Written by | Adam Frers of BPG Property Inspection Services
So, you’ve just gone under contract with your new home, and you are ready to go ahead and move in . . but wait! Your Realtor just told you that you should get a home inspection, and you think, “How in the heck do I do that?” Well my friend you have come to the right place.
FINDING A GOOD HOME INSPECTOR
Like most referrals it is important to reach out to someone who you trust. That may be a parent, neighbor, or friend who has recently been through the experience of purchasing a home. A quick ask on social media can also yield a handful of names that may help get you started in your search. Your realtor will also have a few inspectors that they could recommend to you with whom they have worked with in the past and can usually tell if they would be a good fit for you or would suit your needs effectively.
Once you have a list of names, it is time to put on your detective hat and hit the internet to look a little more in depth at the inspector’s qualifications, reviews, services, prices, insurances, and possible history of complaints. Once you’ve found your inspector, then you should go ahead and schedule the inspection.
SCHEDULING A HOME INSPECTION
There is a bit of information that you will want to have handy when you call in or go online to schedule your home inspection:
- The address of the property to be inspected.
- The age and square footage of the property: This is how home inspectors determine the amount of the home inspection fee.
- Time: Its best to schedule the inspection as soon as possible, that way if the inspector refers you to a specialist after reviewing the home, then you will have enough time in your due diligence period to reach out to these additional contractors. Keep in mind that your popular inspector may be booked up a week or more during the busy spring and summer months.
- You’ll want to make sure that the utilities are on.
- Is the home occupied or vacant?
- How will your inspector access the property? Does it have a supra key, lock box combo, key under the mat, is there an alarm code?
- What additional services do you need? Termite inspection, Well water testing, Radon?
- The scheduler will need your contact information, Name, Phone, Email
- Your realtors contact information, Name, Phone, Email.
- Some inspection companies may need to secure your payment information up front, while other companies will wait until the inspection is performed.
- All home inspectors in North Carolina require an “Inspection Agreement” contract be signed. You may be able to sign the agreement electronically ahead of time, or you can bring it with you to the inspection.
INSPECTION DAY | SHOULD I ATTEND?
Absolutely! You can choose to attend the whole inspection, pop in during the inspection, or just show up for the wrap up. We understand that the inspection can be kind of boring, and there often is nowhere to sit in a vacant home, but this is perhaps one of your last opportunities to really explore the property and look at it with a more critical eye. Many clients like to take measurements for their furnishings or take pictures or videos of the home to show their family and friends.
Attending the inspection gives you a chance to meet with your inspector and discuss any specific concerns that you may have about the home. Your home inspector will likely perform what is called a driveway presentation where they will explain to you the scope of the inspection and how long the inspection may take. Some home inspectors may invite you to follow them during the inspection, while others would prefer a meeting at the end where they will discuss with you their findings. I always want my clients to know that they are welcome to tag along during the inspection, but that I will load the pictures into the computer at the end and discuss each picture with them. We do this wrap up because it gives the clients a better understanding of what we’ve found, and so that the report will make more sense when they read it. Reports can seem a little overwhelming, so getting a verbal explanation can perhaps offer a greater perspective than reading the report alone. A typical home inspection can take anywhere from 1 ½ hours to 4 hours depending on the age, size, and condition of the home. Some large homes can take 5, 6, even 7 hours to perform.
Your home inspector will inspect the structure, exterior, garage, roof, electrical, plumbing, heating, air conditioning, interior components, insulation, ventilation, and built in kitchen appliances.
They are looking for components that do not function as intended, safety defects, or items that warrant further evaluation by a specialist.
Other components that the home may have like pools, central vacuum systems, alarm systems, septic systems, sprinkler systems, and intercoms are outside of the scope of a standard home inspection so, if you want an assessment of these items, then you may want to go ahead and line up the appropriate contractors to visit the home during your due diligence period.
The home inspector will take his findings and put them together in a written electronically generated report with explanations and pictures of the defects and other items of note. The reports are typically emailed to you within 24 hours of the inspection. The inspection report should have what’s called the “Summary” which is a list of the defects identified at the time of inspection. Some reports vary in their degree of explanation; however according to the governing body that oversees the home inspection industry, each summary statement should indicate *what the defect is, *where the defect is, *why it is a problem, and then *direct you to your next course of action. The state works hard to train inspectors in report writing so that there is some consistency between the inspectors however, there are still some inspectors out there that may only give you a one-line explanation of the defect that may not offer you the clarity that you are looking for.
After your report is delivered you should be able to reach out to your home inspector for further clarification or general discussion regarding the findings if it is needed. Again, the level of service in inspecting, report writing, and post inspection communication are what sets some inspectors apart from the others.
But you have used your trusted resources to choose a good inspector, you attended the inspection and saw the inspector working hard as your advocate, and you received an informative report that will help guide you confidently through the next stages on the home purchase. You have had a great home inspection experience!
Way to go!! You are officially a home inspection smarty pants!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Adam Frers has been a licensed home inspector in North and South Carolina since 2007 and has performed over 4,000 home inspections. If you wish to contact Adam or schedule an inspection, please see the contact information listed below.
SCHEDULING | 800.285.3001
CELL | 704.492.4842
EMAIL | firstname.lastname@example.org
WEB | www.bpgwi.com
FOLLOW ADAM ON INSTAGRAM | @inspectoradam
[The topics listed in this blog are solely the opinion of the author and they are not intended to act as legal advice. Buyers and sellers should rely on the professional expertise of their real estate professional and legal counsel when purchasing and selling a home.]