Guide to Your Home Inspection

    So you made an offer, it was accepted, and now your next task is to have the home inspected prior to closing. More often than not, your agent may have made your offer contingent on an acceptable home inspection. Time is of the essence in all real estate contracts, so you may have a week or two to get all of these inspections done (read your contract or ask your agent). It’s your agent’s job to keep you on track throughout the process.

    Note that there is no “pass or fail” option with the home inspection. Homes don’t pass or fail. You read the report and simply decide whether you want to buy the house, terminate the contract, or ask for credits/repairs. Period. All houses have flaws and issues (even new construction). The point of the home inspection is to know what you are buying.

    First, you need to choose your home inspector.

    How to Choose an Inspector

    We have a short list of inspectors that they we worked with in the past that we can recommend to you. Realtor.com suggests that you consider the following 5 areas when choosing the right home inspector for you:

    1. Qualifications – find out what’s included in your inspection & if the age or location of your home may warrant specific certifications or specialties.
    2. Sample Reports – ask for a sample inspection report so you can review how thoroughly they will be inspecting your dream home. The more detailed the report the better in most cases.
    3. References – do your homework – ask for phone numbers and names of past clients that you can call to ask about their experience.
    4. Memberships – Not all inspectors belong to a national or state association of home inspectors, and membership in one of these groups should not be the only way to evaluate your choice. Often membership in one of these organizations means that there is continued training and education provided.
    5. Errors & Omission Insurance – Find out what the liability of the inspector or inspection company is once the inspection is over. The inspector is only human after all, and it is possible that they might miss something they should have seen.

    If possible, you the buyer should attend the home inspection with the inspector. That way he can point out anything that should be addressed or fixed in person. Reading the final report is good, but nothing replaces being there with the inspector at the time of the inspection.

    Don’t be surprised to see your inspector crawling around in the attic, testing electrical outlets, and looking under sinks at the plumbing. The job of the inspector is to protect your investment and find any issues with the home, including but not limited to: the roof, plumbing, electrical components, appliances, heating & air conditioning systems, ventilation, windows, the fireplace & chimney, the foundation and so much more!

    They say ‘ignorance is bliss,’ but not when investing your hard-earned money in a home of your own. Work with a professional you can trust to give you the most information possible about your new home so that you can make the most educated decision about your purchase.

    We have a list of Schuylkill and Berks County home inspectors in our office who we work with regularly, who we recommend. All of the inspectors we use are certified, and belong to national home inspection organizations. All of the inspectors we use carry E&O insurance and provide professional reports in a timely manner. You are free to choose any home inspector you wish (as long as they are licensed and belong to a national organization – per the Pennsylvania Agreement of Sale). Take a look at our recommendations, do a Google search or find others on Yelp if you wish. Call around and select someone you feel comfortable with.

    When you decide on who to use, tell the inspector which inspections you need (whole home, radon, termite, well, septic, etc.) and who your buyer’s agent is. The inspector will arrange everything with your buyer’s agent and provide a written report for all the inspections you’ve chosen.

    After the home inspections are complete, and you read your reports and discuss them with your agent, you may (1) accept the property as it is (2) reject the property and move on or (3) negotiate with the seller. If you choose option 3, you can ask the seller to fix or remediate certain items, or perhaps negotiate a lower price or a credit at closing. Your buyer’s agent will guide you through this process.