Ask anyone who has been through the home buying process lately, and you’ll understand how there is even more to think about than there was a few years ago. As mortgage lenders have become more conservative, and must follow stricter rules, there are so many documents to think about and timelines to meet that it’s a stressful event for even the most organized home buyer. As the clock ticks forward to the closing date, it may seem wise to wait for the inspection report, rather than accompany your inspector through a tour of the home. But meeting with the inspector is critical. Here are 8 tips on making the most of the inspection.
1) Make The Inspection A Priority
In reality, potential home owners should consider a meeting with the home inspector at the top of their list of things to do. While the inspector will probably have spent a few hours prior to your meeting probing different areas of the home, a tour through the home with the inspector provides knowledge you can use to leverage your negotiations with parties involved. And as important as negotiations are, the information you gain through a professional home inspection helps you understand more fully the condition of the home and the systems involved.
2) Prepare A Map For The Future
A home inspection might be compared to an annual physical. It’s an education on the condition of the house – not only structurally, but also the various systems throughout the house that make it work – plumbing, electrical, HVAC, foundation, roofing – areas of the house that may not be immediately visible to the buyer. The information you get from the home inspection helps you prepare for the future – both strategically and financially.
3) Ask Questions
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. The home inspector will know more about the house than you do. You’ve hired an inspector specifically for his expertise. So ask questions. In fact, it’s quite likely that as you first viewed the house, some questions came to mind. When that happens, start a list – on your phone or in a notebook. If a room seems out of place, ask about it. It might be an addition. Did the floor squeak as your walked through the house? Write that down too. Perhaps there was one room that smelled musty. Writing down the first impressions so you can ask later is a valuable exercise in learning as much as possible about the home you intend to buy.
4) Probe Further
As you tour the home with the inspector, ask a few more questions if he or she points out an area of concern. How serious an issue is this? If your daughter was buying this house, what would you say to her?
5) Take Photos
Your inspector will take photos. But you can too. They are a good way to jog your memory later.
6) Store In Your Memory Bank
While viewing the house with the inspector, note the controls he points out – the breaker panel, emergency water shut-off, the furnace switch – knowing where these items are will save time and effort later.
7) Don’t Get Mired In Details
No home is perfect. The inspector will likely point out many items that you need to know about, but in the overall scheme of things are pretty minor. Addressing major issues are top priority. This is especially true of the issues affecting the health or safety of the occupants.
8) Consider Areas You May Not See
Ask for feedback on the roof, basement, attic, plumbing and electrical work. While you may or may not have had the opportunity to view these areas, you need to know their condition. Information provided by the inspector will be helpful for future decisions.
You are paying for the home inspection. The feedback you get is valuable. And the more effort you put into the inspection, the more information you receive.