In a nutshell request the seller:
- provide keys for accessing all areas / buildings
- clear access to all attic and crawlspace scuttle hatches
- clear access to the appliances (furnace, boiler, water heater, etc.)
- clear access to the the electrical panel. The inspector should be removing the cover
- empty the dishwasher, clothes washer and dryer so they can be run through a short cycle
- have as many utilities on as possible
- provide the ages or install dates of the roof, siding, seawall, furnace, water heater, etc.
- provide a cell phone number for questions or to relay concerns (like the sump pump is out and the pit is full)
The inspector should do the rest and inform the client about the conditions of the property, house and out buildings.
I agree with some of the others that replied too. I hate inspectors who find fault with something and automatically request it be evaluated further by a professional - that's why they hired a PROFESSIONAL home inspector. If the roof is missing a few shingles I write it up and suggest they be repaired, not that the entire roof needs to be certified. I also document the furnace operated by the use of normal controls (the thermostat) and if there is any indication that it has been repaired or received an annual "clean & check". I only recommend further evaluation if it has obvious defects, otherwise I recommend a home warranty for peace of mind.
If I am representing the seller, I am strictly observing and have a duty to the seller. So if I think the inspector is missing something, I cannot get involved in my view.
This can be a tricky area...just need to remember to whom we have a fiduciary relationship.
There are many inspectors with different firms. From what I have seen they vary greatly (some always show up a half hour early to look for nearest fire hydrants as well as other exterior on and off site conditions. (insurance companies will often want to know this) Some will remind agents that utilities must all be on as well as specifics like closing windows for radon test. Some firms have licensed engineers on staff who can comment upon structural concerns others do not. Some have in house mold testing lead paint testing,...Some firms will have a different company check for termites etc. In short they vary greatly. Ask around your office, at your local realtor nite outs etc to be able to get references. I am glad you attend your inspections. I see many agents who will not attend for fear they may learn something.
Sorry to vent!
American Society of Home Inspectors. People think that a license is enough, but I find the ASHI seal is what sets him apart. Also, a home inspector that is a Structural Engineer is a plus because if there are any structural issues, he can find them without the homeowner contracting a structural engineer after the inspection to inspect for structural issues. He's all in one!
When I began my career in 1993, I took the Texas state license exam, which was the only licensed state at the time. That was required by NAHI, the group I was a member of at the time. I have since been a member of NACH and ALPHI. ASHI has obviously done a great job of promoting its members. However, picking an inspector only from that group is short sighted. I never joined ASHI for a variety of reasons. I have a master degree college education that includes studies in engineering and biology and have done well over 7500 inspections of all types of properties. Do you think I am unqualified if I am not a member of ASHI?
J Serino Inspections
I am a licensed NJ inspector of 18 years. There are minimum standards of practice set by the NJ State Board of Engineers. As with any minimum standards, they are followed by many inspectors because it is a way of reducing their liability. For example, only one window and wall outlet per room is required to be inspected or tested. Appliances are not included. Any mechanical systems not already on do not have to be operated, meaning the utilities need to be on, the pilots on gas burners need to be on, water and electrical needs to be on. Access should be cleared in front of entry areas to the doors, basements, crawl space, electrical panel, water heater and furnace. Basements and garages should be clean of unnecessary clutter and as accessible along perimeter walls as possible.
A home inspection is a visual observation and report of the readily accessible and main components of a property. The report should be objective and unbiased and literally be the same whether a buyer or a seller orders it from the inspector. Inspectors can't see inside walls, but knowledge and experience create an intuition that can save hundreds and thousands of dollars of wasted followup opinions and tests. That is what you should be paying for.
I hope that helps. I am a sole proprietor with over 7500 inspections in my career. I have studies in engineering, biology and graduate level critical thinking - all credentials beyond the minimum standard.
J Serino Inspections
Client's get what they pay for. I think the most important thing is for the Buyer(s) to attend the inspection, to ask all the questions they have about potential issues and proper maintenance of the home.
I think the 911 Inspectors check list is great!
THE CONDO QUEEN
RE/MAX Greater Princeton
Princeton, NJ 08540
Cell: 609-658-8934 < best way to reach me
Be sure to check with YOUR STATE association - as requirememnt may vary. Hope this helps! Good Luck!
"Big Dan" Willard
Unwavering Commitment to Service