What to Expect
(… at the inspection.)
Once you’ve found your dream home and are ready to buy, one of the next steps is to schedule an inspection. When it comes to this process, you might be wondering what your role is and what your next steps are. Don’t stress about it, the process is easier than you might think. Here’s a basic rundown of what you can expect during a home inspection.
Who you can expect to be present
It’s very likely that most people involved in the sale of the home might be present at the inspection. You, your agent, and the inspector will be there, of course.
You can also expect the listing agent to be present. They are there to address any problems that come up and to advocate for the seller, not to defend them and the property against you, your agent, and the inspector. It’s important to remember that everyone has the same goal in mind: to complete this transaction as favorably and easily as possible.
Though unlikely, the seller might choose to come along too.
Your role as the buyer
As the buyer, it’s highly recommended that you come along to the inspection. Look through the seller’s disclosures and come prepared with any questions you may have for the inspector. No question is too small or insignificant. Remember, this is your investment, and this is your opportunity to learn as much as possible about it before making a commitment.
Know that it’s possible for negotiations to start during or immediately after the inspection, so make sure you block out enough time for this, at least a few hours, and come prepared.
Make sure your agent comes along with you; after all, they’re part of your team. They have done this before and might ask questions that you hadn’t thought of and can advise you if negotiations open up during this time.
During the inspection, the inspector should visit every nook and cranny of the home (within reason depending on season and accessibility) taking notes; this might mean getting into a crawl space or climbing up onto the roof. Go with them, if you are physically able, so you can truly get a complete picture of the state of the home.
Keep in mind that the inspector is not there to advise you on negotiations. A good inspector remains unbiased and doesn’t get involved in the sales process or get overly excited about any problems that arise. He or she should also make sure to explain things to you as they’re found, demonstrating how things work or explaining how something is going wrong.
Additionally, It’s important to remember that the inspector is not a contractor. They’re sole purpose is to give you an unbiased, educated opinion on the condition of the home. While they might be able to offer some insight on particular issues, they’re there to tell you what is wrong, not necessarily how to fix it.
Friends and family members, a.k.a The Peanut Gallery
Bringing friends and family along to the inspection isn’t always the best idea. The expression “too many cooks in the kitchen” definitely fits here. Well-meaning family members can distract the inspector and possibly cause the seller’s agent to feel a bit defensive. When your supporters begin critiquing the home, this could send up red flags about the purchase. Additionally, having too many people in the home can be overwhelming and is unnecessary.
After the inspection
After the inspection, the inspector will send you a detailed report on the condition of the home. Many times, an inspector will review the report with you in person, or over the phone. This is a great opportunity to ask any questions that came up post-inspection or to get clarification on anything that looks strange to you. Use this report as a tool in decision making and strategizing with your agent.