Attending the home inspection is one of the most important parts of buying a new home as it’s a huge financial investment with long term repercussions and you want to make sure the home you’re buying is in good shape. Therefore, we feel strongly that buyers should always be at the home inspection. Yes, you’ll get a written report after the inspection, but it doesn’t give you nearly as clear of a picture of the condition of the house as being there to see any problems for yourself and ask the inspector follow up questions. 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. Instead, it’s easy to get worked up about ungrounded outlets, but not realize that the water seepage in the basement is a much bigger and more extensive problem to fix.
Here is our list of tips for attending the home inspection:
- Inspections of condos take approximately 2 hours and single family home/multi-unit buildings generally take about 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 get up on the attic to see any problems.
- The inspector isn’t psychic. He 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 doesn’t mean you won’t ever have a problem with a home. It just means what can be seen seems to be in good shape.
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions of the inspector, especially if you don’t understand what he is 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 we may not be able to get back into the home until the walk through the day before 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 as we may not be able to get into the property again.
- If you are planning on having any work done to the home, it’s best to arrange for contractors, painters, floor refinishers, etc. to come by sometime during the inspection to give you estimates as we may not be able to get into the home again until the final walk through. If you need referrals for service providers, please let me know.
- 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 but some savvy inspectors can now print the report for you right at the home so you’ll leave with it in hand. As soon as you get the inspection report be sure to make some time to 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
- See if there are any structural issues
- Discover any needed repairs to the working components. For instance we want to make sure that all of the appliances are working, that the AC units are working, etc.
- We are NOT there to nit pick 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. Remember, we are mainly concerned with safety issues and things not working.
While the inspector is conducting the inspection, you’ll likely want to measure for furniture placement. We also recommend photographing 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.