Home inspection are an invaluable tool when buying a home. Few buyers have the technical expertise to thoroughly review each major component of a home, and experienced home inspectors follow a rigorous, step-by-step inspection to insure they check everything.
When reading an article on ActiveRain, What is the Realtors Job in a Home Inspection, I was impressed by one inspector's comment. He said when inspecting the exterior of the home, after doing a thorough review walking in one direction, you need to visually inspect the home from the opposite direction to catch things only visible from one angle. That type of experience is why you hire a professional.
In selecting a home inspector, buyers should understand that not all states require home inspectors to be licensed. When hiring any home professional, you should look for someone committed to their profession through membership in an organization like one of those listed here. A good home inspector should also be familiar with local (town) building codes and may also have a general contractor's license.
- American Society of Home Inspectors, ASHI
- National Association of Home Inspectors, NAHI
- International Association of Certified Home Inspectors, InterNACHI
Buyers Should Attend Their Home Inspection
The first lesson I learned is that buyers should participate in their home inspection which I've seldom done, but certainly agree with after owning a handyman business for several years. Here are hints and tips about who should participate in your home inspection and the role each person plays.
- Arrive early and when the seller is home, introduce yourself before starting the inspection. If the buyer will participate, get ladders set up ahead of time to lessen time spent by buyer.
- Some inspectors will provide verbal commentary to the buyer(s) during the inspection while others prefer to focus on the inspection, followed by a review with the buyer, who can then ask questions at the end.
- Provide a written report including photos of all defects, which may be provided on site or often a few days later so the inspector can research things like stoves and/or appliances.
- Provide recommendations on home inspection companies but the final choice must be the buyers. The realtor schedules the home inspection as that requires coordination with the seller.
- Attend inspection and review ground rules with buyer(s) and inspector. Some realtors advise buyers “to watch, take notes and be quiet during the inspection and NOT distract the inspector while working. … Others recommend buyers arrive at the end of the inspection so the inspector can do a walkthrough with them”. The inspector can explain “any shortcomings from minor flaws and imperfections to items that will require immediate attention, . . . and everything in between.”
- Help your buyers understand which concerns are important to focus on, when they otherwise might get overwhelmed with the amount of information being communicated.
- Negotiate resolution of defects with sellers to reach best solution for buyers.
Buyer and Sellers who get an inspection prior to listing their home
- Participate in the home inspection to gain first hand insight into potential problems.