The buyer’s inspection process starts as soon as an offer is accepted with a fully signed purchase and sale agreement that includes an inspection contingency.
The buyer or buyer’s agent will schedule a home inspection, sewer scope, radon measurement, and any additional services to be completed prior to the end of the inspection contingency deadline. By default, this deadline is usually 10 days after mutual acceptance of the offer, but will vary. Now, your Top Notch Inspector will perform due diligence research on the property and compile all findings to begin the report. The client will receive the pre-inspection agreement and any documents related to your personalized inspection in advance. The listing agent will receive all relevant notices as well. We always encourage buyers to attend the inspection, follow along, and ask questions. It's your time to bond with the property and learn all you can!
On inspection day, we arrive on time, professionally dressed in uniform with ID badge, and will knock to identify ourselves to the seller if they have not yet left. We will review with the buyer in detail some aspects of the inspection, to ensure a thorough understanding of what we will perform on your behalf, as well as what we won’t perform. Remember, it’s still the seller’s home, and we must follow strict regulation that meets Washington State requirements for licensed home inspectors. (Annual home maintenance checkups, post purchase inspections, and other situations may mean a different inspection based on your needs.) A few highlights of what we may discuss:
Every home is different, and every client has different needs, so the following is a general summary. Your home may not have every feature, may have more features, may use delicate finish materials such as roof coverings that cannot be safely walked upon, etc. Health and safety for both the building and all persons present will always win out!
Generally: we will inspect the roof, chimney, deck, exterior and grounds first. Then we move inside and walk the home to get an overview of the layout. Next, we will inspect from the upper level down: kitchens, bathrooms, laundry rooms, bedrooms, dining area, family rooms, halls, closets, utility rooms, etc. Plumbing, electrical, HVAC, garage, structure, basement, attic, crawl spaces. We may use a thermal imager, if conditions warrant it. Of course, we offer additional services like the sewer scope with video, 48 hour Professional radon measurement, water sampling, and more.
Upon completion of the inspection, we will review a summary of what we inspected that day and perform our closing procedures. Your Top Notch Inspector will then return to his office to compile the findings, research major appliances and other components as needed, get all of your information into your report, verify accuracy, and publish it to you and your agent!
Those findings can be extensive, even daunting if you are not able to attend the inspection to discuss how common each defect is with your inspector - so we are available to answer any inspection questions. We have also complied an excellent video to help you get the most out of your report - Now that you have your inspection report!
Bonus note: (In the current housing market, often called a “seller's market” - there are modifications to the timing listed above. Some buyers may request to hold tentative inspection slots prior to acceptance that will turn definite after acceptance. Some buyers may not request an inspection contingency, but still hire an inspector for their own property improvement plan. If buyers plan to have an inspection while under contract, but without an inspection contingency (for a personal work checklist to use after the sale is complete) this may be tricky, and you will need to work through that with your agent. In those instances, buyers are limited in recourse if the inspection uncovered something concerning. A few buyers will even schedule an inspection to be completed after the sale is final, again just for their own maintenance checklist.)
Too Long, Didn't Read Version: The home inspection process is one of the important parts of your home buying journey. We encourage you to attend to get the most out of it, and we have a thorough process to help you get the most from your inspection!
-Marshall Tramp, CPI, RMP
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