Hiring a home inspector is one of the most important parts of a real estate transaction. We as home inspectors realize this, and work hard to provide our clients with a great inspection and report.
As we work with home buyers and sellers, we notice certain trends though. Things that people do that can (and often do) hurt them in the entire process.
Below are 10 things that we as home inspectors wished you’d know (and try to help you understand) so that you can get the most out of your home inspection and protect your future.
1: Not Every Home Inspector Is The Same
People often shop around for the best price on a home inspector – and we get it. You want the best price and the most bang for your buck. But if you were taking a plane ride through a dangerous area, would you look for the cheapest pilot, or the best pilot? It’s the same with a home inspector. We all have different levels of experience, reports, and skills. So choose the best home inspector, because hiring the cheap home inspector will cost you a lot more in the long run.
2: We Need Time
Everything seems to be under a time crunch during a real estate transaction, but don’t rush the inspection. We cringe when we see a client say something like “We get out of work at 4:00 pm, but have a 5:30 pm appointment – can you be done with your inspection by then?”. An inspection takes time, and we often don’t know how long until we get into the inspection itself. Putting time limits on an inspection does not help your best interests.
3: An Inspection Takes Longer Than You Think
Many people say after an inspection “wow, that didn’t take long”, or “seems like a lot of money for so little time”. But the reality is that every inspection takes more time than you know. There is time answering phones, keeping records, researching the house before we arrive, maintaining databases of information, continuing education to take, writing the report after the inspection, coordinating with agents to enter the house, answering questions after the inspection, and much more. Every inspection takes many hours more than just the time on site.
4: Most Sellers Are Honest – But We Know That Some Aren’t
Most sellers are honest people and are genuinely surprised when we find a defect. But we do know that there are a few sellers out there that try to hide things – being aware of this, and knowing all the tricks and ways people hide defects give us the advantage. We are not new to this, and we have seen all the ways to hide defects and usually uncover them. So please, don’t try to conceal defects.
5: We Are Human
We love that our clients think that we are superhuman as we go through a house and seem to know everything. But we are human too. We will get into that attic space, crawlspace, and everything else. But maybe give us a few minutes to catch our breath in between.
6: Don’t Follow Us When It’s Not Safe
We are happy to answer all of your questions and show you things – but not when it isn’t safe. For your own safety, please give us space when we are inspecting dangerous areas like the electric panel.
7: Our Equipment Is Not For Everyone
We are glad you want to be involved in the inspection, but using our ladder, grabbing a flashlight from our toolbelt, or using our equipment in general without permission is usually not safe and may hinder us from doing our job for you.
8: The Inspection Is A Snapshot In Time
We do our best to tell you as much about your home as possible, but it really is a snapshot in time. We can tell you when a heating unit is a bit older for example, but we can’t tell you if it will last a year, a week, or any time after we run it. We use our experience to give you the best information possible though.
9: Sellers – You Need An Inspection Too
So many times when we inspect for a buyer, we realize the issues we find could be avoided if the seller had a pre-listing inspection. We as home inspectors know this very well, but still, very few sellers actually get a pre-listing home inspection before their home hits the market.
10: Trust Your Agent
Clients often ask us negotiation questions after a home inspection, but that is not what we do. Your agent is a negotiation professional. They don’t want you to get into a house that is not right for you or that has issues, so trust them to help you negotiate, get issues fixed, and be your guide through the process.
We want you to have a great home inspection – that is our job. Being aware of some of these subtleties, though, can help you get a better inspection, and help you find the right home for you and your family.