Some Home Inspection Tips for Buyers

Homebuyers want home inspection tips as they consider making a large financial investment. Tips about home inspection are especially valuable for those who have not purchased a house before. This article is intended to provide such readers the most important pointers to follow so that the real estate buying process is not so overwhelming.

The home inspection tips contained herein address three primary concerns, namely, how to select a home inspector, how to ensure you get the inspection you want and need, and how to get the most benefit out of the inspection report. These pointers apply whether or not you are working with a real estate agent. In fact, if you are working with an agent, these tips will help you get more involved so that the agent doesn’t make all or even some decisions unilaterally.

Our first tip is to consider why you should have the house you plan to buy inspected. There are various motives or reasons for doing so, the most common of which is to avoid buying a money pit. Sometimes the lender requires an inspection, and in general it’s a good idea to discover what may need to be remedied prior to closing. Also, though at one time a home warranty policy was commonly incorporated into the purchase agreement (perhaps seller and buyer sharing the cost), today the home inspection is in essence the only step taken to protect one’s investment.

But this makes it all the more important to get a report that covers all the bases and serves as a kind of owner’s manual to help you get acquainted to your new residence. Unfortunately, too often the inspection is somewhat rushed or even cursory. Minor problems might get glossed over and occasionally a serious major defect is missed. In such a case, if damages occur down the road, the buyer has some recourse by filing a claim, assuming the inspector is bonded. But the liability may be limited to the price of the inspection.

So our second tip is to find a home inspector who is thorough and who writes a complete report that puts everything he finds in proper perspective. If something is wrong, it is important to know what the implications are, just how serious the problem is, and how necessary it is to fix it.

To accomplish this, your inspector should not be too beholden to the real estate agent. If his primary goal is to please the agent (so he can continue to get referrals), he may take shortcuts. (Agents in general prefer quick inspections and summarized findings of major issues only.)

Don’t ignore or discount an inspector referral from your agent, but ask for more than one name and research them. (Most inspectors have a website with sample reports, and you may find there or elsewhere reviews or client testimonials appraising their work.) Be sure you are going to get the kind of home inspection you want before choosing the inspector.

Our third tip builds on the first two and is similar to them. The first tip was the why, whereas the second advises care in determining who inspects the house and how it is inspected. This next tip advises taking care to establish what is inspected.

A number of things can cause an inspector to exclude items from the inspection. Examples are Standards of Practice, his contract, the utilities not being on, inaccessibility due to blocking objects or locked doors, and dangerous situations. Some of these things are under the inspector’s control, some are not, but he is not liable for unintended exclusions and will charge the same fee despite them.

Thus, we recommend reviewing the contract carefully, identifying normally excluded items you want included and possibly normally included items you don’t care about. Also, be sure that lender requirements and constraints will be accommodated. Discuss changes to the list of exclusions and inclusions with the inspector, potentially negotiating a reduced inspection fee.

Then, we advise leaving as little to chance as possible. Ask the inspector what his expectations are to ensure that all inclusions are actually inspected. Relay this information to your real estate agent, who is responsible for seeing that the expectations are met by making arrangements with the owner via the owner’s listing agent. Now, any unintended exclusions that arise would suggest a deliberately uncooperative seller.

Our fourth tip is to get maximum leverage out of the inspection report. Study all findings in the body, not just the major items listed in the summary. If you followed our second tip faithfully, there should be nothing unclear, vague, or out of context. Even so, don’t hesitate to ask the inspector for explanations or elaborations, who should be more than willing to comply.

Some findings may be purely informational and not defects. Some defects may be more or less trivial and not worth pursuing. Serious problems can be addressed in three different ways: as deal breakers, causing you to withdraw your offer; as things you want the seller to remedy prior to closing at his expense; or as conditions you will accept possibly with some form of compensation such as reduced sales price.

We advise against sharing the inspection report with the seller or listing agent. You have paid for it and it belongs to you. The lender may require a copy, but you may request him to keep it confidential. Simply work up a brief contract addendum with your agent covering items falling into the last two categories mentioned in the previous paragraph.

By following these home inspection tips, you stand the best chance of minimizing if not eliminating home-buying surprises.

Home Inspection Tips For New Homebuyers

Have you ever purchased a home before? If so, you are probably well versed when it comes to the home inspection process. But on the other hand, if you are new to home buying you may not know a lot about this. Even though the home inspection process is nothing to get worried about, there are some odds and ends to keep in mind. Unfortunately, the inspection could change the way that you finalize a deal for a home.

Here are three home inspection tips to follow.

1. Make sure that you hire an inspector that has a good reputation. In other words, do not use a company that is not going to check every last detail. Remember, the home inspection is your last chance to find problems; big or small. You want to make sure that you are made aware of any issues that could cause a problem later on. This way you can negotiate to have them fixed, or at the very least complete the repairs on your own at a later date.

2. If possible, make sure that you are present during the home inspection. This will give you the chance to speak with the inspector face to face. He or she will be able to tell you what they see, and you will also have the ability to ask questions. While you do not have to be present during the inspection, it usually helps in more ways than one.

3. Follow the advice of your real estate agent. They will be able to tell you which home inspection companies are best, as well as what you should keep an eye out for. And of course, if there are any problems with the home, you should work with your agent to negotiate the repairs with the sellers. It is safe to say that you real estate agent has seen anything and everything as far as a home inspection is concerned.

Overall, these three tips will help you to succeed during the inspection process. If you are buying a home, you definitely want to pay to have it inspected. As long as you are comprehensive with the process, you should not run into any problems.

Home Inspection Tip – Five Home Maintenance Areas That Can Snag the Sale of Your Home

The last thing you want when you’re selling your home is to discover problems that could jeopardize the sale. While a home inspection will reveal the condition of your home, you won’t have to be afraid of issues that come up if you’ve kept your home well maintained. With good home maintenance you can avoid some of the most common imperfections and problems found by home inspectors.

Home maintenance tasks are often put off for various reasons, such as lack of time, lack of money, or simply lack of interest. However, when it comes time to sell your home and you know buyers are looking, it’s time to take care of business.

The little things that nag you may be major issues to a prospective home buyer, and they could cost you the sale. You can eliminate the vast majority of problems and stress by checking on five important areas.

1. Dirty filter and coils in the furnace, air conditioning or heat pump system. Having your heating and cooling system serviced by a professional once a year should take care of this problem. You should also clean or replace filters every one to three months, depending on the requirements of your system. This is important for long life of your unit, efficiency, fuel savings, and the assurance you’ll have proper heating and cooling in your home.

2. Poor Caulking of Ceramic Tile in the Tub and Shower Area. It can cost thousands of dollars to repair or replace a rotted shower wall. You can avoid this by caulking tiled areas for a few dollars. If you can see a crack in the calk or grout, you know it’s large enough for water to get in.

3. Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCI) not Functioning properly. Those electrical outlets with the “Press” and “Test” buttons are GFCI’s. They’re very important in reducing or preventing the chance of electrocution. Push the “Test” button to see if the GFCI’s are working as they should. If not, they’re inexpensive to replace and should only take about fifteen minutes to install. If you have questions or concerns, call a professional electrician.

4. Wood rot. This is a big one, and it can snag the sale of your home. What inspector wouldn’t love to report that a home is free of wood rot and structural damage? Selling your home can be made simpler and more enjoyable if you are knowledgeable about preventative maintenance. For example, have a good moisture barrier under the crawl space. Keep an eye out for leaks around windows, doors and the roof.

5. Amateur Workmanship. Did you weekend handyman brother-in-law help you remodel the kitchen last year? When amateurs do home projects, often the materials used aren’t right for the intended purpose, or they’re of poor quality, or both. Inspections are seldom performed or permits obtained when such projects are done by amateurs. Unfortunately amateur work can complicate a closing.

Be sure to keep your home in good shape to make things go smoothly for your home inspector and for the selling process as a whole. You’ll be glad you did.