How can I ensure I get the most out of my home inspection? What should I ask my home inspector before our appointment? Here, we will do our best to answer these questions and provide some additional tips to help prepare you for your home inspection. Let's get into some general considerations to ensure you are getting the true bang for your buck.
1. ARE WE SURE THE WATER AND ELECTRIC ARE ON?
All too often, inspectors arrive to start a job, only to find that next to nothing is working. The clients or agents were positive the water and/or electrical service was never shut off or they were under the impression that somebody else already made arrangements. As a result, many items may be excluded that otherwise could have been adequately inspected. Sometimes we may need to reschedule altogether, cutting an already short contingency period even shorter. It is a good idea to double check that the main water service entry is not locked or shut off at the meter. If possible, a quick call to FPL or your local utility company to ensure the electric is on can prevent delays and future headaches as well.
2. DO WE KNOW EXACTLY HOW WE ARE GETTING INSIDE THE HOME? It's important to inquire with the seller and/or realtor to identify how we plan on gaining access to the home. Whether by lockbox, agent meeting us with code, seller present, supra e-key, etc.
3. CONSIDER IF THE FRONT GATE OR SECURITY GUARDS NEED TO BE INFORMED.
Will the client, agent, and/or inspector be able to get through the gate or at least be able to contact you if there's an issue? Ask how many vehicles to expect or if the inspector might be subcontracting any part of the inspection to a 3rd party that may provide a different name at the gate.
4. CHECK THAT THE REFRIGERATOR AND FREEZER/ICE MAKER HAVE BEEN ON FOR AT LEAST 24 HRS PRIOR TO INSPECTION.
Otherwise these units can not be adequately inspected and we will be unsure if they are cooling properly or creating ice.
5. GFCI (GROUND FAULT CIRCUIT INTERRUPTERS)
Whenever possible, try to arrange things so that GFCI and other electrical outlets are readily accessible with personal electronics (other than appliances included in sale) are unplugged. Fully functional GFCI is very important in helping to avoid potential shock and fire hazards. Some insurance companies require that all GFCI meet current code, are wired correctly (grounded with no reversed polarity), and trip as intended when tested. GFCI is usually required wherever water may be present i.e. kitchen counters, bathrooms, garage, laundry area, exterior, etc. Your home may have been built before this was required, however it is strongly encouraged to have a licensed electrician upgrade your home to comply with the current standards nonetheless.
6. IS ELECTRICAL PANEL READILY ACCESSIBLE?
It is highly recommended to remove any wall hangings, furniture, storage, or other personal belongings obstructing electrical panel(s). This really should be the case all the time, inspection or otherwise. If there's ever an emergency and the power needs to be cut, first responders need to find the panel and main disconnect as quickly as possible. The main disconnect should never be inaccessible.
7. IS THE AIR HANDLER/FURNACE ACCESSIBLE?
If located in utility closet or garage, try to ensure it is clear of obstructions and easily accessible.
8. IS GARAGE DOOR ABLE TO OPEN AND CLOSE? Also, if the opener is not plugged in at ceiling, an inspector may take this to mean there's a potential defect or problem and opt to not plug it in and test in order to avoid possible damage. Plug in what you can, but of course, please use caution and always act with safety in mind.
9. THE ATTIC IS A MAJOR PART OF A HOME INSPECTION. CAN WE GET TO IT? The attic provides a significant amount of information in regards to the roof, structural components, and building insulation. Try to ensure the pull down ladder to attic is really accessible and can be operated safely without the need to move storage or other belongings. Also, consider if scuttle access is clear in closets, with clothing either pushed to side, removed, or covered if possible.
10. IS CLOTHING OUT OF WASHER AND DRYER?
We certainly don't want to shrink or pink your new white garments.
11. ARE THE DISHES OUT OF SINKS AND DISHWASHER?
Is the garbage disposal connected? If you don't want something inspected, disconnect it. This can often indicate a potential problem and the appliance or fixture may not be fully inspected as a result. Inspectors don't want to cause further damage and may be hesitant to plug appliances in or turn individual shutoff valves on beneath sinks or toilets.
SOME OTHER HELPFUL TIDBITS:
- understand how long it will or may take to complete inspection
- call and schedule WELL AHEAD OF TIME
- speak with insurance regarding wind mitigation, 4 point, and WDO. Understand what they require and why. This can prevent multiple visits to property and help avoid delays.
- make sure the pool/spa is discussed prior and that the motor/heater is on if possible.
- fireplace/chimney area cleared with screens and/or glass set aside.
- irrigation system/well/pumps connected
- check that the windows are accessible with baby/burglar locks removed
Please call 772-882-8103 and let us know if there's anything we can elaborate on or if you have any questions at all in regards to the inspections we offer. Please remember Spaulding Home Inspections for your next property!
This is a starting point, exploring some hypothetical scenarios to hopefully help both experienced and/or new homebuyers, sellers, and real estate agents. It is not meant to be viewed as an accurate representation of regulatory conditions, code standards, business requirements, or requests by any individual home inspector or home inspection company. This is more or less a heads up or a reminder for those who would like to gain the most out of their home inspection.