What Home Inspectors Want You to Know

Get the written report If you hire your own inspector, a verbal inspection will save you time and money. A written report enforces a certain rigor to the inspection process and synthesizing of data. Some might assume that bigger issues are sitting there in plain sight. Not so, “Big problems get discovered by looking hard. If I do 100 inspections as quick, verbal consults, there are high odds of missing something important.”  Chalk says normally he spends at least three hours in a house conducting the inspection before writing his report. “I might wake up at midnight that night realizing something I didn’t understand when on-site,” he says.   

Remember the inspection’s limitationsThe home exam is a snapshot and can’t provide a complete, genealogy-like history. An inspector looks for clues wherever possible, but doesn’t have X-ray vision. Inspectors don’t look for mold, radon or asbestos. Some inspections will require a specialist’s insights. For instance, McMurray says many Seattle-area buyers order a separate sewer scope to look into a home’s sewer system. 

Understand what’s urgent Use your home inspection report to plan your new home’s maintenance and remodel budget, Chalk suggests. You may have planned to spend $50,000 on a new kitchen, but it’s wiser to consider urgent issues first. Most inspection reports will separate maintenance work from more pressing matters. 

Lora Shinn

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