So you’re a first time home buyer and ready for the home inspection. First of all, congratulations. Second of all, its not as crazy as it seems. Keep in mind you have people in your corner. You’ve likely found a great real estate agent, a great lender, a great escrow officer, and if you’re lucky, you found an inspector like me (wink).
To start, I understand what kind of transition you’re dealing with. Up until now you have been renting or living with someone, which means that when anything broke down or went wrong with the house, it was handled by someone else. A phone call was made and boom, problem handled.
But now, with owning your own home you have become the person responsible for handling those items. You may get some help from a home warranty or home insurance policy, but as a homeowner, the expense is now yours, and you want to make sure you’re not in way over your head with the house you’re about to buy.
Fun stuff, huh?
Don’t worry, I assure you, the benefits far outweigh the stress.
But now, you’ve got a home under contract and are ready to have it inspected. What the heck does that even mean? If you want to know what a home inspection is, go ahead and watch another video I put together for you called “What is a home inspection”. It goes into depth about the actual inspection that the inspector performs. In this video, we are going to talk about what you can expect during the due diligence process, which is most commonly referred to as the inspection period.
The inspection process can be broken down into a few steps.
- The pre-inspection consultation
- The post-inspection wrap-up or walk through with the inspector
- The post inspection process of deciphering all the info and working with your realtor to decide your next move
To start, once you get a home under contract, you have a specific time period to have the home inspected by as many parties as necessary. Its usually 10 days but can be more or less based on contract negotiations. The inspections can include a general home inspection, a roofer, an air conditioning tech, a pool specialist, and the list goes on.
I know I may be biased but you’ll definitely want a general inspector. The reason being is while they don’t go as deep into specific components like a contractor does, they cover a wider range of components and they can then tell you which specialists you should call.
So, the pre inspection consultation. Before the inspection even starts, you should be on the phone with your inspector, letting them know your main concerns.
Not to be overlooked though, you should make sure you’re comfortable with the inspector. They are going to need to communicate with you and if they seem off putting from the start, a change might be in order.
But assuming you’re good, now is when you tell them about your specific concerns. Is there something at the house that seemed off or broken, or shoddy? Based on that info, the inspector may recommend additional services or even want to bring in a specialist based on some of that information. Regardless, it gives the inspector a good idea of how you like to be communicated with, and what approach to take at the home.
Ask when you’ll get the report. The last thing you want is to be rushing to get the information together because the inspection or report is being delivered at the end of your inspection period. You want to give yourself at least a few days to gather information after the initial inspection.
From there, ask if you can attend the inspection. There is nothing like being there to go over the inspection first hand and in person. You will walk away with a far better understanding of the home as opposed to getting a report emailed and a phone call.
On the topic of going to the home, the home inspection is typically when you get to spend the most amount of time at the home during the escrow process. I know you’re excited to show your friends and family the home, but trust me, you want to be focused. So you will want to avoid the temptation of inviting people that aren’t involved in the decision making process.
We see it all, the overzealous father, the contractor friend, the girlfriend who watches too much HGTV and thinks shes Joanna Gaines. While they all mean well, they tend to want to justify their presence there, and they can pull your attention away from whats important and even make you unnecessarily nervous about items that don’t warrant being nervous about.
You have a team of professionals on your side, and they have a very important job to do, so let them get to work and get you the information you need. That will allow you to have the ability to focus on the process.
THE POST-INSPECTION WRAP UP
Ok, so the inspector has finished their inspection and is ready to go over the findings with you.
Hopefully the inspector doesn’t just give you the bad news and call it a day. I joke that some home inspectors are like “Bad News Fairies”. They spread the worry all over the place and fly away.
A good wrap up will also go over the positives of the home with you, like a recently replaced roof or air conditioning system, or even if the home appears to have been well taken care of or loved.
Even more importantly, they should show you how the home works. They should point out where your main water shut-off valve is, the main electrical disconnect, how to tell if your air conditioning condensation drainage system is working, which is actually a thing. Where are your GFCI resets? What are GFCI resets? If the home has a pool they can walk you through how to operate it. Heck, they should even show you where your air filters are.
But let’s pause for just a second here. There is no such thing as a perfect house. Let’s say that again together, there is no such thing as a perfect house.
The home inspector is going to tell you things about the home that need to be repaired or further evaluated by a specialist. Every home is going to have something, so try to avoid getting too stressed out or running away altogether when you start hearing those items. Take the hits and understand its part of the process.
Keep in mind, this is all about gathering facts so once the reality of what you’re dealing with settles in, you can make a business decision about whether or not this is the right home for you.
I tell everyone, at the end of the walk through, all the information is fresh, and some of it might even sting a bit. So get the report, read it, and sleep on it. The next day when you wake up, you’ll realize you are dealing with a house, and every house has its issues. Like we said earlier, there is no such thing as a perfect house.
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER
And that brings up to the final step. So now all of your inspections are done. You got through the initial reality of some things needing to be addressed.
If the inspector recommended additional evaluation, you’ll want to work with the inspector or your agent to get those evaluations done. These may include a mold inspection, a roof inspection, a AC tech diagnosing the system, or having a pool contractor look at the system. Naturally that will require extra trips to the home and some back and forth about whats going on.
It will make your head spin a bit, but after all your evaluations and inspections are done, you’ll be equipped with all the reports and quotes to go along with them. You will officially be well educated.
This is where my expertise as a home inspector ends. However, having been a full time realtor for a while, I can explain it a bit further because I personally know how to navigate this step. But as an inspector, I do not get into what to ask for and whether or not this home is the right home for you. We deliver facts, and you take those facts to make a decision for yourself.
What you’ll do is sit down with your real estate agent, and they will explain your options. Typically, you will get an opportunity to do a few things. Those things are
1) Accept the house as is and move ahead,
2) Reject the home based on the information you have and walk away
3) Ask the seller to fix certain items or provide a credit instead of fixing those items.
4) Request a combination of fixing things and getting a credit.
This is really where your agent earns their money. It can be tough to find the right balance of what you’re willing to take on and what the seller is willing to repair or provide for you. But like we said earlier, you have a team of professionals on your side, and while this path may be a bumpy one at times, you likely land safely and happily. And at the end of the day, you will join a very rewarding club of being a homeowner. And yes, while that comes with an enormous amount of responsibility, there is nothing like knowing you have your own place to start building off of.
Who knows, this may become one of a few homes you end up owning as you begin to build a real estate portfolio. Real estate is a good thing, and I wish you the best in getting a piece of it for yourself.
So thank you so much for taking the time to watch this. We always encourage comments and questions so please do not hesitate to reach out.
Have a great day and we will see you on the next one.