Buyers: What to expect before, during, and after an inspection.
Before the Inspection
In a Real Estate transaction the first step toward having a home inspection is to make an offer on a house in which you will announce your intention to have a home inspection conducted between the acceptance of the offer and the closing. This is usually referred to as a "contingency".
While we are on the topic of contingencies, let me take this opportunity to tell you that a home inspection is not a money grab and should not be thought of or used as a way to "get money off the purchase price" or "get a credit" for your transaction. The purpose of a home inspection is: To use the experience of the home inspector to ensure that no major defects are present, which a lay person, without a construction background, may not recognize.
Your Realtor will likely have a list of Home Inspectors that they have worked with in the past. Typically, there will be a list of 2 to 3 inspectors that your Realtor will recommend. Ultimately, it is your job as the buyer to choose your inspector, which may be one of the recommended inspectors, or someone you find on your own. Don't be shy during this process, while I can say that I have never had anyone question me in detail about my inspection abilities or style, I would certainly welcome the questions, and so should any inspector that you hire.
Once you decide on an inspector, you or your Relator will need to make the inspection appointment. Regardless of who schedules the inspection, the date the inspection occurs on will likely depend on whether or not you would like to personally be present during the actual inspection. For me, other than timing, it makes no difference whether my clients attend their inspection or not. I do not put on an "Inspection Show" if someone is present. I do the same great inspection, every, single, time. But, from a consumer point-of-view, I completely understand why someone might want to attend an inspection.
Your inspector will want a little bit of information about you and the property that you want inspected. This is a list of basic information that you should have available when booking the inspection:
A. Your name
B. Your current mailing address
C. Your phone number
D. Your Realtor's name
E. The address of the property to be inspected
F. The "finished" square footage of the property to be inspected (Note: this typically includes finished basement or attic spaces even if those areas are not included in the "advertised" square footage)
G. Will you or your Realtor be attending the inspection
H. How will the inspector get into the property to be inspected
I. Is the property occupied by someone else or is it vacant
J. Do you want any other testing performed such as Radon or Mold Testing (Note: this should have been discussed with your Realtor and included in your offer to purchase)
Different inspectors have different questions for their clients, but the preceding are the most common.
After you schedule the actual inspection, you will likely receive a confirmation email for your appointment, an inspection agreement form and an invoice for the inspection fee to be paid. Most inspectors will want the agreement signed and fee paid prior to the start of the inspection. Some clients are skeptical about paying upfront for the inspection, but if you ask your inspector why they require payment upfront, they almost certainly have a story about releasing a report to someone, and never getting paid for that inspection.
After all of that, it is time to kick back until the day of the inspection, or the following day if you are not attending.
During the Inspection
On the day of the inspection, if you are attending the inspection, you inspector will typically greet you and ask if you have any specific areas of concern. This is a good opportunity to bring up any areas of the home that are of particular interest for you. The reasoning could be due to something you saw when you initially looked at this particular house, or it could be something that you have had a bad experience with in the past. Whatever the concern, your inspector should welcome your input and work with you to make sure you have the information you are looking for.
Personally, after the meet and greet, I let my client(s) know that they are more than welcome to walk along with me during the inspection, but that I will likely be mostly quiet throughout the inspection, because if I am talking to my clients I am not paying attention to the house. I also let my clients know that I am more than willing to do a walk-through of the house after I have completed the inspection to point out some of the items that they should expect to see on the finished report. Furthermore, I always reassure my clients that I am more than willing to discuss the inspection and the report in detail (after they receive the report the following day) in case there are more questions about the final report. This seems like an appropriate time to note that, if your inspector offers the written report at the end of the actual inspection, your Spidey Senses should be going off because it might mean that there was not a lot of attention paid to the details. My suggestion is to ask about when you will receive your report, prior to hiring your inspector. A typical and acceptable answer is: "within 24 hours".
Your inspector will typically be at the house for about 3 hours, give or take. This is a typical time for a thorough inspection of a 3 bedroom 2 bath house between 1500 and 2500 square feet. If you are attending your inspection, this is a great time for you to become more familiar with your future home and do your own mini inspection. Remember, if you see something that you have a question about, bring it up to your inspector. They should welcome the assistance in looking over the house.
After the Inspection
Once the inspection has been completed and you have your report in-hand, it is time for you and your Realtor to discuss the findings. You will likely see issues on the report that you were not aware of when you made the offer to purchase. Now is the time to make sure that the house you fell in love with, lives up to your expectations. While it is rare, sometimes a major defect is discovered during the inspection. Most of the time the "items" on your report will be typical issues that exist at most homes to some degree. Your Realtor will help guide you through this portion of the process to determine what the correct course of action for your particular situation is.
Your inspector should not make comments on what you should or should not do with respect to the purchase of a property after the inspection, The sole job of the inspector is to perform the inspection and report the findings. Most of the time, if repairs are requested for items discovered during the inspection, your inspector can verify that the repairs were made in a manner that is consistent with common construction practices.
The inspection process can be intimidating, especially for new buyers; but, your Realtor and inspector will be able to help guide you through the process. Above all, your inspector should be available to you whenever you have questions. One of my mottos is: Once you are my client, you are always my client. I am happy to provide all of my clients with outstanding customer service before, during and after their inspection.
I have the experience, training and background to help you better understand your home. If you are in need of an inspection for your current or future home, Noble Inspections is here to help. In addition, if you find yourself with a home related issue at your house and you need help diagnosing the cause of the issue, call me at: 920-253-6278 or send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org