I am so happy to share this information with you. A Home Inspection is a huge step in the home buying process. They are the first snap shot of the home you are purchasing, from behind the walls. I believe home inspectors and the home inspection itself are widely misunderstood. With this blog and video I am hoping to clear away the clouds and help the consumers understand what home inspections are and do for the consumer.
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What is a Home Inspection?
In the video above, I talk to Tony Stewart and Brenda Gerena, Owners and Operators of Inspector Tony Home Inspections. They let me interrupt them at a job to talk about what they do. Brenda explains home inspections as “a professional, in-detail and non-invasive examination of the current condition of the home.” She goes on to say that the reason for getting a Home Inspection is to provide an educated benchmark prior to purchasing the home. You will learn important components of the home such as water shut off, electrical panel location and shut off, as well as key safety issues. Home inspections ARE NOT a requirement when purchasing a home, however, I highly recommend ordering one. The Utah Real Estate Purchase Contract says that you are buying the home AS-IS. It is up to you, the consumer, to know what you are getting into and whether you want to proceed in purchasing the home.
The Home Inspector
Home Inspector Licensing and Training
Not all Home Inspectors are on the same playing field. The state of Utah only requires Home Inspectors to obtain a Business license and have insurance. Regretfully, Home Inspectors do not have any requirements as far as training, certification or continuing education. Brenda explains when shopping for a Home Inspector to be sure to ask about about previous work experience and education. Also, ask about certifications and memberships to Accredited Inspector Organizations. Inspector Tony can say yes to all of the above as he has education through Penn Foster as well as InterNachi.
What To Look for in a Home Inspector
Always check their background, for example, do they have experience and knowledge in building, remodeling or architecture? Anything that would help to give them experience in home inspections. Education is important. There are a few online and physical places that you can take education courses. Additionally, there are organizations the inspector can and should belong to. The InterNachi Organization requires dozens of tests before you can become a member and licensing through them.
Of course a good questions to ask your Home Inspector is about price. The cheapest is almost always not the best. Ask them what their work experience and education is. Also, find out which organizations, if any, they are members of. Never use an inspector that will do repairs. It is a Huge conflict of interest.
Finally, ask about discounts. Inspector Tony offers a Hero Discount. If you are military, police, a first responder or a teacher ask about discounts on home inspections.
The Home Inspection Process
I want to know what a home inspection involves. Brenda talks about basically a roof to crawl space experience. “We check everything depending on the weather and daylight. Those items permitting we look at the roof, exterior of home, slope of yard etc. Once inside, everything from windows, to every single electrical outlet is checked for functionality. If we have access to the attic or crawl space we enter those areas as well. Every home is very different, however, everything is checked, including the stove and microwave.”
At this particular home, the sellers shut off the main water to the home. In a circumstance like that, the inspector is unable to test faucets, bathtubs and hot water heaters. What happens then? We let them know that we do include one free recheck. So when the water gets turned on we are happy to come back and recheck all those items that we were unable to check today.
What can the seller do to prepare for a home inspection? Make sure ALL utilities are on and working. Ensure the furnace pilot is lit, the water heater is on. The home inspector cannot turn any of these utilities on as it is a liability issue. So it is up the seller to ensure the home is ready for the inspection. Furthermore, if the utilities are off, it can delay the process for the buyers and cause issues with the due diligence timing,
Expectations for Home Inspections
What can a buyer expect when you are done with a home inspection?
Once we are done with the home inspection, we do a walk-through with the buyers and their real estate agent. That usually takes about 20 or 30 minutes depending on any questions they may have. We also email their report to them and their agent within 24 hours.
Usually there is a list of repairs on every report. The Buyers should expect to look for safety issues rather than repair items. You should know that a majority of the items that we find are general maintenance. Typical homeowner items that you may need to address eventually. In most cases it is not anything that that needs to be an immediate concern. Brenda tells their customers to read over the report with their realtor. If you have any specific concerns, or bit tickets items such as roof, plumbing or electrical, then those are items to to discuss.
What is something that needs to be fixed immediately? If there is an electrical panel issue, such as double tap fuses, it is a fire hazard issue. Anything that is a safety hazard we definitely recommend to be fixed immediately. And how do you note those in a home inspection? If it’s a safety issue, it has a “S” for safety. Sometimes the list gets overwhelming for a buyer, especially first time home buyers. Repeat home buyers can also become anxious about the home inspection. Again, be sure to ask questions. Tony is great at educating the customer. Remember, you are going to find things that you will have to fix in any home.
Radon Testing and More
Home inspectors should be able to test for Radon, Methamphetamine, and Mold. These tests are not standard and are additional services. However, we at C4 Elite Real Estate highly recommend paying for the tests if you have any concerns at all. Tony says, “Radon is a two day test (click to learn more) where we leave the machine in the house. The readings take the averages of hourly data”. When complete, the inspector sends the results to the realtor and the buyer.
A meth test can be done onsite and show immediate results. The Mold test is a swab test sent to a lab for evaluation and results. Tony says, “If I see mold throughout the inspection, I will point it out to the buyer.” If there is an issue with mold or methamphetamine, is that something the home inspector fixes? Again, that is a conflict of interest. There are companies that are professionals in remediation for all of the above.
On a final note, Tony and Brenda recommend “having a good relationship with real your realtor so that if any problems do come up, you can handle them as a team”. Furthermore, they want you to come into the home inspection with as many questions as you can ask. They will do their best to answer them in a knowledgeable and professional manner.
A Huge Thank you to Inspector Tony and Brenda for letting me interrupt their work day to hopefully shed some light on the Home Inspection process and help manage expectations.
We at C4 Elite Real Estate want to ensure your home buying process is smooth and as stress free as possible. Call us today and we will sit down and talk about your needs and get you on the road to your new dream home.