What buyers should know about home inspection

Congratulations you have a home under contract. Here’s what is important for you to know about the home inspection. If you are like most buyers you only have a house inspected a handful of times in your life. What do you should you know about the process. Remember the inspector does not know the house. They spend several hours in the home to learn all that they can about the house in that amount of time.

They can only inspect what they can see

The inspector can only inspect what they can see. If the house is over crowded they are not allowed to move stuff all around, pull up carpet to see what is underneath. If you are hoping the house inspector can tell you if there is hardwood under the carpet, you have the wrong guy. It is not your home yet, so they cannot do damage to the home. Remember the inspection is to be non-invasive, visual inspection of the home.

Show up for inspection-wrap up

You are welcome to be present at the inspection, but let the inspector do their job and give them some space. No-one likes someone looking over their shoulder. The best way I have found is to let the inspector inspect the property and then stop by for the “wrap up.” This is when the inspector can show you the results and what they have found. You are able to get your questions answered at this time also. Before you hire and inspector make sure that they are willing to have you show up for “wrap up.”

Inspectors cannot predict the future

An inspector cannot predict the future. The job of the inspector is to assess the property and its condition on the date of the inspection. They might be able to provide you with their best guess as to what might happen in the future based on what they find the day of the inspection. But it is the inspector’s best guess and not a prediction. You cannot use the inspectors best guess to ask for the seller to repair or replace things nor can you hold the inspector liable for something that does eventually happen a week or a year after the inspection.

Another inspection might be recommended

As the buyer, you can be surprised when the inspector suggestions another inspection. Remember that the home inspector is a generalist. They know a bit about everything but not a lot about everything. The inspector may recommend that you get the roof inspected by a roofer. Or they see a concern with the wiring, and suggest an electrician look at the situation and give their recommendations. Please do not look at this as the inspector not doing their job and handing off responsibility to someone else. They are instead doing their job and catching an issue and recommending that you get a second more qualified assessment from a professional in a specific field.

Things sound worse than they are

After the inspection things sound worse than they are. You talk to the inspector and they start pointing out all of the things that are wrong. They also mention things in the house past the end of “useful life.” For example, the furnace is past its “useful life.” Does this mean fix as soon as possible? Ask the inspector questions to find out what needs to be fixed right away and what can be budgeted for the future. Remember that inspectors often list everything that they come across in the inspection report. They do this because they do not want someone coming back and saying that they failed to mention something. This doesn’t mean that hundreds of things are wrong with the house. This also doesn’t mean you need to prepare a laundry list of items to ask the owner to repair, replace or credit money to be done after closing. Creating a laundry list can hurt, more than help. Talk to your agent and develop a strategy to accomplish what you need. Now you know what is important to know about the home inspection, you are ready!