Should you attend a home inspection?
We are excited for you to get to know your future home in detail during the home inspection. Familiarizing yourself with the home will give you valuable information about its quality. The home inspection also provides an opportunity to instill confidence about home ownership and the maintenance that comes with it.
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A home is likely the biggest investment of your life. We strongly recommend that you personally attend the home inspection. If you are unable to attend the inspection, we recommend that you send a trusted friend or relative who can relay noted deficiencies and communicate additional insights from the inspector.
Most home inspectors provide a digital home inspection report with lots of pictures and even videos. These reports can be quite thorough, but it is much better to see any issues in person and be able to have questions answered on the spot.
How long does a home inspection take?
It depends. Inspection times increase with the size of the home. A general home inspection typically takes 3 hours. Plan for additional time if a sewer scope is also scheduled. Inspectors might come by at different times to set up or pick up testing instruments for certain tests like radon. You don’t necessarily need to be there for those events unless you’d like to attend. You will always receive a written report or a video.
Tips for attending your home inspection
- Bring a hard copy of the seller’s property disclosure or any other due diligence documents that you have received (for example: disclosure of certain repairs in the home).
- Consider ordering a CLUE report for the home. It’s basically a car fax report but for your house. Has there been damage reported that the owner did not list? Any insurance claims paid but not repaired? Bring it with you to the inspection.
- Highlight any questions you have about the disclosures, repairs and/or additions to the home. It’s especially important to verify that permits were pulled and finalized by your local regional building department.
- It’s best to point out your questions to the home inspector at the beginning so that the concerns can be addressed as the inspector gets to the specific areas.
- Wear comfortable shoes and clothing that you don’t mind getting dirty. It is not unusual for home buyers to climb into a crawl space with the inspector because this is where your furnace might be located.
- Consider bringing a measuring tape to take needed measurements (for window dressings, planning furniture placement, etc) just in case it’s tough to get permission to get into the home another day.
- Take pictures of things that you’d like to change before you move in. It’s especially important to take pictures of the appliances that are currently in the home to make sure they are the same ones on closing day (we’ve heard stories of sellers switching out appliances before closing). Alternatively, you can ask the inspector to take pictures of all appliances that convey with the home. You’ll want to have the brand name and model.
- Bring friends. The inspection isn’t a party, but bring a friend who is knowledgeable about home construction and repair. They will be able to provide opinions on any issues found during the inspection.
- I do not recommend bringing in contractors during the inspection. I would wait until after the inspection and/or appraisal.
- Be prepared to pay for your inspection at the time of service or before. Most inspectors have systems in place to pay online.
- Curb your expectations:
- Your inspector cannot see through walls.
- Your inspector cannot predict the future. Your home inspector will reveal any short comings in the home that they can see at that moment or time or reasonably predict (for example, an inspector can tell you that a furnace is fine for now but will probably need to be replaced soon). A clean inspection doesn’t necessarily mean there will be zero issues in the future.
- In general, do not expect to see cosmetic items to listed in the general inspection report. While some home inspectors will call out certain cosmetic defects, others will not. A lot depends on the age and condition of the home you are purchasing. Exterior flaking paint usually does get a mention in the report.
Most likely you’ll receive your inspection report the same day as the inspection or within 24 hours after service.
Remember: No home is perfect and this is not the time to nitpick a home. You stand a higher chance of getting your requested repairs done by listing only your top 5 concerns and taking care of smaller issues yourself.