A home inspection is an integral part of a real estate transaction. It is a professional, third-party inspection with a goal of evaluating the home from a Safety, Function and Structural standpoint.

Whether you are a first-time or seasoned homebuyer, the home inspection can be one of the deciding factors when purchasing a home. It helps to provide you with the information you need to make an informed decision about the home being inspected. And you can feel confident that the home you are buying not only protects your family’s health and safety but your investment as well.

A home inspection normally is not required but it’s a wise decision to have one performed before purchasing. Below is the home inspection checklist you, as a buyer, can use on how to prepare to get the most out of your Buyer’s Home Inspection.

  1.       Find The Right Home Inspector – You want a qualified professional to do this job. The home inspection is not a simple walkthrough of the home. It is a thorough evaluation of the home and systems, so you will want a professional who knows what to look for. Hiring an experienced home inspector is very important. To look for one, ask for referrals from your agent or from family and friends who can recommend one. You can also do the research on your own. In your research, confirm if they have certifications (NACHI, ASHI, etc.) and licenses if you belong to a licensing state. Additionally, they should have lots of experience performing home inspections. This way, you can feel confident that they are knowledgeable of any problems or issues that could come up.
  2.       Read The Complete Home Inspection Contract – Apart from making sure there’s a home inspection contingency in the sales contract, you also need to understand what is in the home inspection contract. This contract stipulates what the home inspector will and won’t inspect as well as specific state standards. It is basically a document that shows you what to expect during the home inspection. Not understanding how a home inspection works can possibly leave you with hundreds of dollars in expenses later on.
  3.       Get The House Prepared – You can request the seller to unlock any inaccessible areas and turn on all major components and systems of the home so the home can receive a full inspection. It is important to note that an inspector can only evaluate and function the accessible elements and areas of the home.
  4.       Attend And Come Prepared – Your inspector is likely to inspect small, dark, or dirty spaces so make sure you have dressed accordingly. You may want to follow along so you can ask questions and obtain helpful information. If not, your inspector will go through his findings verbally and with pictures and possibly video.
  5.       Be Considerate And Realistic – Especially if the owner of the home is around, avoid negative remarks about the decors or anything inside. Avoid moving or shifting items as well. Be courteous and respectful to the homeowners and their property. If the home inspector finds an area of concern or you personally find one, do not panic. No home is perfect and a home inspector’s goal is to help you understand the current condition of the home and how you can possibly move forward.
  6.       Make Notes – The home inspector needs to focus on inspecting the property. So, instead of raising questions too often that might distract the inspector, make your notes and questions that you can follow up with them later. Do not hesitate to ask questions at the right time.
  7.       Read The Inspection Report Carefully – The home inspection is there to help you understand the home you are about to purchase. Generally, you’ll read the following terms in the report:
  • Material defect: An issue that might pose a potential safety hazard
  • Major defect: A system or component with functionality problems that may need repair or replacement
  • Minor defect: A small issue that can usually be fixed by a contractor or the homeowner
  • Cosmetic defect: Any flaw that does not impact safety, function or structure
  1.       Get Additional Inspections If Necessary – If the inspector sees potential damages such as termites or mold, you might want to secure additional inspection services. Depending on the findings, there are other services that you or your inspector might recommend and acquire.
  2.       Prioritize The Findings, Not The Length Of The Report – Sometimes, we get easily intimidated and overwhelmed with lengthy reports or documents. Read the report carefully and prioritize the issues as noted by the inspector. Break them down into a separate list of immediate concerns, for a later date, or minor issues. You would also want to break down the estimated cost to determine how these expenses could impact your negotiations and final decision. Remember, there is not a pass or fail on the home inspection, just what you are willing to negotiate. Anything can be fixed.

A home inspection is one of the most useful tools you can have in your toolkit when purchasing a home. Home buying is not an inexpensive investment and you’ll want to make sure that you get what you pay for. This important step in a real estate transaction can help you understand your new home, how you can move forward, and how you can prepare for its continued maintenance. 

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