Here is what you need to know about the Home’s Inspection….an inspector will not check everything! Deep breath, its going to be okay. Let me say, CONGRATULATIONS – you’ve fallen in love. You have butterflies and happiness and then it creeps in….the ‘What ifs’. Let me start with saying the inspection process can be the longest time you are in the house after your 1st/2nd/3rd showing so prepare accordingly.
Now back to the ‘What If’ anxiety you are about to feel. What if the inspector finds something wrong? What if its so bad we can’t buy the house? Please know this is normal – you’re not overly anything – we all worry about things not in our control.
This inevitably leads to anger – impatience – like seriously, is this whole home buying process over yet?
Its going to be okay – I promise. Just take a D E E P breath – you’re close.
The inspection process is FOR YOU!
This process will help uncover problems that remained hidden from you as you fell in love with the beautiful kitchen.
Short of going up on the roof or understanding plumbing, an inspector identifies reasonably discover-able problems with the home. YES, you want to know!
During the inspection, an inspector has three tasks: To:
- Identify problems with the house
- Suggest fixes
- Estimate how much repairs might cost
He or she produces a written report, usually including photos, that details any issues with the property. This report is critical to you and your agent (me) — it’s what you’ll use to request repairs from the seller (YES, you can do that).
Some items should always be examined.
The home’s “skeleton” should be able to stand up to weather, gravity, and the earth that surrounds it. Structural components include items such as the foundation and the framing.
The inspector should look at sidewalks, driveways, steps, windows, doors, siding, trim, and surface drainage. They should also examine any attached porches, decks, and balconies.
A good inspector will provide very important information about your roof, including its age, roof draining systems, buckled shingles, and loose gutters and downspouts. They should also inform you of the condition of any skylights and chimneys as well as the potential for pooling water.
They should thoroughly examine the water supply and drainage systems, water heating equipment, and fuel storage systems. Drainage pumps and sump pumps also fall under this category. Poor water pressure, banging pipes, rust spots, or corrosion can indicate larger problems.
You should be informed of the condition of service entrance wires, service panels, breakers and fuses, and disconnects. Also take note of the number of outlets in each room.
Heating and air conditioning
The home’s vents, flues, and chimneys should be inspected. The inspector should be able to tell you the water heater’s age, its energy rating, and whether the size is adequate for the house. They should also describe and inspect all the central air and through-wall cooling equipment.
Your inspector should take a close look at walls, ceilings and floors; steps, stairways, and railings; countertops and cabinets; and garage systems. These areas can reveal leaks, insect damage, rot, construction defects, and more.
Inspectors should check for adequate insulation and ventilation in the attic and in unfinished areas such as crawl spaces. Insulation should be appropriate for the climate. Without proper ventilation, excess moisture can lead to mold and water damage.
They’re charming, but fireplaces can be dangerous if they’re not properly installed.
A WORD OF CAUTION:
It is important to note here that inspectors only examine houses for problems that can be seen with the naked eye. They won’t be tearing down walls or using magical X-ray vision, to find hidden faults.
And no, they can’t predict the future, either. While an inspector can give you a rough idea of how many more years that roof will hold up, he or she can’t tell you exactly when it will need to be replaced.
****Basic inspections do not routinely include a thorough evaluation of:
- Swimming pools
- Septic systems
- Structural engineering work
- The ground beneath a home
- Fireplaces and chimneys
HOW TO CHOOSE a home inspector…….
Although we can recommend reputable inspectors my advice is to interview at least three inspectors before deciding whom to hire. Pick up that phone and dial (after running an internet search of course and reading reviews). Ask the following questions:
- Are you licensed or certified? Inspector certifications vary, based on where you live. Not every state requires home inspectors to be licensed, and licenses can indicate different degrees of expertise.
- How long have you been in the business? Look for someone with at least five years of experience — it indicates more homes inspected.
- How much do you charge? Usually based on square footage.
- What do you check, exactly? Know what you’re getting for your money.
- What don’t you check, specifically? Some home inspectors are more thorough than others. **Remember, its usually an add on as identified above of what is usually NOT covered in the basic inspection.
- When will I receive the report? Home inspection contingencies require you to complete the inspection within a certain period of time after the offer is accepted — so you’re on a set timetable. A good home inspector will provide you with the report within 24-36 hours after the inspection.
- May I see a sample report? This will help you gauge how detailed the inspector is and how he or she explains problems.
On inspection day you are not required to be there but I cannot say this enough – YOU SHOULD BE THERE WITH YOUR AGENT (me). This is potentially going to be your new home – you should know, see, and understand exactly what the inspector is identifying and why it is as an issue.
The good news is most sales contracts require sellers to fix certain things such as Structural defects, Building code violations, Safety issues etc (think big ticket items) but most home repairs are negotiable. A loose kitchen faucet isn’t a deal breaker so don’t dig your heels in on that unless its the only issue uncovered (sooo not likely). Save your energy for the major identified issues. Here is where we request the owner to make the repairs.
** Some items you will want to be replaced not repaired. Think long term here.
And now more negotiating begins. The seller will either agree or counteroffer your request. All I can say is trust your Inspector, Realtor (me) and your gut. If it doesn’t feel right – Do NOT AGREE.
CONGRATULATIONS – You are ready for your Home’s Inspection.