The amount of information in a home inspection is sometimes difficult to absorb, especially when combined with the seller’s disclosure and other documents that you have to review while making a decision. What should you do?
Relax. The inspection report contains mostly minor imperfections, maintenance recommendations, and life expectancies. This information is valuable, but the more important topics will fall into a few categories:
1. Major defects like shower pan failures, HVAC (heating and air conditioning) problems, and extensive hail damage that can lead to costly repairs.
2. Damage to the roof materials, openings in the exterior mortar, or other conditions that can lead to long term major damage.
3. Exposed wires, unbonded gas lines, or other safety hazards.
These categories should be your focus and addressing them should be first on your list. Making small, inexpensive repairs of these conditions can increase safety as well as the lifespan of the components involved (especially in categories 2 and 3).
Ten Tips For Your Home Inspection
Sellers can save inspection and negotiation time by addressing the following:
- Confirm that all utilities are on, with gas pilot lights burning.
- Remove pets In order to allow the inspector full access to the home.
- Replace inoperable light bulbs. This is one of the most common citations in a home inspection report.
- Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors should be in good working order. These are easy to test and replace needed batteries.
- Dirty HVAC air filters should be cleaned or replaced and properly installed.
- Recaulk windows and door frames where needed. This can take multiple pages off of a home inspection report.
- Ensure clear access to electric service panels, water heaters, HVAC equipment, attics and crawl spaces.
- Check all doors, hatches, gates and other entrances to ensure that the inspector can enter needed areas.
- Trim tree limbs to 3′ from the roof and shrubs from the house to allow access.
- Replace GFCI outlets that will not trip. This will provide coverage for all necessary areas.
Dealing with these concerns in advance will allow the buyer and seller to focus on major issues, not just caulking and/or tightening of minor components.