Twelve Steps to a Smooth Inspection
|#1 – Provide FULL access to the property to be inspected. All doors should be unlocked or the key/garage door openers should be readily available. I can’t tell you how many times we had limited access to areas of the house because of locked, blocked off and inaccessible areas that were not opened at the time of inspection
|#2 – Be there on time. Everyone has a schedule to adhere to and disrupting timing does not make the process go smoothly. If the seller is required to provide access to property, be there and have the house ready on time. If seller will not be there and the realtor is using a lock box to enter, timing is still important. The inspectors, contractors and buyers have schedules to keep. Tardiness can create stress on all involved!
|#3 – Check that the gas, water & electric utilities are on. This is a special concern in vacant or multifamily residences. Frequently, inspections are canceled and deals fall apart because sellers do not have the utilities turned on. Here is a list of utility company numbers in the Union county surrounding area https://rootshomeinspection.com/utilities/
|#4 – Check that all hot water tanks and heating systems are operational, the appliances are connected and that all water valves are on. Home Inspectors cannot light these or turn on valves as per NJ State requirements.
|#5 – Remove clutter and obstacles. Especially in the kitchens and bathrooms. Examples include but are not limited to: Remove pots/pans from stove/oven. Remove dishes and clutter from countertops and sinks. Yes we have been on many inspections where these common sense items have not been taken care of. Realtors should remind their clients of the obstacles that this presents.
|#6 – Pet Pitfalls. Barking or/and jumping dogs make it difficult for the home inspector to do his job. Buyers have all different opinions and fears when it has to do with animals. It’s best to remove the pet or at least secure him during the home inspection process. Buyers, realtors and home inspectors do not enjoy stepping in animal waste in the yard.
|#7 – Disarm the alarm system. Appearances by police and/or fire company are disruptive during inspections. We want to focus on the inspection. The added excitement of the alarm going off and needing to be reset puts everyone on edge and it’s just not productive.
|#8 – Provide access to hatches and crawl spaces. We can’t inspect it if we can’t get to it! Sometimes access to an attic/crawlspace is through a hatch in a closet ceiling or floor. Make sure this hatch is accessible and that it is not sealed prior to inspection. Clear out the contents if necessary to facilitate access. We can’t remove nails or seals or move around storage. We come with a ladder but we need to be able to get to the hatch.
|#9 – Provide related documentation. It is helpful to provide the inspector with paperwork from recent repairs and/or replacements. This includes but is not limited to major items such as roofing, foundation, heating systems, basement waterproofing, electrical & plumbing. Other documents such as seller’s disclosure, previous inspection reports and engineering reports should also be provided. NOTE: Once the house is purchased all of these receipts and reports should be transferred to the buyer to be stored in his/her records.
|#10 -More on access. (Heating Systems, Air Conditioning condenser, Hot Water Heaters). We need to be up close and personal with all of these units. If there is clutter or stored items, remove them prior to inspection. Seller must allow for clear access so we can complete a thorough inspection.
|#11 – Only essential People should be present at the Home Inspection. Buyers agent and the buyers should be present at the inspection. Buyers agent need not accompany inspector but just provide access and be present at the site. Buyers should follow the inspector and interact as necessary. Seller should not be present. Extended family and friends should not be present. (unless there is a language barrier or special needs)
|#12 – Clean up the house. This is the buyer’s time to get a real good look at the house and a smelly, dirty house is just a turn off. Sellers should strive to keep buyers impressions of the property positive. Replace all burnout light bulbs so there is proper illumination.
|#13 – Control children. This applies to both the buyers and sellers. I have three boys of my own but during the home inspection the full attention of the inspector and buyer is required. Here are my boys ten years ago. Whether they are cute (like mine) or lack self-control, they should not be at the inspection.
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