So you've been shopping around for months, considered offers on several homes, backed out of a few, but now you've finally found the one that could be your forever home. Congratulations; the fun has just started! Next up is the home inspection, which could be a make-or-break moment in the success of your home-buying experience. That's where we come in. It's our job as inspectors to make sure you understand what you're getting in a home without subjecting you to undue fear, hassle, or unnecessary expense. With that in mind, we also have a few tips to help make the process as smooth and comfortable as possible.
1. Hire a qualified, knowledgeable inspector
Fact is, anybody can walk around your house and point out something that needs fixed in the bathroom, or kitchen. It doesn't take a genius to recognize a leaky faucet. If that's all you want out of a home inspection, however, your best bet is to bring Uncle Bill along to the walk through with you. A home inspector is going to be much more thorough than that, just as long as you hire the right one. For starters, inspectors with High Bar are InterNACHI certified inspectors, with the most rigorous demands for continued certification in the industry, including extensive continuing education requirements and biannual testing to ensure our knowledge stays up to date. Beyond the training, though, this is an industry and a passion that we at High Bar have held for a lifetime. We know houses and construction because we've helped build, flip, remodel, and renovate homes for decades.
2. Know what to expect
A home inspection is not a complicated process, but there are some nuances that you may not be aware of if you've never had one before, or it's been a while (these can also clue you in to the capability of your inspector). For one, inspections are not quick. The average inspection with High Bar lasts 3+ hours, and can stretch above 4 hours depending on the size of the home and what additional inspections you request. Speaking of additional inspections, there are plenty of things we can't see or inspect in a general home inspection. From hidden mold, to radon, sewage plumbing, and termites, many hidden problems go beyond what we can see during a standard inspection, and require additional time or equipment. Lastly, there may be things we just can't see because it is unsafe; heavy wind or rain will prohibit us climbing on the roof to ensure the integrity of the shingles, and while we'll do our best to ascertain that information from a safe location, follow up inspections may be warranted either by inspectors or specialists.
3. Ask Questions
Once you know what the inspector will be looking for, you have to understand why what we've figured out matters. Every home we inspect has defects, from the Civil War era homes downtown to the brand new construction in the Homearama neighborhoods. Knowing how those different defects affect you and your home goes a long way in understanding how to care for your home and in making you feel comfortable there. We do our best to put ample information in our reports so you understand what you're getting, but we're always available for questions before, during, and after the inspection so that you have just as much knowledge about the house as we do.
4. Don't be afraid to 'just say no'
Some defects are small; some defects are big; some defects are downright dangerous. Inspection contingencies are there for many reasons, and two big ones are to make sure your new house won't bankrupt you or hurt you. It's not often we find defects that are so cost prohibitive to fix that it makes the home not worth it, but it does happen. Don't be afraid, and don't go into the inspection knowing that you're going to have to walk away from the deal, but think about it in a pragmatic way beforehand, and remember you have no obligation to put yourself or your family in harm's way.
5. Enjoy the Ride
At the end of the day, you're buying a new home! That's awesome! And what's more, this is your chance to get as up close and personal to the new home as you want, to figure out how things are installed, how things work, and how things fit together. We love answering your questions and knowing we've done our part to make sure you feel comfortable and at-home in your new home.
Home Inspections can be a stressful event, but they can also be reassuring. Stress isn't fun, so we do our best to try to swing them in the other direction. Following these tips will make your home-buying experience much sweeter in the end!