As a busy home inspection company, we do over 700 inspections every year! With that number, we have found that the least prepared people in home inspection process are the home owners. Most of the time the home owner only knows the time of the inspection and that is the only instructions they get. This post is for you! This post is broken into 2 parts: a Q/A of common homeowner questions and a checklist to complete when preparing for the inspection. Now, let's begin with this Q/A.
What is a home inspection? A home inspection is a non-invasive visual examination of the components within the home to include the foundation, roof, heating and air, appliances, water heater, and more. The home inspector is there to find problems with your home, so do not be offended. It is out job and have never had a home without an issue in our over 10 years of business.
Who comes to the home inspection? It is typical for buyers to be at the inspection. Most sellers do not know this until they get a knock on the door and their home is a wreck from moving. During the time of inspections, home buyer usually come and measure rooms for furniture and things of that nature. So rooms do not have to be spotless like a listing, but it does help if they are pick up a little bit.
How will the home inspector get into my home? Home inspectors have access to lock box information realtors. We also communicate with the realtors to gather any extra information about entering the home.
Who receives the inspection report? The inspection report goes out the home buyer and the the home buyer's realtor. The inspector is not allowed to disclose any information about the report. But, the home buyer may choice to send you the report if he or she wishes.
Should I be present for the home inspections? There is not a set rule saying that sellers should or should not be at the home inspection. Most of the time it is customary for the sellers to not be there because it gives time for the buyer time to measure rooms and ask the inspector about the property. But we also suggest confirming with your realtor on whether or not to be there.
How long does the home inspection take? The home inspection takes 2-4 hours depending on the size of the home. Other factors can play a role in determine how long a home inspection takes including: age, area the home is located, and how well the home was maintained.
To speed up inspections, there are some things you can do before the inspection to prep your home. Some of the tips are fixing small items that home inspectors constantly write up. Fixing these small items will decrease the amount of time a home inspector has to spend typing up citations. Other tips help home inspectors be able to move and see things better which can also help speed up the process. There is a link to a checklist.
- Make sure the power, water, and gas are turned on including the pilot light. This helps home inspectors be able to do the full inspection. If utilities are not on, we will recommend a re-inspection.
- Make sure pets are put away so they will not hinder the inspection. We will be going through the entire home multiple times. It is best to take the animals. The next best option is crate the pet so that the home inspector can walk around freely. I have been told stories of fellow employees being bitten by dog during an inspection. Just because the dog is friendly around the sellers does not mean it will not try and protect the house if the owners are not there.
- Make sure all light bulbs are working and not burned out. (Plus it makes your home look nicer if it is well lit)
- Clean or replace all dirty HVAC air filters. These should fit securely and not be loose. Cleaning and replacing theses are an easy way to save the home inspector time so he/she does not have to write up dirty filters. It is a good idea to have your heating air serviced prior to the inspection as well.
- Remove items like wood and debris from the foundation. These conditions can be written up for "conducive conditions" for termites. An addition to this write up, it also makes it easier for home inspectors to see the foundation of the house. This helps the home inspector catch any defects in the home's foundation as well as any other issues.
- Make sure the HVAC equipment, electrical panels, water heater, attic, and crawlspaces are accessible. We can not move items during an inspection. If there are items blocking these, we recommend a re-inspect.
- Unlock all locked areas that the home inspector needs to access. This includes, but not limited to, attic doors, electrical panels, doors to basement, exterior gates, closets, and more.
- Trim tree limbs so that they are at least 10 feet away from the roof. This will prevent a write-up.
- Repair or replace any broken or missing items, such as doorknobs, locks, latches, windowpanes, screens, gutters, downspouts, or chimney caps.
- Make sure drains flow freely. Clogged drains are a very commonly written up item on inspections and are easy to fix.
- Make a list of all repairs, maintenance, and upgrades done to the house. You should also leave any receipts to these products and services if you have them. Leave this list and receipts out on the counter for the home inspector and home buyer to see.
If you have any questions or want to know how to better prepare your home, we offer pre-listing consultations. The best way to reach us is through calling us at (205) 202 7131. You can also go onto our website to get more information about the inspection process and other services we offer. I hope you enjoyed this post and have a blessed day!