Home Inspection Confusion

Home Inspection Misconceptions

With the increasing popularity of home inspections, today, most homes have undergone one prior to buying or selling. The purpose of the inspection is to inform the potential buyer of the actual condition of the home. This allows them to make educated decisions regarding the property. Even though home inspections are so common, there are still several misconceptions surrounding them.

Some people believe that home inspections are done so that the buyer can bargain for a lower price. The major purpose of an inspection is to alert the buyer of any significant situations that may have an adverse effect on the structural integrity of the home and any safety issues that this would cause especially ones that were omitted by the seller on the disclosure statement. If such items are discovered, then it is OK to use the inspection results to renegotiate the pricing of the property. The home inspection is not used to point out all the cosmetic imperfections of the property and in most cases; this type of thing is not even included in the report given by the inspector. You do not want to nit pick over the small stuff.

Often times, it is thought that only “used homes” require an inspection. Nothing could be farther form the truth. It is just as important to get a new home inspected as it is a used one. With new homes, there are many players in the game, subcontractors that perform their own specialized field of work. Unfortunately, not all contractors can be trusted to do everything according to code and sometimes eliminate or take short cuts in order to trim costs. There are many stipulations and contracts that come into play at closing time regarding the purchase of a new home and if your inspection isn’t done in a timely manner prior to closing, you could be putting yourself in a situation that is very problematic.

Contrary to popular belief, not all home inspections are created equal! It is so very important to have your Sacramento inspection done by a reputable, experienced inspector, one that has been thoroughly trained and knows what to look for. They should be familiar with the guidelines and procedures that are to be followed in your area. Be sure to check their credentials prior to hiring them and don’t be afraid to ask for references and most importantly, check those references out.

Even though you have had another type of inspection done such as a pest inspection, code inspection or even an appraisal, don’t think that you are in good shape. These types of inspection do not take the place of a comprehensive home inspection. Each home inspection is followed up with a written report detailing all the findings of the inspection along with diagrams and sometime pictures of the issues found. This way you can see exactly what they are talking about. So, put your mind at ease and get a trained inspector to conduct your Sacramento inspection before you decide to buy.

If You Are Selling a Home – A Home Inspection Helps Seal the Deal

You have heard the horror stories. A friend buys a home that is now literally crumbling around her. Somebody took shortcuts, and her home was not inspected before she bought it. Now she is stuck and can not do anything about it. A home inspection before the sale would have made the deal honest and prevented headaches and heartache later for this friend and concerned family members.

These days it is tempting to cut corners, usually with the idea of saving money. However, a home inspection is a worthwhile investment. If you are planning to sell a home, an inspection can identify problems in the making and suggest preventive measures that might help avoid costly future repairs. A home inspection gives you the opportunity to make any necessary repairs now that will put the house in better selling condition. In the real estate market today, having your home pre-inspected can be a great selling point.

Plus, you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing you are doing the right thing for the people who will be buying the home. It means a lot for them to know they can count on their new home to be a place they are proud to live in with few hassles. It also protects you from possible problems.

Keep in mind that the home you are selling must signal to prospective buyers that there is nothing to fear by checking out this home. They need assurance the home is in good condition, or even better than that. If your home is listed online, make sure there is a link to click so the buyer can view the inspection for himself.

Put yourself in the shoes of a real estate agent for a minute. You are looking for a suitable home for a client. What would you look for? Would you want to see a home that stands out from the hundreds of others out there? Would you want that buyer to know they can investigate and buy that home with confidence? A home inspection helps give that assurance. It will be easier to sell the home to your client if one of the most difficult steps is already out of the way. Barring unforeseen problems, such as with financing, your job of finding a home for your client is that much easier.

As the home seller, you need to take control of the situation proactively. When a buyer comes along with a home inspector, they may be looking to cut costs. If they are not happy with the condition of the house, they may ask for repairs at an inflated price or terminate the contract altogether. The bottom line – they decide not to buy the house. You may not get a second chance with that buyer. You are left with the house still on the market and with the task of making things right before you can sell to the next prospective buyer. That person will not want any surprise defects to contend with either.

It can be disappointing for you if an inspection finds serious problems. However, dealing with things right away means less chance of alarm or regret on the part of the buyer as well as less chance of a deal going sour. You will make the home even easier to sell by having it inspected again after repairs have been done. Then make the revised report available with the listing. This should make the deal go smoothly.

Here is another helpful tip to seal a deal. Have the inspector print out several copies of the inspection report for you so prospective buyers can take one when they tour the home. Allowing buyers to take a copy of the report keeps your home in their minds that much longer. Your inspector shouldn’t mind printing copies of his report because his name and report is being carried around for the other buyers who did not purchase your home but may call him for their own inspections.

To summarize, many sellers are having a home inspection done at the time of their listing in order to repair or determine the condition of their home. If you do this, you can use the inspection as a sales tool. A seller’s inspection will virtually eliminate all the hassles and blown deals that inspections might cause when the buyer brings in their inspector. It gives leverage back to you, the seller. Most importantly, a seller’s home inspection is the ultimate gesture of full disclosure and will help protect you.

Home Sellers – How to Survive a Home Inspection

Simply following the steps provided in this article will help you survive having a Home Inspection. Your Home Inspection is just one more stressful event to add to a likely growing list of events unfolding in the process of selling your home. What with moving, getting the list of needed repairs done, achieving and maintaining that “curb appeal”, the last thing you need is some stranger tromping through your home, looking in all those dark corners. Well, take a deep breath, pick up that last dust bunny under the chair, sit down a moment and read further. I provide real solutions to at least make the Home Inspection part easier.

  1. Please have a clean home. Inspectors are accustomed to dealing with “OPD” (Other Peoples Dirt), however it is always preferable to have a clean home to work in. Don’t worry about a little mess or disorganized clutter. Packing boxes and a little dirt are OK. We do not inspect for cleanliness, however we are human and do not particularly enjoy spending several hours (sometimes on hands and knees in bathrooms) inspecting a foul nest. Even though you are likely tired of keeping things spotless for open houses and potential buyers coming through, please don’t drop the ball on cleaning completely. If I encounter an extremely dirty home, I may be holding my breath until I can make an exit; however I am also looking harder for defects and deferred maintenance in such homes, and often find them.
  2. Windows and doors should all be operable and accessible. It is a great help to have all the windows and doors accessible so I can easily check the condition of the windows and doors and also the operation of them. If you have casement windows and have removed the cranks, please have them available at windows. Open all blinds and curtains for easier access, and if possible move furniture to allow for access. Any breakable or valuable items on window sills should be removed (Inspector will not move them or move furniture).
  3. Turn on all lights and ceiling fans. You may wish to turn all the lights and ceiling fans on in the home just before the Inspector arrives. It also helps if you know what all the electrical switches in the home do. The Inspector can spend untold time trying to determine what each switch operates. If the Inspector wishes to turn on all the lights and fans in your home, please do not follow behind him turning them off (yes I have had numerous homeowners do this). He has likely done this for the same reason that I do this. Having all the lights on is part of the test of the electrical system to ensure it is checked under a reasonable load. The Inspector will turn off the lights and fans when he is done.
  4. Make certain all lights and fans are functional. Have any remote controls for ceiling fans available. If there are inoperable lights and they just need a bulb replaced, the Inspector will not know this and does not carry bulbs with him. Inoperable lights will be written up as a defect (why pay an electrician to check them?).
  5. Have all appliances ready for the Inspector to operate. Some Inspectors will check appliances, and some do not. Let the Inspector start the appliances such as the dishwasher and washing machine. Do not have clothes in the washing machine or clothes dryer (they will need to be removed by the Inspector).
  6. Remove your pets. Please be prepared to have your animals gone during the inspection. I like dogs, cats, lizards and most critters, but during an inspection they can be in the way or a nuisance (try doing an inspection with a dog barking every time you move). The Inspector also does not want to be responsible for having animals escape from the home and then retrieve them. The opposite side of this coin is a funny short story: I was inspecting a Villa that was situated next to a lagoon. I was outside and came in, leaving the sliding door open for just a moment, and when I turned around, a mother duck and her ducklings were proudly waddling in to the Villa (I quickly scooted them outside again). Later I had a good laugh and realized just how much they quacked me up. Seriously, I will try not to let any strays in your home.
  7. Inform the Inspector if you are to have visitors to the home. Inform the Inspector of any expected visitors (if you will not be there) so he can allow them in and not have to worry about whether they should be there or not. Also be prepared if the buyer (and other family members) should elect to attend the Inspection. Ask your Realtor or the buyer’s Realtor to attend if this occurs (the Inspector should not be responsible for others).
  8. Provide access to electrical panel. Please have access provided to your main electrical panel (fuse box or circuit breaker box). The Inspector has to remove the panel cover to check the interior components. It is not fun (or safe) to stand in a crowded area and work with electricity. A charred and smoking Inspector is not very fragrant either.
  9. Be punctual. If you are meeting the Inspector at the home, please be on time. Most of us invest an enormous amount of time for the money earned, and appreciate punctuality. If I am going to be late I will call.
  10. Please have all utilities on, including gas for fireplaces as necessary. Having pilot lights lit will help, since most Inspectors will not light pilot lights.
  11. Provide access to attics. Please make certain access is clear and unencumbered to all attic accesses.
  12. All doors should be accessible. Ensure all interior and exterior doors are accessible, and if there are any locked closets or utility type sheds, please provide keys as necessary.
  13. Should I stay or should I go? This is a good question people often ask me. Usually I like to meet with the owners to ask a few questions. Once I have asked the various questions that help me do my job better, feel free to leave or stay. Most often it makes no difference to me. If you are comfortable with leaving someone in your home, (assuming you will be there) plan on an inspection lasting from 3 to 5 hours on average. Ask your Home Inspector how long it will take. Most Home Inspectors, (including myself) are licensed and bonded.
  14. Alert the Inspector to any safety concerns. If you know of any safety concerns in your home, please let the Inspector know. Items such as attic pull down stairs that have a tendency to fall on your head (yes this has happened-Ouch!) or perhaps shocking electrical fixtures or receptacles.
  15. Do not ask what defects the Inspector has found. Most Inspectors will politely tell you that the home purchaser (who is paying for the report) is the only person he can share that information with. However the Inspector should inform you of any known safety concerns that may impact you. Keep in mind that if the Inspector gave you the list of defects and you set about to repair them all, you may have repaired some items needlessly. That defective refrigerator or oven may be something the buyer does not care about anyway. He may have plans to replace it. For that reason, you may wish to wait until you have the requested list of repairs from the buyer, before repairing items.
  16. Have your own Inspection performed. Consider having your own inspection (Pre-listing Inspection) before you have a Home Inspection the buyer has arranged for. You get to choose the Home Inspector, and there are other benefits. A Pre-listing Inspection allows you to find out early what repairs might be needed, and to get the repairs done early. This usually is a cost savings, since you can take your time and shop for the best price for the repairs. Having the Pre-listing Inspection also eliminates a lot of anxiety and stress. It also allows for the home to be more realistically priced in some instances. For example, if you find out the home needs a new roof, but you do not want to invest in a new roof, it is likely you will want to adjust your price accordingly, or at least be prepared for a price reduction. On the plus side, if you get a fairly clean Home Inspection Report, you may wish to let your pricing reflect this (raise pricing perhaps). Most buyers will still have their own Inspector inspect your home. However it conveys a positive attitude to the buyer when you have your own Inspection. Presenting a list of the repaired items is also positive. Simply put, having a Pre-Listing Inspection can reduce anxiety, save money, and make for a smoother and quicker home sale.
  17. Treat your Home Inspector as a guest in your home. I do my best to leave each home as I found it, and treat the home and occupants with respect. I know that I am a guest you may not welcome with open arms. I also know you do not need any additional stress. Offering coffee, a soda, or water is a nice gesture and helps to set a nice tone.

Simply performing some or all of the above steps will help you remove a lot of the stress associated with a Home Inspection. This article does not take into account fixing or repairing common defects, so you may also want to repair any known defects as you see fit. Best wishes with your Home Inspection. John M. Wickline, President,

JW Home Inspections, Inc
Copyright 2009

Why Home Inspection Software Is Better Than Paper

Technology is growing at a rapid pace and is being used in many different fields to make life and work easier. Home inspections are no different. One of the main areas where technology is making life easier for home inspectors is through the use of home inspection software. Software now allows home inspectors to toss the clipboard and get rid of the paper from their inspections and reporting. This allows an inspector to deliver a more professional report to their clients, and for some, eliminates the tedious process of writing the inspection on paper and then retyping everything back at the office.

Today software for conducting home inspections allows you to use a handheld, phone, tablet PC, or laptop in the field. This allows the inspector to collect all of the information in the field and eliminates the work that is often done back at the office. This saves home inspectors a great amount of time on each inspection and frees up time to focus on other aspects of the business such as marketing.

With home inspection software loaded up onto a portable device, home inspectors can put together the entire report while conducting the home inspection. Software makes it easy to use dropdowns to enter the condition of items, add notes, add pictures, and make recommendations to clients. With a wireless printer an inspector can print a report on-site and hand it directly to the client when finished with the inspection. They can also take the report back to the office, finish adding in photos and final comments, and then turn the report into a PDF. The PDF can easily be emailed to their client. This eliminates any issues the client may have with trying to read messy handwriting as well.

Another advantage of using home inspection software is that it is easy to add photos directly into reports. This allows the client to see exactly what the inspector is referring to in their report. Software also gives the inspector the flexibility to customize the way their home inspection reports look. They can easily edit fonts, colors, and the overall look of the report. Inspectors can also customize the templates and forms they use to create new templates that match the way they inspect. Software has the capability of automatically creating summaries of items requiring attention. This makes it very easy for the client to have one place to reference to see all of the key inspection findings. For example, every item that is marked with a Marginal rating would show up in the Marginal Summary.

Using home inspection software allows an inspector to stay organized without having to deal with all that paper. All inspections are saved on the computer and can easily be opened at any point in time. Home inspectors can also save a great deal of money over time by not needing to purchase paper forms. Oftentimes, carbon copy forms can cost the inspector anywhere from $8 – $25 a report and this quickly adds up. With software, they will no longer pay per inspection and it will pay for itself.

Making the switch to home inspection software from paper will also allow inspectors to stay ahead of their competitors. Software allows them to create a much more professional looking report and really impress their clients. With a professional report being passed among realtors and clients with an inspector’s company name on it, they will be in position to gain referrals based just on the look of the report.

Overall, home inspection software is a major upgrade over conducting home inspections with a pen and paper. Not only can it save an inspector time, but it also gives them the ability to easily create professional looking reports and customize them to their needs. Electronically delivering reports is also quick and easy and will make a great impression on clients. By Impressing clients and realtors with their reports, they will be able to gain new referrals with home inspection software.

Increase Your Selling Chances With a Pre-Listing Home Inspection

Any certified home inspector can perform a pre-listing home inspection, provided that the homeowner make a few basic accommodations. As a homeowner, you can start by making sure that power, water, and gas will be turned on at the home while the inspector will be performing his or her evaluation. Next, try to clear the space around items such as kitchen appliances, the water heater, and the indoor and outdoor units of the air conditioner. These items are all examined separately as part of many home inspections, and the home inspector will need clear access to these items in order to see them and check that they are working properly. Also, make sure that all doors and windows are accessible, as well as any indoor and outdoor staircases. Generally, these accommodations would be required by your realtor during the pre-listing phase of selling a house, so getting a home ready for the inspector should not require a lot of extra effort.

A homeowner and the realtor can and should be present during inspections, but many home inspectors can also perform pre-listing inspections without anyone present. During pre-listing inspections, a home inspector will examine the same items that he or she would during pre-purchase inspections. A good inspector will check the home’s appliances to see if they are functioning properly, as well as items like the air conditioner and water heater. The structure of the house will be examined for signs that the foundation, electrical systems, and plumbing is in good condition. Any damage to these items will be noted in the written inspection report. Once the pre-listing inspection is complete, a homeowner will know what issues need to be addressed before selling the home. Small items can be fixed, and larger items will be known about before a potential buyer sets foot in the house.

Many home sellers are concerned that pre-listing inspections will reveal flaws in their home that they will be obligated to disclose during a sale. In actuality, however, the majority of pre-listing inspections only turn up minor flaws in homes that can be easily corrected. In the rare case that a pre-listing inspection lists a major item to be repaired, it is important to keep in mind that the pre-purchase inspection that the potential buyer would pay for would discover the same problem. At that point, however, a buyer could use the information to walk away from the sale. In most cases, pre-listing inspections turn out to be a great selling point for the homeowner.

By providing a report from a neutral third party attesting to the condition of the home, a homeowner is able to provide something that many other houses on the market will not have. The home inspection report can also be given to home appraisers and the mortgage company of the buyer’s bank. By having this report, home appraisers are able to make a quicker and more accurate appraisal of the home, and potential buyers can feel confident that the house was inspected by a third party certified home inspector.

For more information about Pre-Listing Home Inspections, visit http://www.fsginspections.com/services/pre-listing-home-inspections/