Completing a home inspection is a crucial step in the purchase of your new home and honestly it can make or break the experience and ultimately the purchase. Making sure you have a good home inspector is the first step to making sure your inspection is a breeze. I have compiled a list of what I think every homebuyer should know about the inspection process.
The home inspection is the buyers responsibility – after the seller has accepted an offer, the buyers agree to find a home inspector, of their choosing, within an agreed upon time frame and pay for the cost of the inspection. Make sure you budget the cost of the inspection in to the overall price tag of purchasing your home.
Think of your home inspection as a ‘Wellness Check’ at the doctor’s office. The inspector is going to check out the health of your home in a variety of areas. Those will likely or should include: the foundation and basement, all structural components, plumbing, electrical, HVAC, windows, doors, roof, fireplace/chimney and attic. Just because an item isn’t covered on the inspection, e.g., a shed, a fireplace or maybe a pool – you can still get it inspected, you will just need to find another source for the inspection.
You can definitely attend the inspection while it is happening– and often times is a really good idea. It gives you a great introduction to your potential new home and the opportunity to ask questions about the home’s condition. You want your inspector to find as much as possible in your home, however, everything found at inspection is NOT necessarily what you ask for the seller to remedy. Many of these items are part of home maintenance and what you need to know to take care of your home in the years after the sale is done. After the inspection, at your request, you will be given a very thorough report of their findings. So thankfully you don’t have to worry about remembering everything they may have flagged during the inspection.
Remember – the inspector’s job is to make you aware of the condition of the property before you finalize the sale transaction. So, it is in your best interest to make sure you are getting an inspector that is well versed in your style of home – whether it is an older home or in a neighborhood that has building specifications, like a historic neighborhood.
Inspections are not to bring an older home up to code - and most purchase agreements state this as part of the home inspection clause. For example, older homes come with typical home maintenance items not found with a new construction home. So you need to be prepared for this. I remind people over and over, an inspection is not an opportunity to suddenly decide you don’t like the home or request all new windows. The home inspection is the opportunity to find something that cannot be seen by the average buyer when walking through the home. For example, most buyers aren’t testing electrical outlets and opening up furnaces to look at its current condition or climbing on roofs to inspect the shingle quality. So use the home inspection as a time for a professional to evaluate the home you loved when you put the offer in.