Buyer-Why should I get a home inspection? Buying a home is typically the biggest investment you will ever make, so it's important to get a home inspection because the inspector should be able to discover and document defects that may or may not be obvious to you as a prospective buyer. Such defects can range from simple replacements or repairs, to severe damage or safety and health concerns. Additionally, most mortgage companies require a home inspection on a property before approving the home loan.
Seller-Why should I get a home inspection? A seller should obtain a home inspection before listing the home for sale, (Pre-Inspection). Eventually, your buyers are going to conduct an inspection. You may as well know what they are going to find by getting there first. Having an inspection performed ahead of time helps in many other ways, such as:
It allows you to see your home through the eyes of a critical and neutral third party.
It alerts you to immediate safety issues before agents and visitors tour your home.
It permits you to make repairs ahead of time so that ...
Defects won't become negotiating stumbling blocks later..
You have the time to get reasonably priced contractors or make the repairs yourself, if qualified.
It helps you to price your home realistically.
It may relieve prospects' concerns and suspicions.
It may encourage the buyer to waive his inspection contingency.
It reduces your liability by adding professional supporting documentation to your disclosure statement.
Copies of the inspection report, along with receipts for any repairs, should be made available to potential buyers.
How can I be sure that a home inspector is qualified? It is important to choose a home inspector who is qualified and holds a license or certification in the field. Many jurisdictions do not regulate home inspections, meaning that anyone could call themselves a home inspector. However, just because someone performs home inspections doesn't mean that they're actually qualified to do so. If you are buying or selling a home in an unregulated jurisdiction, make sure to look for a home inspector with the proper certifications. If you are located in a state or province that does require licensing of home inspectors, you should hire only a licensed professional. Contact your state by phone or online to find out whether they license home inspectors, and what qualifications they're required to have. License numbers in licensing states may vary in appearance, but you should be able to independently verify it. If your state doesn't require licensing, find out what qualifications and certifications your home inspector has. The International Association of Certified Home Inspectors – InterNACHI® – is the largest and most trusted home inspector association in the world. Its members undergo rigorous training to become Certified Professional Inspectors (CPIs)®. They also follow a Standards of Practice and adhere to a Code of Ethics. Find out if your inspector is licensed and/or a CPI before you hire him or her. This will ensure that you are hiring only an individual who has received the best training to become a home inspector.
How long does a home inspection take? Depending on the home's age, size, and location, as well as the home inspector's own work protocols and ethic, your home inspection may take up to three to four hours. Adding square footage, outbuildings, and/or ancillary services will increase that time. It may be necessary for your inspector to bring in a helper for a very large property. If your general home inspection takes significantly less than two to three hours, it may indicate that the inspector was not thorough enough.
At what point in the real estate transaction should I schedule a home inspection? A home inspection is usually scheduled after an offer has been made and accepted, but before the closing date. That way, the inspector can rule out any major defects that could be dangerous or costly.
Should I be present for the inspection? You should attend the inspection the last 30 minutes to an hour, and you should reconsider hiring an inspector who doesn't allow this. You can learn a lot by following an inspector through the home. You will certainly gain a better understanding of the home's condition, which will give you insight into its potential sale points and defects. Additionally, you will likely learn information about the home's maintenance, systems and components that may provide useful for the transaction.
Can the home inspector also repair any defects he or she finds? What if your home inspector is also a licensed contractor? Sounds great, right? Not always. Although it may seem convenient to have an inspector who is also a contractor, it poses a conflict of interest. According to InterNACHI's Code of Ethics: The InterNACHI member shall not perform or offer to perform, for an additional fee, any repairs or associated services to the structure for which the member or member's company has prepared a home inspection report for a period of 12 months. This provision shall not include services to components and/or systems that are not included in the InterNACHI Standards of Practice. If an inspector financially benefits from finding any defects, this can impact the accuracy of the report (whether intentional or not). Make sure the inspector you hire abides by a Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice.
Preparing for a Home Inspection- Seller If you are selling your house, here are some ways to make your home inspection go smoother, with fewer concerns to delay closing.
1. Make sure the inspector has access, not only to the house, but also to the furnace, water heater and air- conditioning units (especially in closets, attics and crawlspaces). 2. Remove items blocking access to HVAC equipment, electric service, panels, water heaters, etc. 3. Check to see that the garage is open and that any water heater, utility panel and shutoffs and resets for ground-fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) within are accessible. 4. Unlock areas the inspector must access, such as attic doors or hatches, electric service panels, closets, fence gates and crawlspaces. 5. Ensure that all utility services are on, with gas pilot lights burning. 6. Be sure pets won't hinder the inspection. Ideally, they should be removed from the premises or secured outside. Tell your agent about any pets at home. 7. Replace burned-out bulbs to avoid a "light did not operate" report that may suggest an electrical problem. 8. Remove stored items, debris and wood from the foundation. These may be cited as conditions conducive to wood-destroying insects. 9. Trim tree limbs to 10 feet from the roof and shrubs to 1 foot from the house to allow access. 10. Attend to broken or missing items such as doorknobs, locks and latches, windowpanes, screens and locks, and gutters, downspouts and chimney caps.
Checking these areas before your home inspection is an investment in selling your property, and will expedite your closing.