Home Inspection Tips

Understanding the Home Inspection Process

It’s important that you don’t become too attached to a home until you’ve had it inspected by a professional, certified home inspector.

Unlike an appraisal, it’s only through the home inspection where you’ll discover if the home requires minor or major repairs. Any work required for the foundation, heating and cooling system, plumbing or electrical systems, could prove costly. Having this information upfront can give you some negotiating power, or give you an acceptable reason to back out of the deal.

The home inspector is usually hired immediately after the contract has been signed. Be sure there is a clause in your sales contract that confirms your final obligation to purchase the home depends on the results of a professional home inspection. A certified home inspector will perform a comprehensive inspection of the home, and provide you a detailed report of their findings.

As a buyer:

  • You get to choose your own home inspector. Get recommendations from people you know and trust.
  • Visit the American Society of Home Inspectors site online to find an expert in your area.
  • Double check your contract to make sure you have an inspection contingency clause that says your final purchase obligation depends on the results of a professional home inspection.
  • Prepare a list of any questions or concerns you have about the property and give the list to the inspector.
  • Plan to be present to get a firsthand explanation of the inspector’s findings.
  • A typical inspection lasts two to three hours long.
  • After the inspection is complete, the inspector will prepare an extensive written report for your review.
  • Expect imperfections, every home has flaws.
  • If major problems are discovered, you have the right to ask the seller to make repairs, or reduce the sale price, if you still want to purchase the home.

As a seller:

  • Fix dripping faucets, leaks or clogged drains.
  • Ensure smoke detectors are installed and in good working order.
  • Replace burned out or missing light bulbs.
  • Change the air filters in your cooling system.
  • Tighten loose door knobs and door hinges, kitchen and bathroom cabinet knobs or handles.
  • Make sure all windows open and close smoothly, that there are no broken locks.
  • Trim trees and shrubs away from the home’s exterior.
  • Prepare a list of any recent repairs or renovations, including the dates and attach receipts.
  • Thoroughly clean inside and outside your home – a dirty or cluttered house suggests neglectful owners.
  • Have keys available for the inspector to check all doors and locks.
  • If the home isn’t occupied, make sure utilities (electricity, gas, water, etc.) are connected.
  • Make sure the pilot lights on the stove, furnace and water heater are lit.
  • Clear the areas surrounding electrical panels, appliances, etc.
  • Secure a place for your pets that’s out of the way while the inspector is onsite.
  • Plan to leave the home for at least three hours.

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