It is recommended that a client be present during the inspection so that they can learn and observe first-hand any issues discovered in the home. If you are a For Sale By Owner [FSBO] then you should absolutely by present!
What is a Home Inspection?
A home inspection is a fee-paid service that is prepared for a specific client. This report is designed to give the Buyer- or For Sale by Owner [FSBO]- a good overall general assessment of the physical condition of the property, in order to assist with the purchasing process.
The inspection report created by a Home Inspector should be clear, concise and able to be readily understood. Every Home Inspector should be capable of communicating throughout the report using complete sentence and plain, common language. The report should also contain digital photos of any significant issues. The completed inspection report should be delivered in a timely manner; during a real estate transaction, time is typically of the essence and the information should be made available with that in mind.
Types of Inspections
1. Pre-Listing Inspection
Pre-Listing home inspections are typically done just before a home is officially placed on the market. This is done to help identify any issues that will impact selling the home once an offer comes in. A bonus to having a pre-listing inspection done, is that the sale of a home can actually be finalized much quicker- this is because most offer-to-purchase contracts allow the buyer a seven to ten day “time allowance” to arrange and receive a home inspection prior to condition removal.
Another benefit of having a home pre-inspected is that the asking price is thereby (more) justified. A home inspection can verify for interested buyers that the home is in good condition. Add to this any receipts from repairs done as a result of the pre-listing inspection, and you will have inspired buyer confidence: that the home they wish to purchase is in good shape! So, an inspection before you place your home on the market can help you price your home to sell quickly. And if you’re a For Sale By Owner [FSBO], a pre-inspection can help bring buyers to your door!
2. Pre-Purchase Inspection
A Pre-Purchase inspection is typically a home inspection that is thought of as a service performed shortly before one buys a home. This is the most common time in which a home inspection is likely to be requested. This step in the buying process is very important in making sure that you get what you pay for, with regard to your new home.
The inspection is conducted within the seven to ten day window of time after an offer to purchase a home has been accepted. The purpose of this inspection is to inform the buyer of any issues with the home, which the buyer may wish to address with the For Sale By Owner [FSBO] or the Seller’s Real Estate Agent. With prior knowledge of a home’s “weak areas”, buyers can often renegotiate their offer; get concerning areas repaired; or, if issues are not addressed to their satisfaction, can walk away from the house with just cause.
3. Maintenance Inspection
In the case of a maintenance inspection, the home is not about to be either listed or purchased. The owner simply wants to hire a person with experience and knowledge to have a look at his home, strictly for personal maintenance/renovation purposes. The inspector is hired to identify issues early, before they become a large problem. It is also common for maintenance inspections to be limited to areas of the home to which the homeowner cannot easily gain access i.e. the attic, crawl space or roof.
Maintenance inspections are commonly used by the elderly, disabled, or anyone with limited physical ability, to get an unbiased report on the home and what is required to maintain it. In the case of the elderly, this service can help them retain their independence longer by maintaining the home as required, as well as helping to secure the property value. For example, the information obtained in the inspection can assist in the planning of a maintenance program with a hired hand if they are unable to perform certain tasks themselves.
Finally, maintenance inspectors are supposed to be “neutral” and do not do repairs themselves as part of their area of expertise. So their recommendations should be objective, and not coloured by financial interest or a “referral” relationship with other maintenance service providers, such as contractors. In fact, elderly people are considered to be very vulnerable to scams in which they end up coerced into paying for unnecessary repairs on their home. Having a reputable Maintenance Inspector visit your home protects you from unneeded repairs and outrageous bills in the future.
4. (New) Pre-Construction Inspection
Building a new home is a tremendously complex endeavor. It involves many people- usually split up into subcontractor groups- each working on different parts and systems of the house. Even for the best builders, it’s nearly impossible to complete this process without missing something.
For a relatively small cost, you can benefit from a professional, detailed Third Party Home Inspection of your new dream home, during the construction or after it is built. This kind of inspection can pay big dividends in peace of mind; you will have identified and had the opporunity to correct potential problems before you even move in! The Pre-Construction Inspection can help to avoid a whole host of unpleasant surprises down the road.
5. One-Year Warranty Inspection
Most new homes come with a 12-month Builder Warranty. You can protect your investment by checking out the integrity of your home before the year window is up. For items that remain unresolved or new issues that have arisen, the One-Year Inspection is usually conducted somewhere within the 11 month period, post-possession. A newly-constructed home needs time to dry out and “settle”, hence the window.
The One-Year Inspection includes a comprehensive assessment of all systems and components, with the same scrutiny that a full Pre-Delivery Inspection would entail.
The Buyer or For Sale By Owner [FSBO] should be made to feel completely comfortable in approaching the inspector with questions at any time. There is no such thing as a stupid question, so ask as many as you feel you need to… That’s why the inspector is there, and why you are paying for this service.