Don’t find a home inspector through your real estate agent.
It’s in the agent’s best interest to have the deal go through quickly, so some pitch inspectors who find few problems. (Here are some things that all smart homeowners do once a year.)
If you have to go through a real estate agent...
....don't forget to seek homeowner testimonials to back up those referrals. Remember, some less-than-scrupulous agents may be tempted to refer inspectors who tend to let things slide.
If I don’t spend at least two hours at the house...
...I’m what we call a drive-by inspector, and you’re not getting your money’s worth. A thorough inspector checks the crawl space, opens the breaker box, and walks the roof. Most houses take me every bit of three hours. (Do you have a messy house? Here's how it could be making you sick.)
I won’t tell you not to buy a house, because I’m not supposed to give real estate advice.
But if I keep telling you that the house has “a lot of issues” or has “a major issue,” read between the lines—or at least be prepared to spend big money to fix some problems. Keep these 22 things your real estate agent isn't telling you in mind, too.
If you’re a seller...
...you should clean and prepare your house the same way you would for a showing. Most people leave a mess, and when the buyers arrive with me, their jaws hit the floor. (This is how often you should be cleaning everything in your house.)
Ask to see a sample report before you hire me.
It will give you a good idea of what kind of inspector I am. Do I include digital pictures and estimate repair costs or not? It’s a great way to compare two inspectors.
Even brand-new homes should be inspected.
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We find a ridiculous amount of stuff wrong in new construction: leaks, electrical issues, improperly installed washing machines, clogged pipes because the tile guy cleaned his tools in the sink. (You NEED to see these construction fails that you should definitely not try at home.)
Please, if you’re going to pay for my services, read my full report—not just the summary.
Many people don’t. In one report, I specifically noted that the fireplace damper didn’t work. The homeowner called me a few weeks later to complain about all the smoke in the house. Besides smoky fireplaces, here are some other reasons your house might be giving you anxiety.
If you want the sale of your home to go smoothly...
...have the house inspected before you put it on the market. Working with me can give you time to find a reasonably priced contractor or to make the repairs yourself.
If you have a lot of questions, don’t ask them as I’m walking through the house.
It will distract me, and I might miss something. Let’s go through them at the end. (Here are some pretty personal details your house reveals about you.)