4 Home Inspection Tips for a Buyer’s Peace of Mind

Buying a home is a major event for most people. Since we do it so infrequently, there are many facets of the process which are not familiar to the average buyer. One very important aspect of the home buying process is getting a professional home inspection.

Home inspections can uncover hidden flaws an untrained person would not notice. Sometimes the inspectors discover defects that could cost hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars to correct. Even when they discover minor flaws, you can add to your contract that the seller will correct them. Alternatively, you will have some ammunition to possibly negotiate a lower price. Here are a few inspection tips:

Home Inspection Tip No. 1

Be sure to select an inspector who has had training and a lot of experience in inspection. An experienced inspector will be familiar with good construction methods, and will recognize any visible defects in the structure, or in the installation of ancillary systems such as electrical, plumbing, and HVAC systems. He or she will likely be aware of current recalls of various appliances and what options are available to owners.

Home Inspection Tip No. 2

Choose an inspector from the local area. An inspector from the area will be familiar with local building codes. He or she will also be familiar with common problems associated with the neighborhood, and with individual home builders in the area.

Home Inspection Tip No. 3

Be sure you are present and tag along with the inspector while he or she inspects your potential purchase. Most inspectors prefer you to be there so they can point out specific defects, as well as the good features of your prospective purchase. This will give you a much better understanding of the items in his or her report. Ask questions about anything you see or don’t understand.

Home Inspection Tip No. 4

Don’t plan on doing your own inspection. There are hundreds of items that need to be inspected. Without formal training or years in the home construction trades, the average person will not be able to recognize many potential defects. A professional home inspection only costs a few hundred dollars to protect your investment of more than 500 times as much. This is no time to be penny wise and pound foolish.

You will get an unbiased evaluation from your inspector. You should expect to get a detailed report, with a description of both good and bad findings, along with appropriate diagrams and photos as necessary to document those findings.

Following the tips above will make you aware of any potential problems, and allow you to proceed with your transaction with the confidence that you are buying a sound property, or will be once any potential defects are addressed. A thorough inspection takes the emotion out of the equation, and gives you peace of mind knowing you are making your decision based on the facts.

Better Homes and Gardens Magazine For a Holistic Family Development

If there’s one magazine that caters to the needs and requirements of every family, it has to be Better Homes and Gardens magazine. As the name suggests, the topics relate to the overall growth of not just the four walls comprising home, but also the aesthetic appeal of your abode. With newer and fresher ideas to perk up your home and garden, Better Homes and Gardens magazine sure knows how to fire up the imagination of family-oriented people, like you.

The importance of a nicely decked up home and garden can never be undermined. After all, your home is the first creator of opinions about the people living in it. For the outsiders, your home and garden reflect your personality. And it is your duty to make your home and garden a desirable place for the visitors as well as those living in it. 

And here’s where the useful tips from Better Homes and Gardens magazine come in handy. The topics are as diverse as possible. There’s hardly any aspect relating to home improvement and gardening that is not covered by this magazine. The topics range from ideas for decorating to cooking to gardening to building to rebuilding and remodeling to education to travel to healthy living to healthy recipes and money management. The how-to tips are both interesting and vital for any beautiful home. You may have the best of resources but if you don’t know how to make the best use of these resources, then having these resources is meaningless.

Primarily targeted at husband and wives who have family as their top-most priority, Better Homes and Gardens magazine is both informational and inspirational. You get to learn so many things about home improvement, gardening and healthy living in a single issue that you’d love to keep all the yearly issues with you as a ready reference.

Subscription to Better Homes and Gardens magazine is a simple process. But if you go the normal way, it could get heavy on your pocket. However, buying online subscription can be explored in order to avail heavy discounts. A cool 80% saving on the annual subscription of this exclusive magazine is in the offing if you go the Internet route. Considering the value-for-money proposition, such a tempting offer is too hard to resist, especially if you own a home with a garden.

Questions to Ask When Hiring a Home Inspector

Congratulations, you’ve found the perfect home to buy! Right about now, you are probably on information overload, and looking for resources to get everything ready. One of the most important steps you need to take after getting that ratified contract is to get the home inspected. Like most subjects on the internet, there is a ton of information about home inspections, and how to hire them. One source that is very underrepresented though is probably the best one out there: the home inspectors themselves. No, I’m not just talking about reading their websites, since anyone can put up whatever they want. Instead, we went to a group of highly respected home inspectors and posed this question: If you were hiring a home inspector to inspect a home for your out-of-state family member, what questions would you ask them?

1. What are your certifications?

If you are in one of the many states where home inspectors are licensed, that is just a minimum level to be able to do the job. As a group, we will look for a home inspector that has taken the time to get extra certifications above and beyond the minimum. There are multiple home inspection organizations (both national and local) that offer certifications for inspectors. The two major organizations are the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI), and the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI). Both offer multiple levels of certifications based on both experience and continuing education. InterNACHI has the Certified Professional Inspector and Certified Master Inspector certifications. ASHI has the ASHI Associate, Inspector, and Certified Inspector certifications.

In states where there isn’t a licensing program for home inspectors, it is even more important to make sure the inspector has a certification, since essentially anyone can call themselves a home inspector! In these cases, it can be tempting to hire someone like a general contractor to just walk through the house with you. But, as Andrew Jolley with JODA Home Inspections in Stansbury Park, Utah said “unlike contractors, home inspectors have a system they follow so that all systems are evaluated and nothing is left out of the inspection.” Additionally, a certified home inspector has received training on all of the systems in a house, as well how to inspect them and look at the whole house as a system.

2. What kind of report do you provide and when will I receive it?

Hopefully any legitimate inspector will be providing you with a written report that you can use in your evaluation of the home purchase. That being said, reports differ in both style and level of detail. An inspection report should include digital pictures of defects as well as narrative statements about the systems and defects found. Some reports will also include things like video, glossaries, and summaries. If there is a summary, make sure you still read the entire report!

The turnaround time for a report should also be determined. As inspectors, we understand the tight timelines your real estate agent has put you under, so we will always get you the report as quick as possible. Remember that sometimes a little extra research is required, so don’t expect to get the report at the end of the inspection. Most inspectors should have the report to you within 24 hours of the end of the inspection.

3. Walk me through your typical inspection, what are the most important things?

Norm Tyler of Sage Inspections in St. Louis, MO says: “I’d ask this for a couple reasons. It would help me decide if his approach would be similar to mine. Every inspector is a little different, some will detail 500 little issues, while I’m more of a ‘disregard petty cosmetic stuff so I can focus on finding $1000 problems’ kind of guy. More importantly, if the inspector takes the time to walk me through his approach now, while I’m just a prospect – he’ll probably take all the time needed to take care of me as a customer.”

4. Are you available after you send the report for questions and/or clarification?

This was one of the most popular questions I received from the inspectors I talked to. We all strive to write a report that explains all of the issues as clearly as possible, but sometimes things may not make sense to you. Being able to call or email your inspector with questions after the inspection is critical, especially if you can’t make it to the inspection.

Along with this, you should probably ask the inspector about their policy for follow-up inspections. Once you have negotiated repairs with the seller, make sure you get those repairs re-inspected. I have done a lot of re-inspections, and I have yet to find that all of the repairs were done. Sometimes I am given receipts for repairs that were clearly not even attempted. You should expect to pay for this re-inspection, so find out what it will cost ahead of time so there aren’t any surprises.

5. What is your home inspection experience?

You will find that home inspectors come from many different backgrounds. Some may have been in the building trades, and some may be doing it as a second career. The important thing to look for is an inspector that has experience doing home inspections. David Sharman of County Home Inspection in Peterborough, Ontario mentioned to ask them how many inspections they’ve done in the last 12 months. This number could vary based on the market, but it should be a reasonable number. Look for someone doing at least a few inspections a week, but be wary of those that have really high numbers (unless they have multiple inspectors at their company). This can be a sign of someone that is just doing the minimum to get on to the next inspection of several that day.

6. How many inspections do you do in a day?

Hopefully the answer is only one or two. Most inspectors will do a morning and an afternoon inspection. Some will add in an evening inspection. If it gets over three, start to worry about how long they are spending on your inspection. Most inspections will take 2-3 hours for an average size house. Smaller houses don’t really cut down on the time, but larger houses can significantly increase the amount of time it takes to inspect.

7. What extra services can you provide?

Michael Conrad II, at Diligent, LLC in Nashville, TN points out that you should check with the inspector to see if they offer any other inspection services, such as Thermal Imaging, Termite, Radon, and Mold inspections. This can help you in many ways, since not only do you get all of the inspections you need from one company, it allows your inspector to look at the whole house as a system and provide the best assessment of the house. Some areas require separate licenses for these extra inspections, so make sure they have those licenses as well if required. If licensing isn’t required, make sure they have a third-party certification.

8. Can I accompany you on the inspection?

The inspection is your time to learn about the house. Odds are, the inspection is the longest amount of time you will spend in the house until you own it, so make the most of it. Your inspector should encourage you to ask questions as the inspection is going on. After all, it’s a lot easier to explain (and understand) an issue with it right in front of you. If you wait until a day or two later, now the inspector has to explain it over the phone, and they’ve inspected more houses since then. Charles Buell, of Charles Buell Inspections, Inc in Shoreline, WA, says that he wants the client there the whole time. This is their time to learn about the house. Additionally, Jim Holl with 5 Star Home Inspections LLC in Hillsborough, NC says: A professional home inspector wants you, the future occupant, to attend the inspection so you can ask questions and see most of what the inspector sees. Since you are going to live there and get to maintain it, for safety, health and financial reasons, this is your opportunity learn all about your new castle. If the inspector doesn’t want you to observe, move on to the next inspector you want to interview.

9. Who will be doing the inspection?

This is mainly for the multi-inspector firms, but Ian Mayer of IM Home Inspections in Woodland Hills, CA warns to watch out for the bait-and-switch. The owner of the company may have really great certifications, but he sends out the guy that was just certified last week to do your inspection.

10. What warranties/guarantees are included with the inspection?

A home inspection is, by definition, a snapshot in time. It shows the condition of the house on the day of the inspection. None of us have a crystal ball to predict the future of a house, and sometimes sellers will intentionally hide known defects. Some home inspectors offer various warranties and guarantees with their inspection. Make sure you read the fine print on anything offered to ensure you understand what you are getting and what the limitations are. Frank Rotte of Certified Inspection Services, LLC of San Diego points out that many repairs are actually under the deductible, so the buyer ends up paying for the repair anyways.

11. How much does the inspection cost?

This is the last question you should ask, and it’s really only so you know how much to write the check out for. In other words, don’t price shop, and don’t look for the cheapest inspector. (How much are you paying for that house again?) James Braun with Braun Inspection Consultations in Jefferson City, MO rightly says that “A good inspector is not cheap, and a cheap inspector is not good.” You are making what may be the largest purchase of your life, do you really want the cheapest inspector you can find to do your inspection?

Thank you for sticking with me for this long, and I hope that it has been informative for you. The best home inspectors are those that work for you, and inspect each home as if they, or their favorite relative, were buying it. These home inspectors have nothing to gain except providing you with the best inspection they can, which allows you to make an extremely important decision. Now, go out there and hire the best home inspector you can find.