Let’s start with what a home inspection is: It is an objective visual examination of the physical structure and systems of the house from the roof to the foundation. The buyer generally pays for the inspection, and it can last from 2-4 hours, depending on the size of the home. The inspection may also include tests for the presence of radon, mold, termite/carpenter ants, and if there is a septic system, that may be tested, too. The inspector is limited to readily visible and accessible items.
While it’s not required that you be there, it is highly recommended. You can observe the inspection, ask questions and learn a lot about maintenance items regarding your new home-to-be! In the 13 years I have been in the business, I have learned so much about how to maintain my own home – lots of helpful hints, too, along the way!
The purpose of the inspection it to notify you, the buyer, what conditions exist that you could NOT see during your tour and visits to the home. You don’t need the home inspector to point out a tear in the carpet, or a broken tile in the bathroom – he is there to discover items you can’t see or know about without an investigation by a professional.
All homes have strong and weak points, If you are buying a resale, remember, there will be items that need to be addressed. Many items noticed during the inspection may be cosmetic – the items of concern should be structural issues. The home inspector works through a long list of potential concerns to identify major and minor deficiencies in the home. A good report will clearly describe the problems and illustrate them.
You will receive a detailed report from your inspector within a few hours of the inspection (never more then 24 hours). Take a deep breath, and read through it. Often, there will be a summary of the important items that were discovered. Remember, you have paid the inspector to discover everything he can about the home, so there will most likely be a long list of items – this is normal. No house is perfect. The items that are identified help you know in advance what to expect. If the items are structural in nature, or troublesome to you, then discuss them with your agent (or attorney) and decide what you would like the seller to address. This is all normal procedure in buying a home. Often, specific experts will be called in to further evaluate questionable items, and give estimates for repairs. You might decide to ask the seller to fix certain things, or, instead, give you a credit at closing so you can fix them with your own service people. I always encourage my buyers to be reasonable, and not make the items a wish list of upgrades! Sellers can get irritated if they feel the buyer is asking for items that aren’t structural or significant. I believe in asking for items that really matter, and are important. Remember, there is always a solution for every problem. The good news is, the buyer and seller usually reach a happy conclusion that works for and satisfies everyone involved.
All of our clients are offered free telephone consultation after the inspection. We wholeheartedly encourage you to accompany your inspector during the inspection, which provides an invaluable learning and discovery experience during which your questions can be answered on the spot and you will gain insight into maintenance and energy conservation tailored specifically to your home. During the inspection process, 70% of what I do is an inspection and 30% of the time I educate the home owner on the preventive maintenance requirements and conditions on the home.
Congratulations………you survived the home inspection (and so did the house)!