Whether you are buying or selling your home, the process of a home inspection can be enough to frighten anyone. For sellers, it’s that annoying reminder that the things you have ignored over the years might be coming around to bite you in the butt. For the buyer, it could be the best news that they now have their dream home or worse, their dream home has too many big problems. Don’t let the home inspection stress you. Your home inspector doesn’t want to scare you. All we want is a happy, well-informed client so you can make an educated buying decision. Team up with your real estate professional and your friendly local certified home inspector while keeping and a few tips in mind to help making the process as smooth as possible.
Sellers – Move your pets
Yes, we love pets as much as the next person but no matter how cute they are, a pet running under foot just makes the process more difficult and dangerous. Curious cats get very interested when electrical panels are open, and we don’t want them to get hurt. Doors are constantly opening and closing during a home inspection and your little pooch or kitty will have one too many opportunities to go exploring through the neighborhood. We are pet friendly and understand if you need to leave your pets at home; however please don’t expect us to pet sit! Whenever possible, take your pets along with you when you leave for the inspection.
Seller – Don’t forget to clean!
One of the biggest things a home inspector could ask of you prior to the inspection is to CLEAN! This doesn’t mean you need to spend the day scrubbing the grout in the tiles, but the clutter must go. It makes a huge difference to an inspector who doesn’t have to crawl around or dodge piles of belongings. We are not required to move furniture or your belongings, but may do so in an effort to evaluate a component or system. Please make sure we have clear and safe access to the attic (move clothing and storage from closet), electrical panel, heating system, and hot water heaters. Also from a buyer’s perspective, it is hard to imagine their own belongings in the home if it’s cluttered with your stuff.
Buyers – Your potential home WILL have problems
It might seem like a never ending list of problems the inspector comes up with, but don’t freak out. Yes, there may be items that are of larger and immediate concern; however, your inspector will help you keep it in perspective and advise you on which problems you should tackle first.
Almost anything can be fixed
Some of the home inspector’s words can send your head spinning. Mold, lead, radon and asbestos are common terms. In reality, the bigger concerns tend to be roof related or have to do with rot and decay. Occasionally we come across a heating system that needs replacing, but the majority of the problems are relatively easy fixes – mostly just neglected maintenance items. Most things are upgradeable, replaceable or fixable. You may just help determining which is more important than the other and your trusted home inspector is here to help with that. If you are a prospective new homeowner, you’ll quickly learn there is ALWAYS something that needs done or fixed around the house. But it beats paying rent!
Worry about Water
It is important to address any water-related issues before any purchase deal goes through. Moisture-related problems are the number one killer of houses. Let’s face it – Mother Nature wants to turn everything back into top soil. If we can keep Mother Nature on the outside of the house and effectively manage air and moisture inside the home, the home’s structure will last much longer. Keep note of any water marks, condensation, or leaks and pay close attention to the basement. Handling water issues found in the basement can be pricey and difficult to fix.
We cannot predict the home’s future
One of the most common questions we get is, “How many years ‘till we replace the roof?” Your inspector can give you a rough estimate but cannot provide you with a precise timeline, nor is an inspection a guarantee against future problems. Unfortunately we don’t have a crystal ball to tell you what and when something will break or fail. As handy as it would be, your inspector doesn’t have x-ray vision and cannot see through walls either.
Listen to your inner voices - heart and brain.
You need to remember why you chose the house in the first place. Whether it is a fixer-upper or you planned it to be move-in ready, those dollar signs can add up fast and cloud your judgement. Just step back, take a breath, and consider if the new house is the right choice for you, your family, and your future. Your inspector and your real estate agent will be there to give you all the information you want (and need) to make an informed buying decision. Just remember, if something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. Everyone involved in the transaction wants you to be happy and has your best interests in mind, however only you know what is right for you.
Whether you are buying or selling, keep these tips in mind to help guide you through the exciting, yet stressful, process of buying a new home. Remember your friendly neighborhood home inspector is there to guide you through your first in-depth look of your new home. We have the tools, technology, and most importantly, the training, to help you understand how your home works.
Just don’t forget to breathe.