What does a Garden Gnome do when she is not gardening, in the kitchen or doing genealogy? Well the answer might just surprise you so read the entries to find out more. This blog focuses on everything we do to make our house a home. There will be a strong emphasis on home energy efficiency and do-it-yourself (DIY) projects. At the same time there will also be crafts, knitting and crocheting projects along with any other little tips we do to create that down to earth, I want to be here home. Please enjoy your visit :)

Saturday, August 6, 2011

House Inspections

A formal house inspection is done by a professional home inspector at the expense of the buyer prior to the final signing of the contract to purchase.  It is usually written into the offer to purchase as a condition.  The house inspection is an extra protection for the buyer so they don't buy a house with undisclosed major repairs needed.  For example, the seller of the house we are in now did not disclose drainage issues, a non-functioning dishwasher and non-functioning air conditioner.  Had we have had a house inspection the drainage issues and non-functioning air conditioner would have been discover prior to us signing the final purchase contract.  The results of a house inspection can cause a buyer to back out of their offer to purchase which is why it is a very common condition on an offer to purchase.

This is our sixth primary resident house purchase.  We have never had a house inspection for any of the houses (5 primary, 1 vacation) we have bought.  In fact, two properties we bought were purchased without seeing inside or even entering the property prior to the closing date.  Of the four houses we successfully sold, the buyers did not ask for a home inspection.  So we have had no experience with home inspections.  The buyer for this house had a home inspection as one of the conditions.

The home inspector arrived at 9 AM this past Wednesday.  The buyer's brother-in-law was with him which is quite normal as is having a real estate agent attend the house inspection.  Now the house inspector was a very congenial, likable person but the brother-in-law was an arrogant jerk.  He was to stay with the inspector as per terms of the house inspection but he kept wandering off.  My husband made a point of following him around.  A house inspection goes from attic to foundation.  The inspector goes into the attic, up on the roof and into any crawl spaces.  He checks the electrical panel, tests all outlets and switches, checks for any plumbing leaks.  He tests the furnace to be sure it works, tests the air conditioner and for any CO leaks on gas appliances.  I was not thrilled on a very hot day to have the AC switched off so he could fire up the furnace.  It lit up nicely and went through the cycle then he switched the AC back on only to fire up the gas fireplace.  I was surprised he did not check the dishwasher as it stays with the house but perhaps he could see it is quite new.  He checks for the insulation value on the walls using a rather nifty gadget.  Oh and the neatest thing is he has a complete portable office set-up complete with printer so the report is written as he does each zone.  Of course he had to plug it in using our electricity, something I didn't bank on since we did not request the inspection so there should be no expense to us.  In the big picture and knowing the home inspection results could be a deal breaker, I wasn't about to say anything about him using a bit of our electricity.  Besides he was a very nice guy!

A house inspection is invasive and extremely stressful for the homeowner.  It is recommended the homeowner remain on the premises and keep an eye on what they are doing.  The professional home inspectors will not climb on your furniture or touch your personal possessions.  The buyer or a  representative for the buyer should be with the house inspector during the inspection.  It is recommended that the seller move anything that will prevent the home inspector from getting a good view of what they need to see (eg. items in under the sink cabinets).  The home inspector will bring their own ladder for getting onto the roof.  A house inspection will cost the buyer  $300  or more.  The inspection will take at least 3 hours.  The seller should provide access for the house inspection then try to be as pleasant as possible (eg. bite your tongue a lot if necessary) to get the inspection done in a timely manner.  If the inspector asks a question or you know there is a problem (eg. our upstairs shower leaks) answer truthfully or in our case volunteer the information.  This tells the home inspector and buyer that you are not hiding any possible problems.

Once the inspection is over, you will feel like you have been run over by a semi-truck.  Relax, breath!  You survived it.  Barring any major, and I do mean major problems (eg. structural, fire hazards) the house inspection is really just a formality that gives the buyer a false sense of security.  The reality is the buyer can't go back on the house inspector even if a major problem was missed AND problems can easily arise with the house during the time between the inspection and the closing date.  This could be as much as 90 days or more.  Anything that happens after the home inspection is only disclosed if the seller is honest enough to say anything. 

Garden Gnome