Tips for a Good Home Inspection

A home inspection is an important part of your diligence in buying a home. Here are some tips to help you get the most value out of your inspection.

  • Start by finding a good inspector. Check your inspector’s qualifications. They should have completed a community or junior college program in home inspection and be a member of a professional association dedicated to home inspection. Try to stick to inspectors that only do home inspections. While real estate agents are aware of inspectors in the area and may provide referrals, an independent source may be advisable. Friends and relatives may know someone that they liked but you need an inspector that you have rapport with. You should feel that your inspector is interested in your questions and that you are comfortable communicating with them.
  • Once that trusting relationship starts out on the right foot, don’t undermine it by price shopping or asking for cash deals. Give as accurate a description of the house as you can. If you want to work with a professional, be a good client and respect the team members working for you.
  • Book a reasonable time for the inspection. Make sure you leave a little room before your condition expires for any other inspections or contractor estimates that may become necessary. Wells, septic systems, pools and wood-burning appliances are examples of specialized inspections that are frequently called for. You may lose control of the deal if you have to ask for more time to do them. There’s little point in starting after dark if you want your inspector to see exterior deficiencies. Most inspectors will work on weekends but most appreciate a free Friday evening. Statutory holidays aren’t popular either. It’s also a good idea to get the first inspection on the next available day rather than try to force a third one in on a busy day.
  • Review the inspection contract and standards of practice before you arrive at the inspection. It will help you to understand the service you are getting and avoids wasting time on site that could be better spent inspecting.
  • Good inspectors have a process that they follow to help them keep on track and cover all the things they need to look at. By all means ask questions but do your part to help keep things on track by asking questions in the room they pertain to.
  • Be ‘present’ at the inspection both physically and mentally. You are the client and the decision maker for your purchase. Make sure you are there so that you gain the most insight into the condition of the property. Don’t bring kids, relatives, leave pets in the car or carry on long personal phone conversations. It’s tempting to share the excitement and get input from others but there will be another time for that. During the inspection, anything that distracts you from seeing and understanding the potential issues with your new home is counterproductive. Worse yet, too many background conversations can get in the way of your inspector seeing everything you want them to find.
  • Don’t be a ‘Yabbut’! Some buyers are already so emotionally attached to the property that they get defensive when a defect is identified. If you jump in with a ‘Yeah but … my brother can fix that’ or ‘Yeah but … I don’t plan on using that bathroom’, you are not listening. Don’t debate the defects as they are found, you will have plenty of time to discuss the issues after the inspector delivers the report. Remember that you are paying for the inspector to find defects and that every house has them. You want to find out about them now so that you have options and can get estimates if needed.

Good luck with your purchase and I hope this has helped you get more out of your home inspection.


Author: Rob Cornish is a Home Inspector in Ottawa, Canada. © 2013 HomeXam Inc.

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