Here are a few tips to help you prepare for a Tampa area home inspection.
Prepare for a Tampa area Home Inspection
No home is perfect. Anything from major damage to minor maintenance issues are often found during the home inspection. Even new homes are not immune – they could have problems with the plumbing, electrical system, heating and cooling system, or the roofing system just to name a few.
For homeowners, it’s important to be aware of any issues your home may have prior to putting it on the market. Getting a pre-listing home inspection will ensure that you’re aware of any problems and can take care of them on your terms – or present them as-is and adjust your selling price proportionally. The alternative leaves you open to costly surprises and delays, and even potential deal-breakers once you’ve entered negotiations with the buyer.
For buyers, a home inspection is vital to uncovering issues a home may have but are invisible to the untrained eye. Even if the home inspection finds more problems than you’re comfortable with and you move on to a different home to start the process all over again, it’s money well spent. A home inspection will give you the opportunity to ask the seller to make the repairs before you buy, or to back out of the contract. So be sure to ask for the "home inspection contingency" when you begin to enter negotiations with the seller. This allows you to set a limit on the cost of repairs to the home. If the home inspector estimates that repairs will cost more than the limit, the contract is voided. It 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.
Another, often forgotten, valuable service that home inspectors provide are follow-up inspections when home warranties are close to expiration. Home warranties offered to home buyers by real estate professionals are not uncommon. Usually, if something in the home's system breaks down, the policy will cover all or part of the expense to repair or replace. Since these warranties are usually in effect for only 1-year, it can be very beneficial to have these systems inspected before the warranty expires.
Before the home inspector arrives, there are a few things you should know. There are no federal laws governing home inspectors. We are regulated only by the individual states. Unfortunately, the State of Florida is one of just a few remaining states that has yet to regulate the home inspection business – how can you be sure that your inspector is adequately qualified, experienced, and trustworthy? One way is through professional home inspector associations. A few of them require minimum training, education, experience, and adherence to ethical standards – at least one widely known organization merely requires home inspection candidates to take a very simple on-line test, in the comfort of their homes, and possibly with someone else actually taking the test for them. Once they easily pass the on-line test, they mail in a check to become an instant home inspector. Be very carefull when scrutinizing your home inspectors, and be sure to check out the individual associations to evaluate their individual requirements. To be safe, you can't go wrong by ensuring that your home inspector is a Certified Member of the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI). Ask what certifications your home inspector holds and what associations he or she belongs to. Most associations such as the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI), 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 that your home inspector may be a member of. Ask your home inspector and then visit the association’s website.
Once your home inspector has arrived, it is recommended that you accompany him or her on the home inspection of the property. This is so you can become familiar with the home and its systems as well as exactly what repairs the home inspector recommends and why. 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. The home inspection is a great time to find out where the home’s water and gas shutoffs are and where the fuse box is.
Here are some other suggestions for homeowners:
- Allow three to four hours for a comprehensive inspection.
- The buyer may accompany the inspector.
- Contact the property owner regarding the date, time, and estimated duration of the inspection. Also, make sure the security system is deactivated.
- All utilities, including electrical, water and gas valves should be on, and pilot lights should be active.
- The owner should move items that block access to the HVAC equipment, hot-water heater, attic, crawl space, access panels, electric service panels, etc.
- It is helpful to have all tubs, sinks, and basins emptied.
- Pets should be secured/caged. The inspector can not be responsible for pets running away when doors are opened and closed.
- Clients should inform the inspector of any particular concerns they have, such as problem areas that they observed or that have been disclosed to them.
- Please allow the inspector to proceed with the inspection with as little interruption as possible. A proper inspection can only be accomplished when the inspector can concentrate on the items being evaluated.
- Please contact the inspector at least 24 hours before the inspection if the appointment needs to be rescheduled.
It is recommended that you choose a home inspector who is a Certified Member of the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI), Registered Professional Inspector with the Florida Association of Building Inspectors (FABI), and ICC code certified as a Residential Combination Inspector.