You’ve got an accepted offer and now it’s time for the home inspection. This can be a stressful time for both buyers and sellers as they wait to see what the inspector has to say, and if he finds something that could kill the deal.
As you prepare for this time it’s good to remember that the home inspector is there to tell you about the general health of the home, like your primary care doctor tells you about your general health. If there are issues with the home that require an expert such as HVAC, roof, mold remediation the inspector should recommend that a licensed professional come out to asses the issue.
When it comes to the report a good write up will give you four main points:
What are they inspecting.
Where is it at in the home.
Why is the issue a problem.
How the buyer should consider handing the problem.
For example, in my own home purchase the report informed me that there was a duct vent from the laundry room vent that had fallen in the attic and was not property attached to the roof vent which is there to help prevent excess moisture and other problems. As the buyer they inspector let me know that to handle this problem I needed to have the duct work reattached to the roof vent. It was an easy fix that my husband took care of for me after I moved in.
It doesn’t matter what the item is you should always see a what, where, why it is an issue and what you should do about it. If it is something out of the scope of the home inspector assessing the general health of the home say cracks in the foundation, they should suggest that you get a qualified contractor or engineer to come out and assess the foundation to see if there is an issue or not.
You should also know that there are items that are not in the scope of the home inspectors work. For example if the home were to have a pool and hot tub that would not be something that the home inspector would be looking at. As a buyer you would want to have a pool specialist come out and tell you if the pool was in good mechanical working order.
As a seller the home inspector isn’t there to find all sorts of things to make you fix, and potentially kill the deal. We all love our homes and think that they are in fantastic order, however when we live in them for awhile there are things that we sometimes don’t notice.
Once that home inspection is over it’s time to consider what items you want fixed and what items you can deal with and maybe fix later. I always tell both my buyers and sellers that we ask/fix items that are of a health and safety concern, such as a leaking roof or T111 siding that is rotting at the bottom. If the home is older you may see the inspector indicate that the home lacks GFCI outlets and recommend that they be installed. If they recommend it for the kitchen and bathroom then yes that would fall under the health and safety items as both of those places deal with water. However if the inspector indicates that it should be done through out the home in order to bring it up to code then I like to have a discussion with my sellers/buyers. Codes are constantly changing and home was built to code for the time it was constructed. Health and safety should not constitute bringing the home up to current code. It would be costly as well as very time/labor intensive.
As you prepare for your home inspection please keep these things in mind, and hopefully it will help make the process a little less stressful. You also might consider picking up Matt Fellman’s book Home Inspector Confidential. It provides some fabulous information from a well respected Portland area home inspector.