Whether you are buying or selling a home, it is sure to be one of the biggest financial exchanges of your life. But how do you make sure your home inspection is done properly? Here’s a look at 5 common mistakes made by buyers and sellers.
1. Not doing your research before hiring a home inspector.
Take a few minutes to look around. Places like Yelp and AngiesList are a centralized place for people who have hired home inspectors in your area before to leave reviews about the inspector themselves, their thoroughness, monetary requirements, and more. Many real estate based websites provide a similar function (Zillow, HomeAdvisor).
The American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) is a great resource; word-of-mouth from friends and family is as well. You’re looking for someone who has done this before, provides detailed inspection reports, and has a broad knowledge of everything in the house, not specialized knowledge in one area. If your state requires inspectors be licensed, make sure to check for that too.
2. Not getting the inspection done before you put the house on the market.
If you’re selling a home the buyer can try to talk you down for every little thing that’s wrong with the home. Conversely, the better condition the home is in, the more you can ask. Whoever you’re selling it to is going to get it inspected, but if you wait until you’ve already put the house on the market you’re not going to have as much time to get those repairs done. Taking the time before you even hired a real estate agent will give you extra months for DIY projects or to hire outside help that won’t cost an arm and a leg—plus it ensures they’ll have plenty of time to finish.
3. Not having your house prepared for the inspection.
You wouldn’t expect the new owners to pack up your junk, so why ask the home inspector to? They’re going to need access behind locked doors, into crawl spaces, and to look into nooks and crannies filled with stuff. Take the time to make their job easier—it’s not only going to make it less difficult for them, it also tends to make them a little nicer to you.
4. Not being present for the inspection.
You wouldn’t expect your doctor to perform a physical exam while you weren’t in the office, and you shouldn’t expect your inspector to either. As a buyer you want to be there; it’s one of the few times to actually see the house before you own it. Yes, you’ll have a report, but that is just not the same as having an inspector point out what is wrong. Plus, inspectors can be great resources for figuring out how much you need to spend to get things fixed and sometimes who to ask for those repairs.
5. Not reading the report you paid hundreds of dollars for.
First of all, you need to make sure you receive a good report before you hire your home inspector. But second, just skimming it is not going to give you a full idea about what’s going on with the house. Home inspection reports lay out each aspect of the house the inspector looked at, what material much of it is constructed of, what’s wrong, and how soon it needs fixed. Actually read it. Take notes. Highlight things. It’s important to your future—one way or another.