Buyer Step by Step November 20, 2018

Step 14: Attending the Home Inspection

Attending the home inspection is one of the most important parts of buying a new home. It’s a huge financial investment with long term repercussions and you want to make sure the home you’re buying is in good shape. Therefore, I feel strongly that buyers should always be at the home inspection.

While your inspector is inspecting the home, you have an opportunity to measure windows and spaces, get to know the home, and make plans. There is a verbal inspection summary at the end of the inspection. Inspectors appreciate this time with you to share their findings and answer your questions about the home, so please, ask them!

Yes, you’ll get the written report, but it doesn’t give you nearly as clear of a picture of the condition of the house as being there to see any problems for yourself and ask the inspector follow up questions. Unless you’re extremely knowledgeable about home construction, it’s difficult to understand which items in the inspection report are big problems or defects, and which are really minor issues. It’s easy to get worked up about ungrounded outlets, but not realize that the water seepage in the basement is a much bigger and more extensive problem to fix.

Here is our list of TIPS for attending the home inspection:

  1. Inspections of condos take approximately 2 hours and single-family home/multi-unit buildings generally take about 3 hours. Plan to be there the entire time.

  2. Wear comfortable clothes and shoes that can get dirty as the inspector may ask you to crawl in the basement or get up in the attic to see any problems.

  3. The inspector isn’t psychic. He can only see obvious defects and cannot see what is going on inside the walls with plumbing, electrical, etc. Therefore, having a clean inspection report doesn’t mean you won’t ever have a problem with a home. It just means what can be seen seems to be in good shape.

  4. Don’t be afraid to ask questions of the inspector, especially if you don’t understand what he is explaining to you. It’s crucial you understand each issue and whether it’s a minor issue or an expensive repair.

  5. Bring a tape measure with you to take any needed room measurements as we may not be able to get back into the home until the walkthrough before closing. In addition, if you want family/friends to see the home, especially if you want their input on inspection items, furniture placement, decorating, etc., it’s best to bring them to the inspection as well.

  6. If you are planning on having any work done to the home, it’s best to arrange for contractors, painters, floor refinishers, and others to come by sometime during the inspection to give you estimates. If you need referrals for service providers, please let me know.

  7. Bring your checkbook with you as most inspectors require payment at the end of the inspection.

  8. Inspection reports are generally emailed to you within 2 days after the inspection. We’ll then set up a time to discuss any items we want to ask the seller to fix, or whether we want the seller to give us a closing cost credit instead.

  9. Remember that the point of the inspection is to:

    1. Discover safety issues

    2. See if there are any structural issues

    3. Discover any needed repairs to the working components

We are NOT there to nitpick the paint colors, the dent in the fridge door, the furnace that needs to be cleaned or the gutters that need to be swept out. Unless you are buying a new construction, no home is going to be perfect. We need to accept the house with its cosmetic flaws or find another house. Remember, we are mainly concerned with safety issues and systems that aren’t working.

IMPORTANT: Take pictures and measurements of every room and closet in the property. You’ll want to refer to these later when planning where to put furniture, whether to update paint colors or add shelving in closets!