97% of home-buyers surveyed said that their home inspection was of great value to them in the buying process. And if you’re in the market for a house then you’re going to need to perform a home inspection prior to the close of the sale.
In fact, 90% of home-buyers surveyed said that the home inspection was an absolute necessity, not a luxury.
But how do you make sure that your home inspection is productive and informative? What do you need to do before, during, and after your home inspection?
Read on for our guide on how to do a home inspection the right way! We’ve got all the tips you’ll need to get the most out of your home inspection.
How To Do a Home Inspection
The key to a successful and profitable home inspection is hiring an experienced home inspector.
But even though you’re leaving a lot of work to the professionals there are still some things you need to do to prepare for each part of the inspection process.
Before Your Home Inspection
Do your research! Home inspectors are a dime a dozen but you don’t want to hire just anybody to perform this important task.
The person you hire to do your home inspection will be able to warn you of potential damages that could cost you thousands of dollars. So be thorough in your research process before selecting and contracting a home inspector.
Before hiring a home inspector, make sure to check their website for reviews, years of experience, and other indicators that they’ll be thorough and knowledgeable.
It’s a good idea to contact your top candidates with questions like these:
- How many points of inspection are included in your standard service?
- How long is the typical turn-around time for an inspection report?
- Do they allow you to be present for the inspection or do they prefer to do it alone?
- Are they currently offering any special offers or promotions?
Besides asking these questions you’ll want to evaluate how comfortable the home inspector is to talk to. You will likely have lots of questions during and after the inspection and you’ll want to work with someone who is easy to communicate with and makes you feel comfortable asking questions.
Once you’ve done your research you’ll be able to make an informed decision about who to hire for this vital part of the home-buying process.
You’ll also need to advise the seller of the date and time of the inspection. Ask them to make sure all utilities are on and ask them to make inspection areas accessible (HVAC, furnace, attic, etc.)
During Your Home Inspection
You want to hire a home inspector who allows you to be on site for the inspection process. When the day comes here are things you should bring, expect, and ask.
Here’s what to bring to a home inspection:
- Payment (if you haven’t already paid the inspector)
- Tape measure
- Notepad and pen
- Disclosure documents from the seller
- A water bottle
Most standard home inspections will last about 2-3 hours and include an evaluation of the following parts of the house:
- HVAC system
- Interior plumbing
- Electrical systems
- Roof and attic
- Windows and doors
- And other structural elements
As you go through the house with your home inspector, consider these questions that will help you gain a better understanding of what they are finding:
- How bad is the damage?
- How do we fix that?
- What repair would you do first?
- Can you show me how “blank” works? (systems in the home you’ve never had or used)
- How much longer will this “blank” last? (think roof, HVAC, furnace, patio, etc.)
It’s important to note that most home inspectors will expect to be paid prior to the inspection or on-site, so be prepared for the pre-arranged fee. Most home inspectors will cost anywhere between $300-$600 depending on the size of the house and the number of inspection points.
Here are a few other tips for the day of the home inspection.
- Be a little early! Your home inspector will arrive on time and you don’t want to miss anything.
- Eat beforehand and bring a water bottle. The home inspection will take a few hours and you don’t want to be hungry or thirsty.
After Your Home Inspection
After the home inspection, the inspector will spend several more hours compiling a report that informs you, the seller, and the lender of the results.
You’ll receive this report and as a potential home-buyer, you have 4 options.
- If the repairs are too concerning and/or numerous you have the option of using the “inspection contingency” which allows you to back out of the sale.
- You can present a new offer on the home with a lower price that compensates for the money it will cost to conduct the repairs. The seller can counter or refuse this offer.
- You can ask the seller to perform some specific or all of the repairs prior to the sale. They can also refuse this offer.
- If you’re unconcerned about the repairs and feel the current offer price is still appropriate, you can proceed without changes to your offer.
Your home inspector may even be willing to offer a recommendation on what to do based on his or her experience with those types of repairs and damages.
If you do proceed with the purchase of the home then keep the inspection report for your records.
The keys to a good home inspection are:
- A thorough and experienced home inspector
- Your willingness to ask questions
With those two keys, you can go forward confidently as a home-buyer.
And now that you know how to do a home inspection, you’re ready to go on in your home-buying process!
What’s next? Schedule your home inspection with us today!