Preparing for a Home Inspection
Whether you’re buying or selling a home, one of the most important aspects of the process is the home inspection. For each side of the transaction, it’s good to know what to expect throughout the experience. To learn more about home inspections and how to prepare for them, here are some basics to get you started.
For the Home Seller
Keep Areas Accessible
Know that when the inspector and buyers arrive to your property, they can only inspect the areas that are accessible. But that doesn’t mean you should specifically cut off access to anything you don’t want them to see. A complete and thorough inspection will be critical and you would want the same courtesy when buying your own home.
Make Minor Repairs
If there is anything you know will be triggered by the inspection process, go ahead and fix it ahead of time. Generally, these are very small repairs that you will likely be asked to do anyway. For example, you can replace that leaky faucet. Or you can repair that stuck window. Whatever will be small enough for you to take care of, go ahead and do it now.
Check Seasonal Items
If you’re selling your home in the middle of summer, you probably haven’t run your furnace in six months or more. Or, of course, if selling your home in in December, your air conditioning hasn’t been turned on in a while. Go ahead and check out those things. Run them to make sure there aren’t any noticeable problems that an inspector will spot right away.
If you know what an inspector will look for, you’ll be in a better position to make sure your home is in order and the sale will close. So, prepare ahead of time. Walk through, replace lightbulbs, tidy up. The inspection will be scheduled, so don’t allow yourself to be caught off guard. Also, make arrangements to be elsewhere during the process, including your pets.
Get a Pre-Inspection
One way to ensure that your house will meet the standards buyers are looking for is to get a pre-inspection before putting your home on the market. This is separate from the appraisal process and will give you an idea of what you can repair ahead of time. And, if you know what’s coming, you can actively reduce your stress level throughout the process.
For the Home Buyer
For the most part, your real estate agent will recommend an inspector to you. This is generally good because it’s in the realtor’s best interest to sell you a home you’ll be happy with. But there are a few other things to consider. Find out if it’s okay for you to be present throughout the inspection and are willing to answer your questions.
Read the Contract
You also want to read the contract before initiating the home inspection process. The terms will vary, of course, but you want to make sure that if something is a problem, you’ll be able to work out an equitable solution, up to and including walking away from the deal. Your real estate agent can help you with this process.
Ask About Accessibility
While the seller should be sure that all areas of the home are accessible, you may want to ask to be certain. Your inspector will only be able to inspect areas that are accessible, so if a space is closed off or locked, it could either be an oversight or an attempt at hiding something.
Don’t rush the inspection process. Don’t expect to do this on a lunch break. If you need to take time off, plan for a half day. This will be your home, so you want to be as thorough as possible so there are no surprises once you close on the home and move in.
Dress for the Job
It seems strange that this post about home inspections would mention a dress code, but it’s surprisingly important. Don’t be in your business casual or Sunday best. Your inspector will be crawling into dark and cramped spaces and you want to be able to look in those areas as well. Wear comfortable shoes and clothes that you don’t mind getting a little dirty. You may also want to plan according to the weather. If it’s wet outside, you don’t want to track mud all over the home that you want to buy.
Even though you want to buy this home, it isn’t yours quite yet. Throughout the inspection process, always be respectful of someone else’s place and stuff. You don’t need to rifle through personal items to get an idea of the home’s condition. Be considerate that someone else lives in the home for now and treat it like you would want them to treat your home.
What you can do is take notes throughout the process. When the inspector mentions something, write it down. Yes, it will all be in the report, but there may be specific things that will jog your memory or help you ask more questions of your inspector at the end.
There will be a lot of information at the end of the inspection. You don’t have to become overwhelmed with the minutia of everything. There are some fixes that are much more important than others and even small house quirks you could learn to live with if they’re not a concern for your safety. You will be able to ask the seller to do repairs or adjust the offer, so prioritize the things that are essential.
At GoPrime Mortgage in North Carolina, we aren’t your home inspection experts but we can point you in the right direction. We encourage you to talk with agents and professional inspectors to learn more about the actual process. We do hope this helpful outline can help make the process a little less stressful. And to take more stress off of you, talk to us early and often about your financing options.