Common Inspection Questions
What is inspected? A general home inspection is a visual inspection of the major installed systems and components of a home. These systems include all visual structural components, exterior, interior, roofing, plumbing, electrical, HVAC, and insulation/ventilation. Your inspector will discuss the condition of these components, their estimated age and life expectancy, and how to maintain and troubleshoot these items to help save money in the future.
What about Mold, Radon, and Termites? At this time, Dream House Inspections does not offer these specialty inspections. However, we have developed a relationship with companies that offer these services. Please contact us for the best recommended service companies.
How do I prepare for an inspection (buyers)? When you book your inspection, the inspector will give you an estimate of how long it should take. Plan on being there for the entire inspection. Ask as many questions as you like. Your inspector will leave plenty of extra time to make sure you understand thoroughly the results of the inspection. Your report will give a detailed explanation of all the major systems, but you may still want to bring a pen and pad of paper to take your own notes of items that may be outside the scope of the inspection (i.e. cosmetic or decorative concerns).
How do I prepare for an inspection (sellers)? Keep in mind this is the longest time your buyer is going to be in the home before purchase, so make the home look as good as it did for the open house. If you have pets, the inspector and buyers are not responsible for their care so plan on taking them with you if you’re not going to be there. Most importantly, make sure the inspector can access all the major components. This may include removing cars if their presence blocks access to a garage attic hatch; removing items in a closet that has an attic access; emptying sinks of dishes; removing items blocking electrical panels, furnaces, and water heaters; and removing items from window sills. Also, don’t try to conceal any known problems. If the inspector finds something that a homeowner has deliberately tried to hide, this can leave a very bad impression on the buyer that could cost you a sale.
The home is currently unoccupied and the utilities are off. Can you still inspect the home? Whenever possible, all utilities should be on for the inspection. The inspection can be done without utilities, but there will definitely be limitations to what your inspector can test. Also, liability issues do not allow your inspector to operate any water valves (except faucet handles and flushing toilets), gas valves, or electrical breakers (except AFCI and GFCI). If any of these items are in the off position, check with your Realtor to see if they can be turned on prior to the inspection. In other words, if the gas valve to the furnace is shut off, the inspector has to assume a gas leak is present and will not test the furnace.
Does the weather have to be nice the day of the inspection? We’ll inspect a home in just about any weather. Every weather condition has its advantages and disadvantages to a home inspection. For example, a rainy day may prevent your inspector from walking on your roof, but will make it easy to assess water flow through the gutters and around the house. And while snow may conceal parts of the exterior from inspection, its presence (or lack thereof) on a roof can be a good indication of insulation and ventilation quality.
Can I bring someone to the inspection? Of course! The best guests are spouses, family members, or the person who’s going to help you with repairs and maintenance. But try to limit the number of guests to 1 or 2. Too many people at once can be distracting to you and the inspector and can be disruptive to the seller (would you want several strangers in your home at once?). Also, keep in mind that 3-4 hours is a long time for a small child and they may distract more of your attention as the inspection goes on.
How long do I have to wait to get my report? We understand that time is of the essence, so every effort will be made to email your report on the same day as the inspection. There are rare occasions where you may not receive the report until the following morning, but we guarantee you will get your report within 24 hours.
Can the home “fail” the inspection? Your home inspection is not rated as “pass” or “fail”. Your inspection is simply a report of the condition of the home at the time of the inspection. Each buyer has a different threshold of what is acceptable to them when purchasing a home. For example, a contractor or investor may be planning on repairing or replacing certain items so long as it fits within their budget. But a first-time homebuyer or retiree may be looking for a more “move-in ready” or worry-free home. Every home will require some maintenance and repair costs, but what is acceptable—or “passing”—is entirely up to you.
What if the inspector finds something wrong? Do I have to fix it? While it is very important for safety issues to be fixed as soon as possible, your inspector is not going to require you to do anything, check up on you later to see if you fixed anything, or report you to anyone for not making repairs. Your report will list recommendations of repairs and maintenance, but whether you follow those recommendations is entirely up to you.
If I ask the seller to fix something, can you go back and re-check it? Even if the seller claims to be “handy”, it is HIGHLY encouraged that you request proof (receipt) of any repairs by a licensed and bonded tradesman. This should guarantee the work has been done properly and up to code and eliminates the need for re-inspections.
Any of your burning questions not answered here? Call us at 216.496.6931 and we’ll be happy to answer any questions you have about your inspection!