9 Things to Know About Home Inspections

Monday Nov 29th, 2021


In today’s hot real estate market, the home buying process can move quite quickly once you’ve decided to make an offer or list your home. An important piece of this process is completing a home inspection. Whether buying or selling, a home inspection is critical to understanding the condition of a property and identifying any potential areas of concern. We spoke with our expert home inspector, Sean Shea of Precision Home Inspections Inc., and rounded up some helpful things to know about home inspections. 

How a seller can prepare
If you’re selling a home the best way to prepare for a home inspection is to ensure everything is accessible. This includes areas such as ensuring the attic hatch is accessible, the thermostat is not locked so that the temperature can be adjusted, and that there is a clear path to the utilities such as the furnace, water heater and electrical panel. Any area that is not accessible which normally would be is documented in the report as a limitation. This can make a purchaser uneasy if it is normally an area that is inspected.

How a buyer can prepare
For buying, the best way to prepare is simple. It’s recommended the buyer attend the inspection themselves. The buyer should make themselves available for the few hours it takes to have an opportunity to see the house for an extended period of time. This makes it much more efficient to discuss issues and the condition of the property in person.

Seasonal differences
While winter is a bit more limiting, each season offers advantages and disadvantages when completing an inspection. Warm weather allows for a more thorough exterior inspection, views of decks, roofs, grading and things that may not be visible under a blanket of snow. However, in the heat of summer, a furnace cannot be tested as effectively as in cold weather and drafty windows and doors may not be apparent.

Time commitment
Two to three hours is the typical amount of time it takes for an inspection on a detached home. This amount of time varies depending on the size of a property, its condition and how many questions a client may have.

Conducting a home inspection
A home inspection is always recommended however current real estate market conditions sometimes reduce the time available for a proper inspection. Clients should be wary of what are sometimes called "walk through inspections". Short walk through inspections can be risky as limitations on time increase the risk things will be missed. It’s important to note that many professional inspectors will not offer an inspection unless adequate time is available to thoroughly review the entire house.

Common issues
You may be surprised to learn that the most common issue that Precision Home Inspections Inc. sees is grading issues. While there are many items that are seen on a regular basis, the vast majority of homes regularly require grading improvements around the perimeter of the foundation to ensure water is not sitting against or draining towards the foundation. 

Hiring an inspector
If you're hiring a home inspector it’s best to start with experience and look at how long the inspector has been in business. Reading online reviews and recommendations for local inspectors is a good way to find recommendations. Verifying that the inspector is a member of a professional association is also a good way of ensuring that they follow professional standards of practice and are regularly upgrading their knowledge and training. 

Working with your realtor
There is a misconception that people think they should not use an inspector recommended by their realtor. In Sean’s experience, the vast majority of realtors have their clients best interest in mind and want clients to know if there are issues with a house and therefore would only recommend inspectors they know are professional and have the same concern for a client’s best interest.

Expect the unexpected
What's the strangest thing Sean has encountered doing an inspection? He once conducted an inspection where there was a school bus buried underground that could be accessed from the basement. You could literally walk from a room in the basement into the back of a full-length school bus. While the chances are pretty slim an underground school bus will be discovered in your home inspection, it’s never a bad idea to expect the unexpected. 

It is always recommended to have a home inspection completed. Thinking about purchasing a home or have more questions about the process? Get in touch with our expert.

Sean Shea
Registered Home Inspector, National Certificate Holder, WETT Certified, Certified Thermographer
Precision Home Inspections Inc.

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