Getting a proper home inspection is a huge part of both purchasing and selling a home. A good home inspection should be more than an evaluation of the structural integrity of your home; it should be a lesson in how to care for your property and get the most out of your investment.
Read on to find out the things you never want to do when getting a home inspection.
1. Choosing the wrong inspector
Being a home inspector isn’t an easy job. They need to be up-to-date on current laws and codes, they need to know what to look for, and they need to be able to communicate the problems they see effectively. It’s important to shop around to find a quality inspector and not just jump on the first recommendation you hear about.
Bankrate advises buyers and sellers to ask these questions before choosing an inspector: How long have you been inspecting homes? How many inspections have you done? What are your qualifications, certifications and training? What was your job before you were a home inspector (ideally, it would be in contracting or building)?
2. Skipping the actual inspection
It’s often not mandatory to be present at a home inspection, but it’s a good idea. You don’t need to hover over your inspector during the entire process (it could take up a whole morning or afternoon), but be available to talk things over once they finish the inspection. Just looking at their report isn’t enough.
The Realty Times says, “From experience, I can tell you that those written reports can either make a small issue look huge, or a huge issue look small. So, make sure you are able to understand the issue clearly by seeing it with your own two eyes.”
3. Not inspecting new construction
If a home was just built, you may think there’s no need to have it inspected. But The Realty Times will tell you that you’re wrong. “Homebuyers are notorious for making the mistake of not having new construction inspected,” says Writer Emily Benner. “Most assume that it must be in good shape in order to pass all local ordinances and codes. Well, unfortunately that is sometimes not the case.” Just because a home is up to code doesn’t mean there’s nothing wrong with it. Often, your inspector is the one person who can really tell you what’s structurally wrong with your home.
4. Skimming the inspection report
Even if you do attend the inspection — but especially if you didn’t — it’s important to go over the inspection report thoroughly. A good inspector will use clear, concise language (i.e., the report shouldn’t be difficult to understand). “Reports are often in digital format, with photos to illustrate the home’s strengths and weaknesses,” says Alden E. Gibson, president of the American Society of Home Inspectors and president of Inspections by Gibson. Whatever format it comes in, make sure you can understand your inspection report.
5. Not prepping the home
This sounds basic, but your home needs to be inspection-ready prior to the inspection. You’d be surprised how many homeowners are ill-prepared. First on the list of prepping duties includes ensuring crawl spaces and basements are easily accessible. American Home Inspection Training says “inspectors are peeved when homeowners don’t prepare the house,” so do what you can to create an efficient, easy, friendly inspection prior to your inspector showing up.
6. Taking the inspector’s recommendations lightly
Thankfully, as a buyer, it’s not your job to negotiate and find solutions for the issues that come up with the house — it’s your agent’s. But through the negotiation process, it’s not uncommon for certain issues to just never be fully resolved or addressed. When this happens, buyers don’t follow up on those items before closing the property.
When you do come across an issue that has more or less been swept under the rug during negotiations, look to an expert for help. The Realty Times recommends “bringing in different experts to address specific issues found by the inspector (plumber, electrician, roofer, etc). Many of these contractors will give you a free inspection/estimate — sometimes all you have to do is ask.”
7. Skipping a pre-sale inspection
When selling a home, it isn’t uncommon for the sellers to leave the inspection to the buyers. But when sellers don’t elect to get their home inspected first, they’ll be rushed and have little time to mend any issues that come up during the inspection, which could negatively affect a sale. “Both buyers and sellers often wait too long to engage an inspector. You should find an inspector long before you have (or make) an offer,” says Gibson. “Some buyers and sellers will wait for the second-to-last day before they even call. Any good inspector will be booked out.”