If you’re looking at buying a house, then you probably want to get it inspected. Before scheduling a home inspection, there are a number of things to do.
Step 1: Make sure the owner is ok with it
Unsurprisingly, you need the owner’s permission to have their house inspected. Talk with them and find a time which works with both your schedules. It’s preferable for the owner not to be present at the inspection for a number of reasons, but there are plenty of reasons why the owner might want to be on the premises during the inspection. If the owner wants to be there that’s fine, just find a time that works for everyone.
Step 2: Make sure the owner secures any animals
I love animals, dogs included. However, many dogs don’t like strangers walking around on their property. If you want your home inspection to be safe, ask the owner to secure any large animals in a secure container. Having them fenced in the backyard won’t cut it. Yard tethers also won’t do, since many dogs are strong enough to pull them right out of the ground when they want to.
Surprisingly, cats can sometimes cause trouble during inspections. A very grumpy cat can be aggressive and can give very painful bites and scratches. However, this usually isn’t a problem, but it’s worth talking with the owner about.
It’s entirely up to the owner to decide what to do with their animals, but having large animals either secured or removed from the premises during the inspection is a requirement for many inspectors.
Step 3: Decide who's going to be present at the inspection
Most home inspectors recommend that the prospective buyers accompany them during the inspection. This makes it easy for the inspector to point out defects and allows the buyers to ask questions along the way.
Often the realtor will accompany them during the inspection. The realtor wants to see what’s going on and wants to able to act in the best interest of their clients. This is often a good idea since you can discuss the findings with the realtor better afterward, but some inspectors don’t like having realtors accompany them during the inspection since they’ve had bad experiences with realtors who are more interested in getting the house sold than in helping the buyer understand the house.
It generally isn’t recommended to have the seller following during the home inspection. The information that a home inspection provides belongs to the client of the home inspector, which is usually the prospective buyer. Some unethical sellers will follow along during the inspection and make excuses or even lie about certain defects in the home. This is an awkward situation for a home inspector to be in, so it’s generally not recommended that the seller follow along unless it’s a sellers’ inspection.
Obviously its still ok for the seller to be on the premises during an inspection, but it can be difficult when the occupants and the home inspector have to work around each other, so generally we recommend that the seller schedule at a time when they can be out of the house.
In some cases, the buyer doesn’t want to accompany the inspector during an inspection. This is completely fine. There are certain dangers and health risks that go along with a home inspection, so if you choose not to accompany the inspector that’s completely ok.
Step 4: Schedule the Inspection
Once you’ve done all that, it’s time to schedule you inspection. Make sure that the home inspector you select includes pictures in their report. Pictures show you defects and the condition of the home, so it’s vital that the inspection report have them.
Beyond that, it’s up to you what criteria you use to select your inspector. You can decide based on their price, or what services they offer, or how many years of experience they have, or any other criteria you want.
A home is one of the most expensive things you will buy during your life, so it’s important to know what you’re getting into. Don’t hesitate to ask your inspector lots of questions, they’re there to provide you with information, so make good use of them.