The First Time Homeowner’s Guide to Home Inspections

first time homeowners guide to home inspections

We’re right in the thick of it when it comes to home buying – we have an accepted offer on a house, and we just had our very first home inspection!

Here are the things us first-time homeowners learned about home inspections:

  1. Find the right inspector: We would have preferred to go with our Realtor’s suggested inspector, but he was busy due to weather issues. Instead, we went with an inspector who’d just done our friend’s 1930’s house. A good recommendation is key, and you should also ensure they’re certified or licensed. Our inspector also sent us waivers and information prior to the inspection, so we had time to read over everything. Nice!
  2. Go to the inspection. Seriously, no excuses!: We insisted on going to our home inspection, even though our Realtor let us know it wasn’t necessary. But it IS necessary for first time homeowners! This is where you learn all about your potential new home. The inspector can tell you how to operate things like garage doors, electrical panels, thermostats, and water shutoffs. They can also give you really good info what the house is actually like, as opposed to just reading his itemized list. Think of it as your “orientation tour” of the house.
  3. Go armed with a list of questions: We had tons of questions about the house, and items we’d found (like water stains). I wanted to be prepared to also ask questions about the life of certain items, like the roof and hot water tank. If you don’t go with a written list and you’re incredibly forgetful (like me), you’ll probably forget to ask the right questions and be stuck wondering afterwards. That’s the worst!
  4. Get trade and supplier suggestions: Our inspector found some minor issues with ductwork and windows, along with a garage door that needed repair. For each item, he gave us a contact name and number of a certified professional who could fix it for us. That gave us a great place to start, especially since we knew NO professionals (on account of us being newbies!)
  5. Follow that inspector around: I was totally okay to follow the inspector from room to room. You’re paying $300-$400 for this, and this is your time to get as much knowledge as possible. See what he’s pulling out, and ask questions if you see something you’d like to get checked out. I noticed damaged closet doors and major dents in the walls that I hadn’t noticed before, and was able to ask him to put those items on the inspection.

    Yep, we followed our inspector everywhere!

    Yep, we followed our inspector everywhere!

  6. Ask as you’re following: While my husband wanted to wait until the end and ask all the questions at once, I knew I would forget unless I asked right away. This stops two issues from happening. One – You won’t forget to ask once you get to another room in the house. Two – You won’t have to go back to that area of the house again if you have follow up questions. This is incredibly important after the inspector comes out of the crawl space and attic areas. Nobody wants to be in those spaces longer than they have to!
  7. Be on the same page before the inspection ends: Our inspector made it clear that we could call him any time if we had questions or concerns, but he also took the time to show us his photos and address everything that would be an issue. Some things we hadn’t seen, like a disconnected dryer vent and a loose condensation pipe. It was good to review everything and ask additional questions.

    The inspector hooked up his computer and went through every photo with us.

    The inspector hooked up his computer and went through every photo with us.

We actually really enjoyed the inspection process, and so should you! Let us know what kinds of experiences you’ve had with inspections – comment below.

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