your real estate agent can be present. Walk with the inspector as your inspection is performed. Let them show you what they find in person.
Ask questions. During the inspection, ask questions. If there is anything that you do not understand or want to know more about, ask. Fortune Builder, in their article, "Professional Home Inspection Checklist," provides some smart questions to ask during inspection.
Allow time for the inspection. The inspection should take a few hours. Schedule it so that you can be at the inspection the whole time. It may not be the most exciting two hours of your life, but it is important to allow time for a thorough inspection to be performed.
Use a qualified inspector. When choosing which inspector to use, check their qualifications. Your realtor may provide a list of inspectors to choose from. Also ask your friends and family for referrals. Chat with your inspector on the phone; you should feel comfortable and confident when you hang up.
Get pictures. Pictures are the best way to document the findings from the inspector. The report from the inspector should include both pictures and written documentation of the findings. Pictures provide clearer communication between all involved parties about any issue being referenced.
Ask about the longevity of the big stuff. Ask the inspector about the longevity of the big stuff. Also be aware that the inspector can report age and condition, but cannot predict future problems. It is good to know the age of things like the roof and HVAC systems as you plan for your new home.
Be prepared for specialty inspections. Home inspectors are sort of like the general practitioners of physicians. They can give a general physical of the property. If the inspector finds anything that requires a specialty inspection, they will let you and your realtor know. Some kinds of specialty inspections may involve a closer look at septic systems, sewer scopes, asbestos, radon, pests, and fireplaces.
Read the report. Once you receive the home inspection report, take time to read it. It will provide a lot of information to consider. Look at it and make notes about any questions or concerns you may have.
Talk to your real estate agent about next steps. Armed with the information from the home inspection report, talk to your real estate agent about next steps. They will help you make a plan about how best to proceed.
Using these suggestions can help you navigate the home inspection. The more informed you are, the more you will learn. Remember, most home inspections turn out just fine! And if something comes up that requires further attention, it's better to know before you start buying new curtains.
I'd love to talk to you about your home inspection. Have more tips that you've learned? I'd love to hear about them here.
Happy home buying!
Charlie Kay Home Inspections