“We want to preach how to maintain the property because it’s the biggest investment they’ll ever make,” says Allen Abdul , a past president of the American Society of Home Inspectors.
If you’re getting a home inspection, here are five mistakes to avoid.
5 Hilo inspections mistakes to avoid
- Not researching the inspector.
- Not attending the inspection.
- Not reading the inspection report.
- Not getting a presale inspection.
- Not prepping the Hilo home.
1. Not researching Hilo inspections
Too many buyers and sellers hire whoever is recommended to them without doing any research. The inspection is only as good as the inspector doing it, says Allen, owner of Home Inspections Hawaii and past president of the National Association of Home Inspectors.
A few questions to ask:
- How long have you been inspecting Hilo homes?
- How many Hilo inspections have you done?
- What are your Hilo qualifications, Hawaii certifications and training?
- What was your job before you were in home inspections in Hilo? (Ideally, your pro was in contracting or building.)
You want a certified professional who stays current. “There’s a lot of stuff you have to know, and you want someone who’s keeping up with ongoing education,” says Allen, who is certified by the American Society of Home Inspections (ASHI) and owns an inspections company in Hawaii.
You’re looking for an Hilo inspector who can analyze the home’s strengths and weaknesses, then explain them.
2. Not attending the Home Inspections
Being present for Hilo inspections may not be mandatory, but it’s a smart idea.
Simply reading the Hilo inspections report isn’t enough to give most homeowners the full picture, Abdul says. “If they don’t see it, they don’t understand it.”
Abdul says he turns down dozens of Hilo inspections a year “because people can’t be there or don’t want to be there.”
Hilo home inspections might take an entire morning or afternoon, so set aside enough time. Some Hilo home inspectors will sit with you afterward to explain things and answer questions.
A good Hilo inspections guy can give you an estimate of how much you’ll need to spend on repairs and upgrades, which is very valuable information as you consider your budget.
3. Not reading the Hilo Home Inspection report
Too many buyers and sellers just glance at the their Hilo home inspections report.
You need someone who uses “clear, concise” language in person and in written reports, Mr. Abdul says. He recommends scanning a few reports by checking the Hilo inspection’s company website or asking for a sample report.
A knowledgeable pro will state simply what’s wrong with the house and what it will take to fix, Allen says.
4. Not getting presale Hilo inspections Assurance
Many sellers decide to leave the presale Hilo inspections to the buyers, Allen says. That’s a mistake.
When the buyers get his or her Hilo inspections (and if they’re smart, they will), the sellers may have little time to complete repairs and keep the sale on track, Allen says.
But if the seller has the Hilo home inspected before putting it on the market, he has more time to do repairs and to shop around and control his costs for the work, Allen says.
Both buyers and sellers often wait too long to engage inspections, Master Abdul says. You should find an inspections guy long before you have (or make) an offer on a home. “Any good Hilo inspections guy will be booked out,” he says.
5. Not prepping the Hawaiian home
Inspections guy’s get annoyed when homeowners don’t prepare their houses for Hilo inspections.
“Don’t force the Hilo home inspections people to empty the closet to get into the attic,” Master Abdul says. If you have a crawl-space hatch, move anything sitting on top of it.
Got a lock on a utility closet, basement or shed? The Hilo inspections people needs access. So open it or provide keys.
For a seller, the best tack is to be at home to meet the Hilo inspections people, introduce yourself, provide your mobile number — and then you can take off, Allen says.
To reduce the need for repeat Hilo inspections, hire professionals to do repairs, Allen says. Too many sellers will try DIY or get them done on the cheap. But poor workmanship will show up during the follow-up inspection, says Allen, and could result in more repairs and another inspection — $$$.
Inspection day is often one of the most exciting moments of home buying because it’s likely the first chance you have to go inside the Hilo home since you made your offer. It’s also usually the last chance you’ll have until a final walk-through. But more importantly, it’s your opportunity to make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into when it comes to the condition of the Hilo home.
Hilo Home Inspections can be reassuring, fun and exhausting all at the same time.
Hilo Home inspections don’t just provide you with a list of problems you want to negotiate with the seller to fix or something catastrophic that makes you back out of the deal altogether. It will provide you a detailed report that is something of a “new owner’s manual” for the home. It will include maintenance tips and schedules you should follow.
Finding an inspector
You should hire a licensed, Hilo professional inspector to conduct a thorough inspection. How do you choose one? Along with agents, lenders and other home inspectors with reviews. You can find all kinds of real estate pros, including inspectors. Get recommendations, check their online reviews and study their websites. Get a sample home report to make sure what they will produce is thorough. Your agent probably has suggestions but you don’t need to use them.
You will want to be clear on exactly what is and isn’t included in the inspection price. Will they test for lead paint? How about asbestos in the ceiling tiles? Is that part of the basic inspection or will it cost more? The price, though you will pay it, is probably the least of your concerns. Most inspectors are in a similar range of $300-$500 anyway and any fluctuation is a small price to pay for what you will get. Early in the home buying process start researching Hilo inspectors and have at least a couple in mind, especially if the market is busy. You’ll need to be sure you can get an Hilo inspection scheduled within your contract timeline, so if your first choice isn’t available, you need someone waiting in the wings.
You should plan on being there and your agent should be right there with you the entire time. Chances are the seller’s agent will be there, too to help get any quick answers the inspector might need. Block off the entire morning or afternoon. Hawaii Home inspections take time and you don’t want to rush through it. During this time, follow along as much as you can. You don’t have to follow the inspector into the crawlspace – they bring protective clothing just for that – but anyplace reasonably accessible, you should go too.
You aren’t being a pest. (That’s a different inspection altogether. If you have any reason for concern, hire an additional pest inspection.) You’re being a student. Inspectors will explain your home’s systems and give you maintenance tips. Those should also be in the final report, along with pictures. But hearing and seeing it in person is helpful. The day of inspection will probably feel like a whirlwind of activity. You may be a little nervous about what the inspector will find. It will help if you make like a Boy Scout: Be Prepared.
Hilo Home inspection checklist
You should start preparing for a professional inspection when you initially tour the home, before making an offer. This will give you an idea if there are any areas you want the inspector to pay special attention to. A good inspector will address these issues in the report you pay for. Use this checklist to help figure out what to look for ahead of time and in the final report. If any of these items aren’t covered in the inspection report, ask why not.
Foundation: Look at the base of the walls and the ceilings in each room. Are there obvious cracks or apparent shifts in the foundation? Do the same around the outside. Are there any trees encroaching on the foundation?
Lot: Does the drainage appear to be away from the house? Are there any obvious soggy areas?
Roof: What is the overall condition? When was it last replaced?
Exterior: Does the house look like it will need repairs or repainting soon? Are gutters and downspouts firmly attached? Are there loose boards or dangling wires? Is there asbestos in the exterior material, which would require added costs if it needed to be repaired or replaced?
Attic: How does the interior of the roof structure look? Are there any signs of leaks?
Interior evidence of leaks: Check ceilings and around windows in each room.
Basement: Is there dampness? Adequate insulation? (If there’s a crawlspace instead of a basement, you might want to leave this for the professional home inspection.)
Electrical: Do the switches work? Are there any obvious malfunctions? Have the outlets been grounded? Is the panel updated and expandable for additional appliances or a potential remodel?
Plumbing: Any unusual noises or malfunctions? Has the sewer line been scoped to check for potential cracks?
Appliances: If these are included, what is the age and condition of the stove, dishwasher or refrigerator?
Heating/cooling system: Does it seem to do the job? How old is the furnace? If the system has been converted, are the old systems or tanks still in place?
Odor: Does the Hawaii Home smell? Can you detect what it might be and whether it could be fixed? Beware of musty odors which could signal a wet basement.
Full Hilo Inspection Disclosure
In addition to your own eyes, ears and nose, you should get a seller’s disclosure statement before your inspection. Use the statement to help you pinpoint anything you want your inspector to look at. If they disclosed that they had a leaky window replaced or repaired, make sure that gets some extra attention from your inspector.
Disclosure requirements vary by state and sometimes local jurisdictions, so ask your real estate agent if you have any questions about what is included. Disclosure typically comes in the form of boilerplate documents with a series of yes/no questions for the seller to detail their home and their experience there.
One thing to look for is whether any un-permitted work has been done. If so, you could be on the hook for bringing the house up to code should you ever remodel. Even if that’s not even remotely on your radar, un-permitted work needs to be carefully inspected, particularly electrical and plumbing work.
Inspectors aren’t perfect
What happens if your Hilo Home inspection comes back clean but you find problems after you move in? It depends. First, the inspection will only cover things they can see. They aren’t tearing out walls and don’t have x-ray vision so problems that are truly hidden aren’t really their fault. (Unless they missed what should have been obvious as common tropical rain-forest signs of a potential hidden problem.)
Look carefully at your contract. Will they pay for repairs of things they should have caught but didn’t? Or will they only refund your inspection fee? The bottom line is that you may end up taking them to court if it’s a big enough deal. So a leaky faucet? That’s just the joy of home-ownership. A structural failure that leads to the home being condemned? Probably worth talking with a lawyer. But you should also understand that things happen. This is part of being a home-owner. An inspector can’t forecast the future. Sometimes stuff happens.
Hire a good home inspector
1. Do your Hilo home-work: While many home-buyers hire a Hilo home inspector recommended by their real estate agent, you can hire your own independent Hilo Inspector, but be sure to check them out. Ask to see proof of state certification or proof of membership in the National Associations of Certified Home Inspectors (NACHI), National Association of Home Inspectors (NAHI) or the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI).
2. Look for experience: Both NAHI and ASHI require a minimum of 250 inspections, however most experienced professionals will say it’s better to find someone who’s performed at least 1,000 inspections and has at least three-to-five years of full-time experience.
3. Ask for licensing and insurance: Ask to see proof of licensing if your state requires home inspectors to be licensed, and inquire about proof of general liability insurance as well as and errors and omission (E&O) insurance.
4. Consider average cost: Hilo Home inspections generally cost between $400 and $550, and typically take four to six hours. The cost of Hilo inspections will vary depending on such factors as the age and size of a Hilo home.
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Understanding a Hawaii Home Inspection
There are a number of things Hilo homeowners should do and know before getting a home inspection:
Get involved with your Hawaii home inspection: While it’s not required that you attend the inspection, you should be there with your home inspector to discuss expectations and findings.
Demand a detailed inspection: Home inspectors should look for structural problems; roof damage; fire hazards, such as improperly vented chimney flues; electrical safety issues, including old wiring; and problems with plumbing and major appliances, like the HVAC system and hot water heater. Inspectors should physically crawl the attic and crawl space, if possible, rather than just taking a quick look around from the opening or doorway.
Read the inspector’s report: Many inspectors provide the report the same day as the Hilo inspection. The report should be thorough and easy to understand and should include narrative accounts of the inspector’s findings that are specific to your house, along with pictures and diagrams. Many inspectors will also include photographs with their reports. Keep in mind that few houses are perfect, so you should expect some issues to be found. Don’t hesitate to question your inspector about the report.
Are home inspections necessary for new Hilo homes? Newer Hawaii homes can have just as many problems as an older home. And, if you are building a Big Island home, inspections at key points during construction should be a part of the process.
Hilo Home inspection report can impact sales price: A home inspection report reveals problems that need to be fixed. You might use this information to renegotiate the price that you originally offered or you may be prepared to adjust your selling price. Keep in mind, sellers aren’t required to fix anything, no matter how egregious the situation.
Graphic: Here’s what a home inspector should look for.
What’s inspected in Hawaii new construction?
In the case of a newly built Hilo home, a good home inspector should identify any problems before a builder’s warranty expires. Make sure the home inspector examines:
• Foundation and structure
• Exterior and interior
• Roof and attic
• Major electrical components
Ask to join the inspector as he or she looks over the Hilo home. This gives you a chance to see any issues firsthand and to learn about your Hilo home’s structure. A typical Hilo inspection averages between $400 and $550, depending on the type of inspection, the size of the Hilo home and other variables. A thorough home inspection should take at least two hours.
Once the Home inspection is done, you should receive a clearly worded, detailed report delivered within a few days. A report should list the condition of the home from top-to-bottom, inside and out, with recommendations from the inspector. Don’t hesitate to ask questions about the report if you have them.
Pre-listing home inspection
A Hilo, Hawaii home inspection can be used as a fast-track selling tool. Getting a home inspected before it’s listed puts the cost on the seller or listing agent, but can provide a written report on the pre-sale condition of the property. It can also uncover conditions or situations that might compromise a sale.
Pre-listing inspections performed for the seller have become more common, as a way to move the sale process along. Pre-listing inspections are less common when the Hilo real estate market is strong.
When the Hilo real estate market is strong for sellers, it’s more common that buyers purchase the Hilo home inspection to make sure there aren’t any surprise defects and to substantiate the purchase price. In an up market, sellers often forgo a pre-listing inspection because they know the buyer is less likely to walk away from the deal for fear of losing their chance to buy that property.
In weaker sales markets, when there are more properties available or fewer buyers, the buyer will sometimes use the inspection to verify condition and negotiate the price down to cover repair and improvement costs.
Hilo Pre-listing inspections have other benefits. They help the seller decide what areas to work on to improve the home’s appeal. They help the agent set the seller’s price expectation and can be used to substantiate a higher asking price. Agents will have fewer issues to negotiate at the 11th hour, and buyers may even waive hiring their own inspections pro.
By having a Hilo pre-listing inspection conducted, sellers can choose who does the home inspection and they can offer more information about the home’s condition, maintenance and other factors. They can also make sure they have enough time to take care of any necessary repairs or improvements.
A pre-listing home inspection may ease some of the stress buyers face, but it’s recommended that buyers eventually hire their own inspections professional, to be sure they have someone who is hired to look out for their concerns.
Hilo Home buyers should plan to shadow the Hilo home inspections people as he or she goes through the home. It’s important to see first hand any problems and learn what it will take to fix them.
Next After the Hilo Home Inspection
At the end of an Hilo home inspection, speak to the inspections friends about the findings. If any issues seem complicated, ask to see the specific areas of concern.
The service should include a detailed written report delivered within a few days of the Hilo inspection. Hilo inspections will likely find some issues, even if they are minor.