Now that you have a contract on your home, its time to prepare for a Home Inspection.
Home Sellers may think that a Home Inspector will look and look until they find something. This is not the case. Basically Home Inspectors have a system where they go from room to room, attic, basement, Mechanical items to perform their inspection. In the Kitchen, they will set the oven to 350 and put in a thermometer and see where the oven heats up to, they will look at the seals, at the burners, verify if it is properly anchored to the wall or cabinets and report the findings. They will open and shut all the windows and test the latches, open and close all the doors and verify they latch correctly, they turn on the furnace and verify it ignites, heats and has proper Gas or electrical connections and if there are any gas or exhaust leaks. They inspect the exterior for cracks, high soil, rotted or damaged wood & Siding. Visually inspect the roof, look for any areas not sealed .
It helps to prepare for the inspection to eliminate some of the problems that may come up.
- If your Electrical panel has access blocked by Boxes, Bicycles, Shelving, car, then the inspector cannot inspect it. There needs to be at least 3' of open space around it. If the inspector cannot get to it, then they will omit this part of the inspection and you most likely will have to pay an additional fee for him to come out again or have a licensed electrician inspect and repair any defects or wrongly installed items.
- Make sure you have all utilities on at time of inspection. sometimes vacant homes do not have Water, Electric or Gas Service active. These need to be on for the inspector, and if not, you most likely will have to pay an additional fee for him to come out again and test the items after the services are turned on. Important Note, if the gas has been turned off, make sure all pilot lights are lit for the furnaces and water heaters. Inspectors will not ignite them and just list the item as not working.
- Don't hang around and talk to the inspector. Many times, home sellers will talk to much or try to defend why something is the way it is. Just let the inspector do his job, he has been hired by the buyers and his only duties are to them. If you disagree with anything he reports, let your real estate agent work with the buyer's agent to resolve.
- Don't try to hide a known defects. It will be discovered and then the buyers will think more things are hidden and may terminate the contract.
- If there are easy fixes, doors not latching, cabinet doors staying ajar, broken electrical face plates, dripping faucets, slow draining sinks or tubs, burned out light bulbs ( inspectors list these as non function light switches ) , broken sprinkler heads, and items like this, fix them your self or have a handyman come in for a couple of hours and get them done. Buyers do not like to see long lists of Deferred Maintenance items and may drop out of contract if the list is long and they just do not want to deal with all of them.
- Have your pets in kennels or take them out for the day. Inspectors will be in and out of your house many times and will go from front yard to back and have the gate open. It just makes it easier and safer for your pets.
I like to judge repair items as being
- Safety - anything that is unsafe in Electrical, non functioning alarms, Water Heater install problems, doors, fire hazards
- Structural - Wood Rot, Slab, Roof, room additions properly done, stucco, cracks in bricks & siding
- Water penetration - sealing around windows, doors, exterior lights, A/C piping, gutters, yard slope and drainage
- Things that Don't work - A/C, Heating, Water heaters, Kitchen appliances, light switches, pool equipment
Ever so often a buyer will want everything fixed on the report, but usually they are concerned with the most important items. The Repair request is negotiable. Work with your realtor and work out an agreement if possible.
I like to compare an inspector as a "Jack of All Trades, But Master of None" so if they report your HVAC not functioning, then have a licensed HVAC Tech check it out. You can submit their report to counter the Inspectors opinion. Same with a Licensed Electrician, Plumber or Pool Service Company. Their inspections will out weigh an Inspector.