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How to Look

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HOME INSPECTION
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  1. 3)Talk to 2 or 3 inspectors before deciding. Your realtor will usually provide  a list of several inspectors, but recommendations from friends that have recently bought a house are another excellent source. A visit to the each inspector’s website can give you preliminary information before you call. Many inspectors post their prices on their website, while others want you to call them or fill out an online “inspection request” form before providing a price quote. If you are having trouble finding an inspector in your area, the websites of two national home inspector associations, ASHI (www.ashi.org) and InterNACHI (www.nachi.org), will provide contact info for nearby inspector members based on the zip code of the house.

  2. 4)Verify that the inspector actually gets up on the roof. Home inspectors are not required to walk the roof, and some only examine it from the edge on a ladder. Defects that require roof replacement or repair are the most expensive ones found during the average home inspection, and a good evaluation can’t be done without seeing the whole roof surface up close. Some roofs are too steep to walk on safely and have to be examined from a ladder, but ask any potential inspector about their method of examining a roof. If the description sounds a little hazy, with multiple disqualifiers for actually getting up on it and looking around, move on.

  3. 5)Insist on a firm price for the inspection before making the appointment. Getting an accurate price in advance, with no surprise additions after the inspector pulls into the driveway, is the best scenario for both homebuyer and inspector. But it requires two things: that you accurately describe the property and the inspector disclose any additional charges for things like outbuildings, termite inspection, pool, an older home, or a crawl space. It’s a good idea to have the inspector email or text you a price quote when you make the appointment that itemizes the charges.

  4. 6)Be there for the inspection and ask lots of questions. Not much happens during the first twenty minutes of an inspection while the inspector gets set up and oriented to the layout of the house. So, if you want to arrive a little late, that’s fine. But plan on attending the rest of the inspection until the very end to get the best up-close and detailed information from your inspector. Not all inspectors like to be followed around and asked questions while they are working, so see how your inspector wants to present the information and respond to your concerns.

  5. 7)Allow additional time for any necessary follow-up evaluations and contractor estimates. Although some inspectors will provide “ballpark” estimates on repairs that don’t require further evaluation, any big-ticket items where you would feel more comfortable with an actual contractor bid, or ones that need further evaluation by a contractor, will require additional time. Make sure you a have at least 3 or 4 days after the inspection for this work, so you have all the facts and can make a decision without being rushed.
        This means you need a minimum of 10 days for your inspection period. We occasionally get a call from a frantic homebuyer needing “any time you can possibly squeeze us in for an inspection today or tomorrow. The seller only gave us 5 days for the inspection!” That’s nonsense. The inspection period is a negotiable item in your contract, just like the sale price and closing date, so be sure to insist on enough time for adequate due diligence. A seller that’s rushing you is hoping you won’t look too closely at what you are buying until after you have moved in.

   Getting through the inspection period can be stressful, and we hope these tips reduce your anxiety level. Happy house-hunting!

    To learn more valuable strategies for getting the best possible home inspection, here’s a few of our other blog posts:

  1. Should I trust the Seller’s Property Disclosure Statement?

  2. Can I do my own home inspection?

  3. How can homebuyers protect themselves against buying a home over a sinkhole?

  4. What makes a house fail the home inspection?

  5. The seller gave me an old home inspection report from a previous home inspection. Should I use it or get my own inspector?

  6. Why are expired building permits a problem for both the buyer and seller of a home?

   To read about issues related to homes of particular type or one built in a specific decade, visit one of these blog posts:

  1. What are the common problems to look for when buying a 1950s house?

  2. What are the common problems to look for when buying a 1960s home?

  3. What are the common problems to look for when buying a 1970s house?

  4. What are the common problems to look for when buying a 1980s house?

  5. What are the common problems to look for when buying a 1990s house?

  6. What problems should I look for when buying a country house or rural property?

  7. What problems should I look when when buying a house that has been moved?

  8. What are the problems to look for when buying a homeowner remodeled house?

  9. What problems should I look for when buying a house that has been vacant or abandoned?

  10. What are the most common problems with older mobile homes?

  11. What should I look for when buying a “flipper” house?

  12. What should I look for when buying a former rental house?

While we hope you find this series of articles about home inspection helpful, they should not be considered an alternative to an actual home inspection by a local inspector. Also, construction standards vary in different parts of the country and it is possible that important issues related to your area may not be covered here.
© McGarry and Madsen Inspection


More Blog Posts on Similar Subjects:

  1. Does a home inspector give cost estimates for repairs?

  2. Should a home inspection scare you?

  3. What is the difference between an appraisal and a home inspection?

  4. Are you licensed and insured?

  5. We looked at the house carefully, and it seems alright. Do we really need a home inspection?

  6. Is a home inspection required?

  7. Should I be there for the inspection?

  8. What tools do you use for a home inspection?

  9. Is it common for an insurance company to require an inspection?

  10. The seller has to fix everything you find wrong with the house, right?

  11. Is it still possible to do an inspection if there’s no electricity or water?

  12. What’s the difference between a roof inspection and a roofing estimate?

  13. Should I hire an engineer to inspect the house?

  14. Do inspectors go on the roof? Do they get in the attic?

  15. What should I look for when buying a former rental house?

  16. What happens at a home inspection?

  17. Does the home inspector also check for termites?

  18. What different types of specialized inspections can I get?

  19. What are the questions a home inspector won’t answer?

  20. What is the difference between a building inspector and a home inspector?

  21. What is the difference between a home inspection and a final walkthrough inspection?

  22. Should the seller be at the home inspection?

  23. What is the average lifespan of a house?

  24. Should I use my realtor’s home inspector or choose one myself?

  25. Should I use a contractor or a home inspector to inspect a house I’m buying?

  26. Should I get a home inspection before signing a contract to buy the house?

  27. Can a home inspector do repairs to a house after doing the inspection?

  28. What is a “continuous load path”?

  29. When did the first Florida Building Code (FBC) begin and become effective?

  30. Should I only hire an inspector that is a member of a national association like ASHi, InterNACHI, or NAHI?

  31. What is a “cosmetic” defect in a home inspection?

  32. Where are the funny home inspection pictures?

  33. Should I follow the inspector around during the inspection?

  34. Why do realtors call some home inspectors “deal killers”?

  35. How can I reduce the risk of an expensive surprise when buying a house sight unseen?

  36. Does my home have to be inspected to get insurance?

  37. Who should pay for the home inspection?

  38. Can you do a home inspection in the rain?

  39. What are the most Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) at a home inspection?

  40. How can I make sure my house doesn’t fail the home inspection?

  41. Are there any minimum inspection standards that a Florida licensed home inspector must meet?

  42. Can a Florida licensed contractor do home inspections without having a home inspector license?