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Home Inspection Guide...

Every home buyer should hire a qualified private home inspector to perform a thorough inspection on a home that they are planning to purchase. Doing so means that you will be minimizing the chances of discovering issues after closing with key components such as electrical, plumbing, heating, cooling, etc.

A private home inspection will typically take 2-3 hours (depending on the size of the property) while the inspector examines a home from top to bottom. Keep in mind that home inspectors can only inspect what they see so if something is hidden / concealed, a private home inspector, no matter how good they are, may not discover certain defects and/or deficiencies.

Procedures and practices may vary from area to area. Information noted here is relevant for many of the Metro Detroit and Downriver communities in Michigan.

. What is a home inspection?
. The purpose of a home inspection
. What to expect from your home inspection
. Preparing for a home inspection
. Selecting a "qualified" inspector
. How to address issues that arise
What is a home inspection?
A home inspection or often referred to as a "private home inspection" is a detailed visual examination of a home including the heating, cooling, plumbing, electrical, appliances and structural items such as foundation, roof, walls, chimney, windows, etc.

A private home inspection is generally done by an individual that specializes in home inspections.

Buyers will typically make their offer to purchase subject to the their review of the results of a private home inspection. It is the buyer's responsibility to pay for the home inspection and hire the private home inspector.

Sellers rarely have a private home inspection prior to putting their home up for sale. In some cases it can be a good idea but it is not typical in this area.

A private home inspection is not an appraisal of value.

City inspections are not nearly as thorough as a private home inspection. Some of the communities that require a city inspection include Dearborn, Dearborn Heights, Westland, Garden City, Detroit, Inkster, Taylor and other Wayne County communities. Keep in mind that those inspectors are in and out of a house in a matter of minutes and they are only looking for specific code violations that their community will require to be corrected.

Radon, termite and mold inspections are not typically included as part of a regular private home inspection. If you wish to have any of those types of tests/inspections done you must ask for them and there is generally an extra charge.

© Copyright, Steve Hatfield - No reproduction or redistribution of this material is allowed without permission in writing
The purpose of a home inspection
Some buyers ask why they should have a private home inspection. There are a few very good reasons why they should...
To have a qualified expert examine the property before you fully commit to the purchase.
To learn more about the property, how things work and what you will need to do later in regards to maintenance items.
To find any major flaws, problems, defects, issues, etc.* with the home/property before you have fully committed to the purchase.

If any major issues arise you will have the opportunity to ask the sellers to correct them and/or make an adjustment to the price to compensate you for the issue(s). Sellers may or may not agree to take action in response to your requests but at least you know about these item(s) now and have the choice to continue or discontinue your purchase based on your findings and the seller's willingness or unwillingness to negotiate based on the findings.
Important Tip!
If you decide to have a friend or relative look over a house for you, be sure that they are in fact "qualified". Having owned a home before or making a few purchases in the past does not make someone an expert. All too often friends or relatives want to make themselves look "good" by giving advice that they are not qualified to provide. By doing so, you may make important decisions based on information that is inaccurate.

A home purchase is a large investment and well worth the small amount of money to protect your investment as much as possible by hiring an experienced, qualified professional to do the job right.

*Home inspectors can only inspect what they can see so if a problem is not visible, it may be missed by a home inspector.

© Copyright, Steve Hatfield - No reproduction or redistribution of this material is allowed without permission in writing
What to expect from your home inspection

Review of Home and Inspection Results
Your home inspector should take time to walk you through the property and the findings of his/her inspection. It is even better if you are able to follow the home inspector through the entire process and they show and explain things to you as they go.

Home Inspection Report
You should receive a professionally prepared inspection report that clearly outlines any issues with the property. This is often provided via email within a day of the inspection. He/she should also make notations regarding the urgency of any issues noted. Some home inspectors take pictures of items that are noted as possible problems and include these photos in their report which is especially helpful.

Home Inspection Report - Maintenance Items
Your report should include maintenance items that will need to be taken care of in the future. If an inspector didn't find any areas that needed to be caulked or maintained later...they did not look hard enough. Keep in mind that a home requires constant maintenance so finding small maintenance items is very common. While these items are good to know about, unless they require great expense to complete or present a hazard or safety issue, sellers generally do not make these types of corrections.

Important Tip!
You should plan to attend your private home inspection as it is much easier to discuss any concerns or issues as they arise.

© Copyright, Steve Hatfield - No reproduction or redistribution of this material is allowed without permission in writing
Preparing for a home inspection
For Buyers:

Prepare a list of questions regarding the home and then bring that list with you to the inspection.

Take a tape measure, notepad, pen/pencil and camera with you to the inspection. It is the perfect time to measure for appliances, drapery, furniture, etc. Take photos of all the rooms so you can plan for your move and any additional items you'll need/want to purchase. This will also help you to remember the colors of bathroom tile, cabinets, carpet, etc. better so you can keep them in mind.

Have relatives or friends that you want to show the home to? Tell them to show up at the very beginning of the inspection so you can give them a quick tour. Be sure to tell them that you'll have about 15 minutes to show them around and then after that you'll be busy with your inspection. You are paying for this very important service so you don't want to be distracted during your inspection by visitors.

For Sellers:

Ask your agent to check and see approximately how long the inspection will take and then plan to be gone for at least that amount of time. The buyer is paying for this service and will not want you to be present.

Make everything accessible! If the access to your attic is in a closet...clear out the closet so the inspector won't have to do so.

If you have furniture or other items blocking access panels...move the items out of the way.

If you store boxes or other items in attic areas, crawl spaces, etc. make sure that there is ample room in these areas for the inspector gain access during inspection.

Turn on all the lights in the house so the inspector does not have to search for them.

© Copyright, Steve Hatfield - No reproduction or redistribution of this material is allowed without permission in writing
Selecting a "qualified" inspector
There are no formal licensing requirements currently in place regarding this industry. However, many inspectors adhere to the rigid standards of practice established by the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI). So, you should look for "ASHI" on their business card or marketing materials.

Get recommendations from your Realtor® or others that have had a private inspection done. Assuming you selected a qualified and reputable Realtor® to represent your interests in your transaction, your Realtor® would be the best source for a referral as they have often attended many home inspections before and have seen who does a good job and who does not.

Ask questions before you hire a private inspector such as...how long will the inspection take (if it is an hour or so...they will not be thorough), can you provide me with a sample report showing all the items you check, can I walk through the inspection with you so that you can explain things as we go, what is your refund policy if I am not satisfied.

Cost of your inspection... You get what you pay for so if they are very inexpensive compared to others, your inspection will probably not be very thorough. On the other hand, just because a company is more expensive does not mean they are the best.

© Copyright, Steve Hatfield - No reproduction or redistribution of this material is allowed without permission in writing
How to address issues that arise
At the time of your inspection (if you attended and hopefully you did!) you should know of any major issues with the home.

If in fact there are some valid issues that need to be addressed you should consult with your Realtor® to make sure you register any complaints with the seller in the time frame noted on your offer to purchase.

The next step would be to put your issue(s) in writing along with exactly what you want from the seller in exchange meaning whether you want the seller to correct these items or if you want a price adjustment and then you will correct them later. Then you will need to supply this information to your Realtor® so that they can convey it to the seller's agent.

Each situation is different so when/if you are at this stage, you'll need to consult with your Realtor® about how to proceed.

© Copyright, Steve Hatfield - No reproduction or redistribution of this material is allowed without permission in writing

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  Steve Hatfield
REALTOR® ABR, CRS, e-PRO Certified
CENTURY 21 Curran & Christie
25636 Ford Road
Dearborn Heights, MI 48127
Office: (313) 274-7200
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Licensed Realtor® Since 1987 (#6501221773)
realtor Accredited Buyer Representative Certified Residential Specialist e-PRO

Steve Hatfield, Realtor® provides professional real estate / home buying services to buyers and sellers in Dearborn Michigan, Dearborn Heights Michigan, the Wayne County MI (Southeast Michigan) communities of Livonia, Canton, Redford, Westland, Garden City, Plymouth, Northville and the Oakland County cities of Farmington / Farmington Hills and Novi Michigan.

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Copyright © 1996 - Steve Hatfield
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