This page will inform home buyers, home sellers, and Real Estate Professionals on how to prepare for a home inspection. These tips will help the home inspection process go as smoothly as possible for all the parties involved in the transaction.

 

 

Buyers

 

Be sure to include an inspection contingency clause when you enter negotiations with the seller and before you sign a purchase and sale agreement.  If you are working with a real estate agent or an attorney, they will be able to help you with such a clause. This allows you to negotiate for repairs to be made by the seller or even to void the sale if the inspector finds significant problems that the seller is unwilling to correct. It is a good way to protect yourself from ending up with a home that requires repairs that you are unable or unwilling to pay for.

 

Once your inspector has arrived, it is highly recommended that you accompany him for the entire inspection of the property. This is so you can become familiar with the home and its systems, be educated on important maintenance issues, as well as understand exactly what repairs the inspector recommends and why. You might also want to prepare a list of items and/or sketches of the house that will remind you about any cosmetic or remodeling improvements that you may want to make, furniture and layout possibilities, room sizes, etc., and this is a great opportunity to ask the inspector any questions that you may have. The inspection is also a great time to find out where the home’s water and gas shutoffs are, where the electrical panel is, where the attic and crawlspace accesses are, etc.

 

Here are some other recommendations and advice for buyers:

 

  • Please make sure you have permission from the owner/agent to perform the inspection.
  • Make sure that all the utilities (electricity, water, and gas) will still be on at the time of the inspection. Not having some of these utilities on will limit the scope of the inspection.
  • Make sure that you attend the inspection and pay close attention to the inspector, as the educational value alone is worth the price of the inspection. Please don’t make the inspector have to continuously find you, to be able to show you things that are important.
  • Consider bringing a snack/lunch and drink, as some inspections can be lengthy.
  • Wear comfortable clothes and shoes that could get dirty. Also, bring an umbrella and/or raincoat if the weather requires them.
  • Remember your reading glasses.
  • Bring a notepad and pen, and be ready to take some notes to help you remember things that the inspector tells you.
  • You may want to bring your camera along and take some pictures, especially if it is a digital camera – this also helps you remember things about the house in general and the inspection. If you don’t have a camera, ask the inspector if he can do that for you.
  • Please remember your checkbook.
  • Do not bring children under ten years old, if at all possible. They will distract you from your needed attention on the inspector. Similarly, this is not the time to have friends or relatives over to see the house, to have contractors or remodelers there for estimates, etc. Please arrange to do these things after the inspection is over, or on another day.
  • Please turn your cell phone off or leave it at home, unless it is absolutely necessary to have it.
  • Obtain and bring along a copy of the sellers’ disclosure statement, and any previous inspections, pest reports, repair invoices, etc. that you are privy to.
  • Prepare a list of questions ahead of time to help the inspector understand your concerns, remodeling and improvement desires, etc.
  • It is important to the inspector that you understand the issues with the house, so feel free to ask as many questions as you wish.
  • Please call your inspector after the inspection if you need clarifications, if you do not understand something, or if you have any further questions at all.

 

 

Sellers

 

For homeowners, it’s important to be aware of any issues your home may have prior to putting it on the market. Getting a pre-listing home inspection will ensure that you’re aware of any problems so you can take care of them on your terms - or you can disclose them and adjust your selling price accordingly. The alternative leaves you open to costly surprises and delays, and even potential deal-breakers once you’ve entered negotiations with a buyer.

 

Other general suggestions for homeowners would include accessibility, maintenance, and repairs. Make sure that all areas of the home are accessible, especially to the attic and the crawlspace. It’s also a good idea to trim any trees and shrubs that may make an inspection of the exterior of the property difficult. You may also want to do some minor maintenance and repair things like leaky faucets, missing door handles and trim, etc.

Here are some other recommendations and advice for sellers:

  • Please be sure to provide easy access to the following:

ü     All electrical panels. This is oftentimes a problem especially when the panel is located in the garage.

ü     All plumbing fixtures, main water shutoff, etc.

ü     The furnace and the heating/cooling system controls.

ü     All attic access areas (move clothes from closets under openings to avoid insulation spills, clear a path through attic storage, etc.).

ü     All crawlspace access areas.

  • Leave all warranty and service literature on the kitchen table, for review by the buyer.
  • Please provide copies of repair invoices, including roof replacement information, if available. The buyer would also be grateful to get copies of receipts, plans, etc. for all major repairs and/or remodeling done in the home during your ownership.
  • Leave a copy of your disclosure statement.
  • Please leave any special instructions regarding pets.
  • Leave any special instructions regarding house idiosyncrasies (alarms, yard lights, etc.)
  • Please leave notification if the house has been treated with chemicals for any reason.
  • Leave the kitchen sink free of dishes.
  • Empty the clothes washer and dryer, if those appliances are included in the sale.

 

Your help and cooperation in all of these matters will be greatly appreciated by the home inspector and your buyer. Thank you very much!!!

 

 

Real Estate Professionals

 

Buyers’ Agents:

 

  • You have already distinguished yourself as a fiduciary agent loyal to the buyer, and are putting the buyers’ needs above all else. Please read through the buyer's section above and encourage your client to do the same. Your help in these matters will facilitate their purchasing process.
  • Attend your client's home inspection and consider it part of your continuing education. You will also have a much better understanding about any problems that the inspector may find, and what the potential solutions and ramifications are. Distinguish yourself from your competition as a salesperson who is knowledgeable about the product you are selling. However, contradicting or arguing with the inspector about issues brought up at the inspection is probably not wise, but the inspector will likely be glad to discuss any misunderstandings or differences of opinion with you later. Most realty agency attorneys recommend that agents not give their opinion on issues involving the inspection, so let the inspector/expert do their job and avoid liability for yourself.
  • Make sure you have permission from the owner and/or listing agent to perform the inspection.
  • Please make sure that all the utilities (electricity, water, and gas) will still be on at the time of the inspection.

 

Listing Agents:

 

  • Protect your sellers and yourselves by encouraging a pre-listing inspection to ensure full disclosure and to avoid last-minute surprises.
  • Please have your seller find and provide any information that they have on the age of the roof! This is the number one question that any buyer and/or inspector will have, and this question is no longer on the sellers’ disclosure form as it once was. Having this documentation available should answer the age question, as well as what company installed the roof, whether the roofer’s warranty will transfer on to the new owners, etc.
  • Ensure that the seller provides good access to all areas and components of the house so that the inspector can easily reach them. See the list of items in the seller’s section above, for suggestions.
  • Please read through the seller's section above and encourage your client to do the same. Your help in these matters will assist in the home inspection process and will help to facilitate their sale.
 
     
         
 

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