The Home Inspection: An Educational Experience

home inspection Buying a home is one of the most exciting experiences in a person’s life.  Although it’s exciting, it can be quite stressful. The home buying process is a lengthy one wrought with mortgage approvals, searching for the perfect home within your budget, and the signing of more papers than one ever imagined.  When you finally find the home of your dreams, you put in an offer and the negotiations begin.  Most offers have within them a home inspection contingency.  Everyone involved in this process seems to hold their breath when the home inspection is on the table.

For buyers, a home inspection may mean that the house they have fallen in love with may harbor expensive conditions.

For sellers, a home inspection may discover unknown issues that could instigate a price reduction or result in a list of issues that require repair or further negotiations before a closing can occur.

Rest assured, the home inspection does not have to be an experience that is feared – seriously, everyone can breathe!

The Home Inspection

Ed Lawton, Inspector at B to B Home Inspections, has one goal in mind – to serve the best interest of the client.  In most cases, the client is the buyer.  Ed’s desire is to help a sale go through.  Afterall, this is the buyer’s dream home.  Ed is patient and diligent and actively ensures that everyone involved in the home inspection understands what they are working with within the home.

Not About the Bling

Ed works with all parties involved in the transaction to help make a difficult process an easier one.  In doing so, Ed informs the buyer what to expect before he ever enters the home.  He let’s them know what he will be inspecting and what is not generally inspected such as aesthetics.   Ed welcomes buyers to join him during the inspection so that they can learn about the inner workings of their prospective new home.

Elements Inspected

Ed provides a detailed analysis of the home’s condition.  The inspection includes structural elements — foundation, walls, support beams, chimney, roof  and systems including heat, plumbing, electrical and air-conditioning.  See all that he inspects.

An Educational Experience

As Ed and the buyer move through the home, Ed’s objective is to help the buyer become an informed consumer.  Ed will teach the buyer about the different systems in the house and share the age and condition of each of the systems.  He explains that he is performing a visual inspection and that he is not a technician so he cannot go inside the heater to inspect the elements within.

A huge piece of Ed s inspection is education.  Ed will tell you how your systems work.  He will give you an idea as to what to anticipate as far as the life expectancy of each of the systems within the house.  He will let you know about your heater, hot water heater and even roof shingles as to how much life is left on each element.  If the data stickers are still in place on the units, Ed will be able to determine the age of the component.

Ed welcomes questions before the inspection, during the inspection and after they have received the inspection report.  Even if buyers bore of the tedium of a home inspection, Ed ensures the buyer that he will alert them to anything significant.

Not a Code Inspection

A home inspection is not a code inspection.  As per NJ State Guidelines, Ed evaluates a home based upon what was required when the house was built – unless there have been upgrades to the house.  Ed may suggest that for safety reasons, a railing on the staircase is a good idea, but he does not make this statement based upon building code, rather in the name of safety, function and structure.

Time and Money

Depending upon the size of the home, the average home inspection takes about 2-3 hours.  The pricing for home inspections in this region range from $275 to $500 and sometimes higher depending upon the size and age of the home.  Ed’s pricing is right in the middle at $400 for a home under 2000 square feet.

What is Significant?

Well, the term significance varies from inspection to inspection as every inspection report is unique to the home that is being inspected.  Significant items generally fall into areas of safety and potential major expenses.  Anything that will cost more than $500 is considered significant.

No Fluff

Home inspections are not designed to look at cosmetics.  If something can be fixed with a can of paint, it’s not going in the report. If there is a ding on an appliance or a countertop, that is not going in the report.  For example, a slightly dinged and rusted exterior air conditioner condensor will not go in the inspection report.  Albeit an eyesore, if it is completely functional, it will not go into the report as needing to be replaced.  However, he would recommend that it be monitored so that the key components within remain protected.

The Inspection Report

Buyers will receive their inspection report within 48 hours of the home inspection as long as the buyer has paid for the inspection.  If the buyer forgot their check book, they will receive their inspection report within 48 hours of receiving the payment for the inspection.   B to B Home Inspections provides a complete check list along with narratives and commentary.  The checklist offers the buyer an ‘at a glance’ scan to look for deficiencies.  We understand the anxiety that is surrounding your home inspection and know that you want to get right to the issues.  The checklist offers that opportunity.

Sellers – Consider a Pre-Listing Inspection

B to B Home Inspections understands that allowing a stranger into your home to look for faults is an anxiety producing experience.  Because of this, we always recommend a pre-listing inspection.  A pre-listing inspection will identify any existing problems and give the seller time to repair any problems before the house goes on the market.

It tends to be far cheaper to fix something when it is under your own terms and in your own time.  You have time to shop for qualified repair people and schedule them accordingly.  Many repair people will come in under the gun, but raise their prices in the process as they have had to bump others down the line to accommodate this urgency.

When time is of the essence and you are under pressure – people tend to panic and it ends up costing more.   We advise that any problems discovered in a pre-listing inspection are addressed by the seller.  If they are not addressed, remember, the seller is legally obligated to disclose the issues to the buyer.

Set Up for Success

During a prospective buyer’s home inspection, sellers can help the inspection go smoothly.  For example, if the attic door is obstructed by furniture or access to the electrical panel is blocked, please remove these obstructions.

Seller may also consider having their heating and air conditioning serviced before the inspection and retain the receipts for the buyer to review.  This will instill confidence in the buyer.

With Ed Lawton from B to B Home Inspections, your home inspection does not have to be a dreaded experience.  Instead, consider it an educational opportunity from someone with over 30 years experience in residential construction.