What to Expect
A professional home inspection is a visual examination and evaluation of all of the properties accessible areas including; roof coverings, attic, and roof framing, foundation, and under-floor support systems, walls, ceilings, floors, windows and doors, fireplaces, chimneys, water heaters, plumbing, electrical, central heating and air conditioning systems. Upon completion of the inspection, the inspector will provide a written report documenting all of the conditions observed during the inspection to the buyer. It is the duty of the professional inspector to provide an objective third party assessment of the property. The professional home inspector’s role is not to be adversarial with sellers and find fault with every little aspect of the home, however they are required to report on all conditions observed during the inspection. The majority of buyers today will invest in a professional home inspection prior to the close of escrow.
It is not usually necessary for sellers to be present during the home inspection. In fact, in many cases, the listing agent may prefer that the seller’s not be present during the buyer’s home inspection. When in doubt ask your agent. Most agents are very familiar with the home inspection process and are very happy to act as your representative during the inspection. Most home inspections take two to four hours to complete. On the other hand, if you are the seller scheduling a listing inspection the home inspector will have many questions for you and will want you to be present during the inspection.
Sellers can benefit from listing inspections in many ways. Listing inspections can help eliminate surprises that may be discovered during the buyers inspection. Often those surprises can slow down the close of the sale, reduce your profits by having to re-negotiate the deal if the problem is of significant cost, or kill the deal altogether. If you know up front about the conditions the buyer’s inspector may find, you can address those items prior to listing and/or set your price accordingly. Buyers are often much more willing to negotiate amicably with upfront disclosures. Listing inspections are also good marketing tools.
Listing inspections can be used as a tool to give validity to your asking price and place confidence in the minds of prospective buyers. Buyers who compare their inspection report to listing reports are much more likely to pay full asking price without a challenge when both reports are favorable.
All homes both new and old have defects. It is the home inspector’s job to disclose those defects objectively and fairly. Only the prospective buyer can determine if the home has “failed” the inspection by his or her own terms and criteria. Remember that no two buyers are alike and what may be important to one, might be of little concern to the next. The home inspector’s job is to report only what they see and let the buyer decide from there what’s important to them.
There is no licensing to do a home inspection in the State of California therefore anyone can do home inspections. However, the Business and Professions Code of California, Sections 7195 et seq. clearly defines home inspection in definitions, duties and limitations. The laws reflected in the California B&P Code also are reflected in Diamond Property Inspection agreement along with the CREIA Standards of Practice. These are very important and central in keeping inspectors integrable and in line with the always changing law demographics in California. Click here to view Business & Professions Code of California Sections 7195 as published by California State Legislature.
THE INSPECTOR IS COMING, WHAT SHOULD I DO?
The following tips will make the home inspection process go quickly and smoothly.
1. Make sure all utilities are turned on. water, gas, electric.
2. Make sure all gates, sheds, electrical panels, garages, and storage rooms are unlocked and accessible or keys to each are readily available to the inspector.
3. Remove items blocking or limiting access to under floor crawl spaces and attic accesses.
4. Check all interior and exterior lights and replace any burnt out bulbs.
5. Secure all family pets (i.e. dogs).
6. Alarms systems should be turned off or alarm codes provided.
7. All pilot lights to gas appliances or furnaces should be turned on.
8. Hot water heater is accessible.
9. Seismic strapping of hot water heater is installed.
10. Make sure the air conditioning system equipment on both interior and exterior is accessible.