What should you expect?
No two Home Inspectors are equal so it is important to be informed about choosing an inspector, as inspection reports can be a huge headache for the buyer, seller and the agents involved in the transaction. If you are buying a house, the inspection report is an invaluable tool in the negotiation process, since the inspector can find major problems adding up to thousands of dollars of repair bills. The cost of these repairs can then be used to negotiate home cost further. If selling the home you could be aware of any problems prior to the sale; therefore, allowing you the opportunity for realistic negotiations and minimal surprises during the buyer’s home inspection.
What will my home inspection include?
Every state has a different set of minimum requirements for licensed inspectors, http://www.homeinspector.org/StateRegulations. Beyond the state requirements, a Home Inspection covers all the major mechanical systems, structural integrity, cosmetic features and most other aspects of the home. Systems such as cable/internet and alarm systems are not included in the scope of a home inspection.
When shopping for a Home Inspector, what should you look for?
Firstly, ask for a sample report. There are a million different report styles out there, so see what one is good for you. Make sure the inspector can deliver the report with plenty of time for review, prior to your response deadline. Secondly, ask if they are licensed in the state they are inspecting and whether they carry errors and omissions insurance. In most cases insurance is required. Lastly and most importantly, make sure the inspector is not affiliated with the real estate agency selling the home. The inspector should be objective and independent in his findings. Statistics say the average person moves every seven years. Most likely your friends and family have used an inspector when purchasing a house. Ask them about their experience and recommendations. DO NOT wait until the last minute, as you will need time to find a good inspector. If you wait, you will be stuck looking for an inspector that has an open slot or if you’re lucky, a cancellation.
What happens on inspection day?
On the inspection day, your inspector will arrive for an evaluation of the home. It is a good idea to follow along with the inspector as he checks the home. Make sure to let the inspector do his job, but feel free to ask questions about the home and/or potential issues. If you have any concerns, let him know ahead of time and he will either verify them or put them to rest. The inspector will be looking at everything thoroughly, but sometimes things do get missed. It is an unrealistic expectation that an inspector will find every issue, but the goal is to recognize major costly problems. Obviously, we still strive for perfection!
When the inspection is complete, the inspector will take you around and answer any questions you have and point out areas of concern. Following the inspection you will receive a detailed report of the findings, filled with pictures and information on any issues. The pictures allow you to see the problem first hand, and give you can get a better idea about the damage and the depth of the repairs needed. In my opinion, these pictures are one of the most important parts of the report. I recommend asking for an electronic copy as well. This way you can send it to Uncle Bob, the electrician, and he can let you know what it will take to fix, or give you a price for repairs.