Getting the dog is a big investment! I sometimes feel like people think longer and harder about owning a dog than they do a home. Maybe it's realistic, or maybe it just seems less complicated!
Ten Checklist Items For Inspections
10 Key Checklist Items For Home Inspections
Homebuyers depend on a home inspection to ensure that they don’t buy a home that needs more repairs than they can possibly afford. When you’re buying a house, you want to know that it is sound, especially when it comes to the foundation, the roof, plumbing, electrical, etc. When you get a good deal on a home, it can turn into a really bad deal if it needs a new roof or other major repairs.
A professional home inspector is trained to find these problems and make a recommendation to the potential buyer. That way, you have the opportunity to either cancel the purchase contract or perform the repairs. In some cases, your real estate broker can go back to the sellers and either ask them to pay for the repairs or lower the price to account for the additional expense. Often, sellers would prefer to make an adjustment or have the repairs performed themselves rather than lose the sale.
If they do opt for the repairs, don’t forget to have another home inspection to make sure the repairs have been performed correctly. So, here are ten important things to know prior to having a home inspection on your future home:
1. Check with Angie’s List or HomeAdvisor
Get a recommendation for a reputable home inspector from someone other than your real estate broker. Although most real estate brokers should be able to offer you up to three inspectors referrals, some realtors use one that will help them push the deal through. Just protect yourself and ask around before you go with the first recommendation.
2. Be there or be sorry
Attendance at your inspection is not mandatory, but it’s an excellent idea. Just reading the report may not be enough for getting the full picture and seeing is understanding. If the home inspector doesn’t want you to follow him or her around, that in itself is suspect. Ask yourself why and you probably won’t come up with a valid answer any more than the inspector can. And, feel free to ask questions. You’re paying for the inspection, so you should at least be able to do that. The inspection will take an entire morning or an afternoon.
3. Allow Enough Time
Depending on the size of the house, the inspection should require a full morning or afternoon, so be sure to allow yourself enough time to be there for the entire inspection. Some inspectors make it a habit of sitting down with the homebuyer following the inspection to explain everything and answer questions. A good inspector can offer estimates of the amount of money that the necessary repairs and/or upgrades could cost and put this in writing for the purpose of going back to the seller.
4. Take Notes
Your inspector will probably give you a written list of suggestions, but often he or she will say something that you need to remember for later. For example, they may make say your roof is flat but in good shape so watch for leaf build up. Or they may point out a pipe that has a u section that may get clogged and is an easy fix later if you should have issues rather than hiring a plumber for an expensive fix. Garbage disposals often need to be replaced with time, so have him/her show you what will fit at a later time. I made this mistake and had to return to the store after trying to install one that the plumbing wasn't in the right place for the larger unit I bought.
5. Read the Report
Some buyers only take the time to give the inspection report a quick glance. Your home inspector should use language that is clear and concise. Knowledgeable home inspection professionals will usually state in easy-to-understand language exactly what is wrong the house and what it could take to fix it. Go online and look at some inspection reports to familiarize yourself with reading them. These days, many home inspection reports are presented in a digital format, so photos can be attached to show both the strengths and the weaknesses of the home. And, a picture is worth a thousand words, so ask the home inspection professional if they can give you a digital report complete with pictures.
6. Ask the Seller to Prep the Home
Inspectors really don’t like it when the homeowners haven’t prepared the home for an inspection. If the sellers really want the sale to go through, they will cooperate and make sure that the inspector can get to all necessary areas of the home. He or she shouldn’t have to take all the stuff out of the closet to get up into the attic. Or, if a shed, basement or closet is locked, how can an inspector possibly do the job? So, advise the sellers that the home needs to be prepped for a proper and thorough home inspection. Have the seller inform you of secret spaces or where to find items that may be difficult to find.
7. Safety First
Watch to make sure that your home inspection includes everything related to the safety of your family. Things like smoke detectors and locations, fire doors where necessary, egress in bedrooms, ground fault interrupters, and safety glass are important. In addition, stairs are often overlooked by buyers. Just because they look good doesn’t mean that they’re safe. So, make sure the inspector checks the railings, stair height, and angles. Even an improperly installed handrail could catch on someone’s clothes and cause them to fall down the stairs or give way if someone leans on it.
8. Home Systems
HVAC, plumbing, electrical are all important systems that the home inspection should include. Make sure that they are all thoroughly inspected by watching your inspector and asking questions.
9. Hiring Additional Professionals
Some items could require additional professionals, such as roofs, swimming pools and their equipment, sewers or septic tanks, sprinkler systems, and of course a termite inspection. Make sure that you ask your home inspection professional for recommendations in these areas.
Do your research on any professional that you hire for an inspection prior to hiring them. Don’t just take one person's word for it. Ask how many inspections the candidate has actually done and check online for recommendations.
Tamara Whelpley has lived and worked in Denver and Boulder for over 30 years and is an expert in Washington Park, Cherry Creek, Highlands and throughout the Denver corridor. Consulting is her top pri....