Home Inspection Tips For Buyers

HOME INSPECTIONS 101

What Kind of Inspections Do You Need?

Most home buyers will ask this question, especially first-time homebuyers or out-of-state buyers who are unfamiliar with the area they are purchasing in. It is simply impossible for us to write a service recommendation which will fit every buyer’s needs. However, we can expand on the type of services we offer. We hope this will clarify what each home inspection service means and whether or not a particular inspection service is right for you.

What Is a Comprehensive Home Inspection? Why Should You Consider It?

Comprehensive home inspections are essential when buying a home. Home ownership is a large financial investment, and you want to make sure all bases are covered when it comes to the systems, structure, and other major aspects of the home. Ordering a comprehensive home inspection from a reputable inspector will save you time and money down the road. It will assist the buying process when negotiating with the seller. It will ensure the home actually matches up to the listing. The real estate market in the greater Vancouver metro area has been extremely competitive for several years. Covid and current lending rates have created even more competition for buyers in the area. We understand that some buyers are waiving their inspection contingency. Although we understand the urgency, desire, and necessity to have your offer accepted, we do not recommend skipping the inspection no matter how hot the real estate market is. Even if you have the inspection for informational purposes and to create a to-do list once you move in, a home inspection is too important to pass over.

Is A Sewer Scope Really Necessary When Buying a Home?

Every building has a drainage system and repairs relating to below ground drain pipes are usually expensive to repair. Older homes are more likely to have defects in the sewer piping. Trees and shifting soil can disrupt even modern plumbing. But how about a new home? Most people think new builds are generally safe from major issues or defects compared to older homes and usually that is true. However, home building is a fast process with many steps occurring at the same time. Heavy construction equipment moving across unfinished lots is the most common reason we find damaged drains at new building sites. Pipes can be crushed prior to concrete flatwork being poured. It is a good idea to have a sewer scope performed along with your comprehensive home inspection. Most inspectors offer bundle pricing when you order a home inspection and sewer scope together. We do recommend a sewer scope drain inspection in most cases.

Should You Consider Doing a Radon Testing When Buying a Home?

Whether or not you need to do radon testing depends on the location you are buying. Use Camas, Washington as an example. We have seen an increasing need for radon testing for homes that are closer to the CG (Columbia Gorge) bank. An experienced inspector can tell you the estimated percentage of homes that have tested positive for radon in the area and whether or not you should consider ordering this test based on your home location.

Buying a Home With a Private Well? Consider a Water Quality Test.

If you are buying a property that has a private well, then water quality testing is for you! It’s scary to think that your private well water sources and city water can be tainted. Even plumbing distribution and fixtures inside a home can affect water quality. Generally speaking, homebuyer water quality testing includes bacteria tests, E. Coli, arsenic, nitrate, nitrite, and one metal or mineral-focused testing.

When to Consider a Pest and Dry Rot Test?

Most inspectors will notice and note if they find any pest and dry rot issues during your comprehensive inspection. If the problem is extensive or concerning, the inspector will generally recommend a pest and dry rot inspection. Some clients could be aware of potential pest & dry rot issues. Sometimes the sellers are legally required to disclose such issues. If that’s the case for the home you are purchasing, we highly recommend including the pest and dry rot add-on as part of your inspection day list!

What Are Re-Inspections? Should You Consider It?

Re-inspections are generally performed once sellers have completed the agreed repairs, but prior to closing on your home! It is usually the final step before aseller is released from all legal responsibility at the home. With a reinspection you can determine if the sellers did what they promised. A re-inspection can be very helpful in making sure all repairs are satisfactory and will serve the intended purpose.

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How to Pick the Best Inspector for Your Home Purchase?

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Find an Inspector Before You Start Searching for a Home.

Be prepared and search for an inspector before you shop for a home. In the current real estate market, things are moving faster than ever. Once your offer is accepted, you will be in a time crunch trying to get everything done. So, to reduce your home buying stress and avoid feeling pressured to pick the first inspector you meet, find an inspector you trust beforehand. 

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Validate Their Online Presence.

You want to make sure you are working with someone who cares about their business and reputations. If an inspector doesn’t have a good website or online presence, please do your own due diligence to ensure this business complies with local standards and they take their work seriously. 

We are not saying that if an inspector has an amazing website, they will automatically deliver good results. But if they don’t have an updated website, we highly recommend checking out their reviews and ensuring their customers are happy before hiring them.

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Validate Their Online Presence.

Ask a lot of questions and get to know the inspectors during the initial interview process.

We recommend you ask some of these questions:

    • What are their backgrounds?
    • The number of years they’ve been in the business?
    • The number of inspections they’ve performed overall, and in the specific city and county you are buying?
    • What type of inspection services they provide?
    • What are their credentials?
    • Are they licensed, bonded, and insured?
    • What’s the inspection process like?
    • What sort of report they’ll provide?
    • How to best communicate with them during the home purchase process?
    • What’s their turnaround time if you have questions about the report?
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Find an Inspector With Broad Knowledge in the Field.

Look for an inspector with a broad knowledge of a home’s systems and structures. Even if they are an inspector, that doesn’t mean that they are a good fit for the type of homes you want to buy. Houses of different ages, designs, and materials each have unique risks and offer special signs, symptoms, and clues to hidden damage.

For example:

    • If you are looking to purchase a house in a rural area, you need an inspector who can help you with well water testing. 
    • Townhomes and condos may have different concerns to watch out for. 
    • Certain areas might have a higher chance of radon gas exposure. 
    • The list goes on. Be sure to ask your realtor for advice as well. They might be able to tell you what type of inspections you need and help you search for the right kind of inspector. 
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Look For an Independent and Objective Inspector.

Most inspectors recommended by real estate agents are independent, and the referrals come from past good experiences working together. Just like Bennett Home Inspections, the home buyers are the client and we only have their best interest at heart. It is important to make sure you are the direct and only client for the inspection to avoid any conflict of interest. Finding an objective and independent inspector will help you understand fully what type of home you are purchasing and the potential issues you might experience. 

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Checking Reputation and Insurance Is a Must!

Before you start looking at the inspector’s online reviews, make sure they are properly registered with the state. Verify the inspector’s license and his complaint records. Validate credentials such as certification by the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI).

Choose an inspector who carries errors and omission insurance.

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Don’t Just Talk to One Inspector.

Take the time to speak with a few inspectors and decide which one might be the best fit for you. Every buyer has a different priority: budget, thoroughness, communication. Pick an inspector in line with your priority list to ensure that all parties have a great experience working together. 

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Request a Sample Report.

Most inspectors can provide a sample report before you decide to hire them. Make sure to choose an inspector who can deliver a detailed and complete report. Having an electronic copy is important as well because you can then email it to friends and family if you need their input. 

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Find an Inspector With Excellent Communication Skills and Quick Response Time.

Lastly, make sure the inspectors give you enough time to review the report and are available for questions after they deliver it. An inspector with great communication skills that responds promptly will help you save time and reduce unnecessary stress. The last thing you want to deal with in a competitive real estate market is constantly following up with your inspector because they aren’t responding to your questions. 

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A True Client Story.

A Good Home Inspector Can Save You Time and Money.

The Bauman Family 

Client Since April 2021 | Home Inspected in Longview WA

Geoff is hands-down the best home inspector! My wife and I are so incredibly grateful that our agent recommended him to us. We were looking to purchase a property up in Longview, Washington. Geoff was, first of all, kind enough to squeeze us into his busy schedule and help us with the home inspection up there.

He has a very sweet, approachable, friendly personality which helps us feel calm and reassured during a stressful time of our lives. If you are a buyer in this market, then you understand the stress and anxiety. Having someone you know you can trust to make sure the house you are buying is not a money pit is probably the most important reassurance you need.

We ordered a general home inspection and sewer scope because we wanted to make sure everything is good in the house. He was so thorough during the entire process. I mean, from crawling into tight spaces around the foundation to walking around the roof to make sure he catches all the issues or defects. He treats the home you are buying as if his family is buying it.

In the beginning, he spent a good 30 minutes explaining his process and goals. Then at the end, he sat down with us and showed us all the issues he found with photos, the urgency of the problems, and even the potential fixes you can do to mitigate them. I’ve never met a person who is THAT meticulous about his inspection work.

Long story short, Geoff helped us avoid buying a home with some major upcoming expenses, which saved us from spending more money fixing the place up and MANY sleepless nights.

We just found another property that’s WAY BETTER this weekend, and the purchase price is well within our budget. We sent Geoff out again to do an inspection. He found some major sewer blockage which we requested the seller repair before closing. It turned out that the seller ended up having to repair the entire sewer line. We are so relieved that we sent Geoff out, and now we have a house with a brand new sewer line. Something we won’t have to worry about for the next 20 years, if not more!

Thank you, Geoff! We are forever grateful!”

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