Buying a home? The process can be stressful. A home inspection is supposed to give you peace of mind, but often has the opposite effect. You will be asked to absorb a lot of information in a short time. This often includes a written report, checklist, photographs, environmental reports and what the inspector himself says during the inspection. All this combined with the seller’s disclosure and what you notice yourself makes the experience even more overwhelming. What should you do? Relax. Most of your inspection will be maintenance recommendations, life expectancies and minor imperfections. These are nice to know about. However, the issues that really matter will fall into four categories:
- Material defects. An example of this would be a structural failure.
- Things that lead to major defects. A roof-flashing leak, for example.
- Things that may hinder your ability to finance, legally occupy or insure the home.
- Safety hazards, such as walkway and stairway tripping hazards.
Anything in these categories should be addressed. Often a serious problem can be corrected inexpensively to protect both life and property (especially in categories 2 and 4).
Selling your home? Eventually your buyers are going to conduct an inspection. You may as well know what they are going to find by getting there first. Having an inspection performed ahead of time helps in many other ways:
- It allows you to see your home through the eyes of a critical third-party.
- It helps you to price your home realistically.
- It permits you to make repairs ahead of time so that …
- Defects won’t become negotiating stumbling blocks later.
- There is no delay in obtaining the Use and Occupancy permit.
- You have the time to get reasonably priced contractors or make the repairs yourself, if qualified.
- It may encourage the buyer to waive the inspection contingency.
- It may alert you of items of immediate personal concern, such active termite infestation.
- It may relieve prospect’s concerns and suspicions.
- It reduces your liability by adding professional supporting documentation to your disclosure statement.
- It may alert you to immediate safety issues before agents and visitors tour your home.
Copies of the inspection report along with receipts for any repairs should be made available to potential buyers.