What to Expect During Inspections?

From finding an inspector to dealing with surprises — this is your guide to getting a house checked out.

The first thing you need to know about home inspection: You’ll feel all the feels.

There’s the excitement — the inspection could be the longest time you’re in the house, after the showing.

Right behind that comes … anxiety. What if the inspector finds something wrong? So wrong you can’t buy the house?

Then there’s impatience. Seriously, is this whole home-buying process over yet?

Not yet. But you’re close. So take a deep breath. Because the most important thing to know about home inspection: It’s just too good for you, as a buyer, to skip. Here’s why.

A Home Inspector Is Your Protector

An inspector helps you make sure a house isn’t hiding anything before you commit for the long haul. (Think about it this way: You wouldn’t even get coffee with a stranger without checking out their history.)

A home inspector identifies any reasonably discoverable problems with the house (a leaky roof, faulty plumbing, etc.). Hiring an inspector is you doing your due diligence. To find a good one (more on how to do that soon), it helps to have an understanding of what the typical home inspection entails.

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Your dream kitchen might end up being a nightmare.

An inspection is all about lists.  

Before an inspection, the home inspector will review the seller’s property disclosure statement. (Each state has its own requirements for what sellers must disclose on these forms; some have stronger requirements than others.) The statement lists any flaws the seller is aware of that could negatively affect the home’s value.

The disclosure comes in the form of an outline, covering such things as:

  • Mold
  • Pest infestation
  • Roof leaks
  • Foundation damage
  • Other problems, depending on what your state mandates.

During the inspection, an inspector has three tasks — to:

  1. Identify problems with the house that he or she can see
  2. Suggest fixes
  3. Prepare a written report, usually with photos, noting observed defects

This report is critical to you and your agent — it’s what you’ll use to request repairs from the seller. (We’ll get into how you’ll do that in a minute, too.)

The Inspector Won’t Check Everything

Generally, inspectors only examine houses for problems that can be seen with the naked eye. They won’t be tearing down walls or using magical X-ray vision, to find hidden faults.

Inspectors also won’t put themselves in danger. If a roof is too high or steep, for example, they won’t climb up to check for missing or damaged shingles. They’ll use binoculars to examine it instead.

They can’t predict the future, either. While an inspector can give you a rough idea of how many more years that roof will hold up, he or she can’t tell you exactly when it will need to be replaced.

Finally, home inspectors are often generalists. A basic inspection doesn’t routinely include a thorough evaluation of:

  • Swimming pools
  • Wells
  • Septic systems
  • Structural engineering work
  • The ground beneath a home
  • Fireplaces and chimneys

When it comes to wood-burning fireplaces, for instance, most inspectors will open and close dampers to make sure they’re working, check chimneys for obstructions like birds’ nests, and note if they believe there’s reason to pursue a more thorough safety inspection.

If you’re concerned about the safety of a fireplace, you can hire a certified chimney inspector for about $125 to $325 per chimney; find one through the Chimney Safety Institute of America.

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What is lurking in that fireplace?

It’s Your Job to Check the Inspector

Now you’re ready to connect with someone who’s a pro at doing all of the above. Here’s where — once again — your real estate agent has your back. He or she can recommend reputable home inspectors to you.

In addition to getting recommendations (friends and relatives are handy for those, too), you can rely on online resources such as the American Society of Home Inspectors’ (ASHI) Find a Home Inspector tool, which lets you search by address, metro area, or neighborhood.

You’ll want to interview at least three inspectors before deciding whom to hire. During each chat, ask questions such as:

  • Are you licensed or certified? Inspector certifications vary, based on where you live. Not every state requires home inspectors to be licensed, and licenses can indicate different degrees of expertise. ASHI lists each state’s requirements here.
  • How long have you been in the business? Look for someone with at least five years of experience — it indicates more homes inspected.
  • How much do you charge? The average home inspection costs about $315. For condos and homes under 1,000 square feet, the average cost is $200. Homes over 2,000 square feet can run $400 or more. (Figures are according to HomeAdvisor.com.)
  • What do you check, exactly? Know what you’re getting for your money.
  • What don’t you check, specifically? Some home inspectors are more thorough than others.
  • How soon after the inspection will I receive my report? Home inspection contingencies require you to complete the inspection within a certain period of time after the offer is accepted — normally five to seven days — so you’re on a set timetable. A good home inspector will provide you with the report within 24 hours after the inspection.
  • May I see a sample report? This will help you gauge how detailed the inspector is and how he or she explains problems.

Sometimes you can find online reviews of inspectors on sites like Angie’s List and Yelp, too, if past clients’ feedback is helpful in making your decision.

Show Up for Inspection (and Bring Your Agent)

It’s inspection day, and the honor of your — and your agent’s — presence is not required, but highly recommended. Even though you’ll receive a report summarizing the findings later on, being there gives you a chance to ask questions, and to learn the inner workings of the home.

Block out two to three hours for the inspection. The inspector will survey the property from top to bottom. This includes checking water pressure; leaks in the attic, plumbing, etc.; if door and window frames are straight (if not, it could be a sign of a structural issue); if electrical wiring is up to code; if smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working; if appliances work properly. Outside, he or she will look at things like siding, fencing, and drainage.

The inspector might also be able to check for termites, asbestos, lead paint, or radon. Because these tests involve more legwork and can require special certification, they come at an additional charge.

Get Ready to Negotiate

Once you receive the inspector’s report, review it with your agent.

Legally, sellers are required to make certain repairs. These can vary depending on location. Most sales contracts require the seller to fix:

  • Structural defects
  • Building code violations
  • Safety issues

Most home repairs, however, are negotiable. Be prepared to pick your battles: Minor issues, like a cracked switchplate or loose kitchen faucet, are easy and cheap to fix on your own. You don’t want to start nickel-and-diming the seller.

If there are major issues with the house, your agent can submit a formal request for repairs that includes a copy of the inspection report. Repair requests should be as specific as possible. For instance: Instead of saying “repair broken windows,” a request should say “replace broken window glass in master bathroom.”

  • If the seller agrees to make all of your repair requests: He or she must provide you with invoices from a licensed contractor stating that the repairs were made. Then it’s full steam ahead toward the sale.
  • If the seller responds to your repair requests with a counteroffer: He or she will state which repairs (or credits at closing) he or she is willing to make. The ball is in your court to either agree, counter the seller’s counteroffer, or void the transaction.

At the end of the day, remember to check in with yourself to see how you’re feeling about all of this. You need to be realistic about how much repair work you’d be taking on. At this point in the sale, there’s a lot of pressure from all parties to move into the close. But if you don’t feel comfortable, speak up.

The most important things to remember during the home inspection? Trust your inspector, trust your gut, and lean on your agent — they likely have a lot of experience to support your decision-making.

That’s something to feel good about.

Article by HouseLogic

Trusted Home Inspectors:

Diamond Property Inspections

Legacy Home Inspections

Why didn’t you use me as your Realtor?

I was recently approached by a family member who wanted to apologize for not using me as their Realtor when they sold their house.  I get it.  I really do.  Do you know how many real estate agents I knew before I got into the business, tons. They are everywhere and I know that.  Let me tell you a secret, working with close friends and family is extremely stressful.  I feel more pressure to sell or find a home for my brother or best friend. It’s true.

In my short 2 years as a licensed Realtor I have found a solution, referrals.  Before I went to real estate school, and yes I went to ReeceNichols Real Estate School, I didn’t even know that referrals existed in this industry.  For example:

My best friends are getting a divorce and they need to sell their family home.  Obviously I don’t want to get involved in this transaction for so many different reasons.  There is so much stress, emotions, financial issues, and personal information involved in a normal real estate transaction but would be at an all time high while doing it during a divorce.  In this case I would REFER my friends to a amazing agent that can get the job done for them.  And the bonus is, I get a referral fee from that agent without being involved in the transaction.  Everyone wins.

In my small community in Piper, there are 5,657 real estate agents.  Some good, some not so good, some full time, and some part time.  What I am saying is that there is a lot of competition but we still are all working together for our clients.  The point of this post was to let you know that yes, sometimes it hurts that a friend or member of my family goes with another agent but I understand.  If I can’t help you, at least let me find a great agent that will be a great fit.

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Happy Holidays

It’s that time of year again, holiday parties, holiday events for children, booze, food, and presents!  I do enjoy the holidays because we get to see so much of our families and my girls love any chance they get to see all their cousins.  Well, for me, their is always delicious food and drink around as well.  Let’s just say that if you are a master at making peanut butter balls, I would love you forever.

So this year I started my new career in real estate and it has gone pretty well I think.  I have learned A LOT and realized that there is much more stress than I was expecting.  One thing I have learned that carries over to both my personal life and my career, surround yourself with like-minded people.  People that make you better as a person.  People that have similar goals.  People that have similar morals. People that will make me better.  Once I realized that I was letting the same people in my life upset me or make me feel bad about myself, I walked away.  It took me years to finally realize that nothing was going to change on its own, I had to do the changing.  Now, I’m surrounding myself with some awesome people and there is almost zero drama.  I am almost 37 years old and there is no room for drama in my life (unless it’s from my 6 or 8 year old).

I truly believe that it should be the same in your professional life.  The reason I choose my current brokerage is because I wanted to work with some of the best people in real estate.  I wanted to pick the brains of all these multi-million dollar producers who had been in the business for over ten years.  My motto was, if I’m going to be the best, I have to work with the best.  I think a lot of real estate agents get a bad reputation for being snotty, standoffish, and selfish.  Believe me, there are plenty of those still in the business but for the most part, the successful agents are there to help.  I have learned a lot from my fellow associates at RE/MAX and I don’t think I would have been as successful my first year if I had gone somewhere else.

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In the past couple months I have jumped on the Rachel Hollis train and I’m loving it!  If you haven’t read Girl, Wash Your Face then you are missing out.  She also has a podcast that is fun and inspiring to listen to.  I’ve been staying positive, setting goals for myself, and holding myself accountable more.  I’m still working on the whole “working out everyday” thing but I’ll get there (hopefully)!  What I’m trying to say is that, she has inspired me to be better and sometimes that is all we need.  I have big plans for myself in 2019, and I can’t wait to start crushing it.  Stay tuned…