1. When buying a home, you will want to order a home inspection soon after your purchase offer has been accepted.
Many real estate contracts allow a limited number of days to complete a home inspection (and then to request repairs, or cancel the contract if needed).
2. Inspect the inspector.
All home inspectors should be formally trained/certified to perform a home inspection by an organization such as the National Institute of Building Inspectors (NIBI®)*, thus ensuring their knowledge of the home inspection and home buying process. Choose a home inspector who has earned credentials for competence and professionalism.
3. Make sure the inspector you select has access to on-going technical support and offers you post-inspection advice if needed.
There is no one background that fully trains an individual for all the different conditions that may exist in a home. And even in areas where licensing exists, many programs fall short. Regardless of their technical background or licensing, choose an inspector who has access to other inspectors and who is affiliated with a larger organization. Also, make sure that the inspector you choose will be available in the future to answer any questions that may arise. The support your inspector offers can translate into better information and a higher level of service.
4. If the home is vacant, confirm that the seller will have all utilities on during the home inspection.
Failure to do so may require a second trip to the home when the utilities are on, and you will incur additional fees. To properly evaluate a home, a professional inspector must be able to operate the systems, and in order to do this, the utilities must be turned on.
5. Accompany the inspector during the home inspection.
This is your opportunity to gain knowledge of major systems, appliances, fixtures, learn maintenance tips, better understand the items that will be outlined in the written report, and ask questions of the inspector.
6. If your inspector recommends a further evaluation, please have a specialist in that area conduct a more extensive examination PRIOR to closing.
In some cases, an element of your home may need an additional, more detailed, evaluation to correctly determine its condition. Your inspector will note for you when a specialist is needed.
7. Be sure you understand all conditions identified in the inspection report and that all areas of concern have been resolved to your satisfaction before closing.
Your inspection report is useful to prepare you for your final walk-through of your new home. Make sure that you understand all of the items noted by your inspector.
8. Insist on a final walk-through.
Prior to the close of escrow, insist on a final walk-through to verify that repairs have been made and that no new problems have surfaced since the home inspection, particularly in the areas where furnishings and storage may have previously obstructed the defect.