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How to Prepare For a Home Inspection

No home is perfect. From minor maintenance problems to major damages, issues are often found during an inspection. Even new homes are not immune - plumbing, electrical, HVAC, and roofing issues may be found. Whether you are trying to sell your home or are considering one for purchase, it's vital to have an inspection done.

Homeowner Inspection

For homeowners, it's important to be aware of any issues your home may have before putting it on the market. Getting a pre-listing home inspection will ensure that you're able to either fix the issues or present them to the buyer as-is. Otherwise, you may find yourself faced with costly surprises, delays, and even potential deal-breakers once you've entered negotiations with the buyer.

Pre-Purchase House Inspection

For buyers, a pre-purchase inspection is vital to uncovering issues with the home that may be invisible to the untrained eye. Even if you back out of the contract, you'll find that the inspection is money well spent. You will have better negotiating power on the price, as well as the choice to ask the seller to make the repairs or to back out of the contract. When you enter into negotiations with the seller, ask for an "inspection contingency."" This will allow you to set a limit on the cost of repairs to the home and voids the contract if the repairs go over this limit. An inspection contingency is a good way to protect yourself from ending up with a home that requires repairs that you are unable or unwilling to pay for.

Choosing an Inspector or Home Inspection Company

Before choosing an inspector, there are a few things you should know. There are no federal regulations governing inspectors. The laws differ state by state. Since each state is going to have their own standards of certification for inspectors - and some don't have any - credibility is a big issue. This means it's important to ask questions before hiring an inspector. Ask what certifications your inspector holds and what associations he or she belongs to. Most associations such as the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI), National Association of Certified Home Inspectors (NACHI), and National Association of Home Inspectors, Inc. (NAHI) have membership requirements that include minimum levels of experience and training as well as codes of ethics. There are also several state-level associations of which local inspection companies may be members. Ask your inspector and then visit the association's website.

Preparing for a House Inspection

Prior to the inspector arriving, the homeowner should focus on the following areas:

  • Accessibility: Make sure that all areas of the home are accessible, especially the attic and crawl space. It's also a good idea to trim any trees and shrubs that may make an inspection of the exterior of property difficult.
  • Housekeeping: The inspector may photograph your home for the inspection report, so clearing the clutter and moving vehicles from the front of the home will help the inspection go more smoothly.
  • Maintenance: Repair minor things like leaky faucets, missing door handles, and trim.

During the Inspection

Once your inspector has arrived, it is recommended that you accompany him or her on the inspection of the property. This is so you can become familiar with the home and its systems as well as exactly what repairs the inspector recommends and why. The inspection is a great time to find out where the home's water and gas shutoffs are and where the fuse box is. You might also want to prepare a list of items that you've seen in the home that you feel are cause for concern as well as any questions you may have for the home inspection company.

What Happens After the Home Inspection

After receiving the inspection report, the buyer should go over the list carefully with the realtor. It's important to be very clear on what repairs are needed, so call the inspector if you have any questions. Then, prepare a repair addendum for the seller, telling them what you would like them to fix or compensate you for fixing. They will then have a set amount of time to accept or reject the addendum.


Although there are different strategies, it's best to focus negotiations on major repairs. Be aware that a seller may be inclined to complete a rushed job, so it is usually smarter to ask them to fund the repairs by lowering the purchase price of the home. If the sellers do take on fixing any issues, ask for building permits or a re-inspection.

Trust All Jersey Home Inspection for your house inspection needs. Contact us today!

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