1. You Can Choose Your Inspector
Many first-time buyers rely on their real estate agent to choose a home inspector. However, this isn’t required. Like any profession, different inspectors have varying skills, training, and experience. Look online for reviews and ask friends and family members for references.
Talk to your home inspector to verify that he or she is available to perform the inspection before your closing date. Ask to see a sample report to make sure you understand how the inspector’s findings will be presented.
2. Attend Your Home Inspection
When you’re buying a house, you’ll have a lot on your to-do list. However, if you can spare time to attend the inspection, it will benefit you and help you make decisions about your purchase. Your home inspector will explain the problems and safety concerns that he or she will document in the report. When you attend the inspection, you’ll be able to see the issues first-hand.
3. Home Inspections Have Limitations
While there is much that home inspectors will report on, there are also things they don’t do. For instance, the inspector isn’t required to move furniture to perform the inspection. He or she may not walk the roofing if the surface is covered in snow or ice or deemed otherwise unsafe. The inspector also won’t damage the property in an attempt to troubleshoot a potential problem. If you attend the inspection, ask your inspector if you notice something that concerns you.
4. Your Home Inspection Can Take Hours
On average, a thorough home inspection takes two to four hours. Be patient with your inspector and give him or her space to examine all aspects of the property. This isn’t a process that should be hurried.
When scheduling your inspection, ask when you should arrive. Some inspectors prefer to complete the inspection alone and then walk you through the property and show you the findings afterward. Other home inspectors may be open to you joining for the entire inspection process, but this will take up much more of your time.
5. Read the Entire Report
A report summary is a convenient and quick overview of the findings. However, the summary will only capture significant issues. Read the entire report to learn about other minor defects. The complete report gives you a better idea of the condition of the house and helps you plan for repairs and maintenance over the long term.