5 Home Inspection Tips and Tricks for First Time Buyers

By: Diana Rodriguez-Zaba
Updated on: March 13, 2019

Buying your first house is a wonderful experience you’ll always remember. That two-story in Northbrook or three-bedroom in Evanston is finally going to be your home. You want it to be perfect from foundation to roof.

You don’t expect to move in and discover moldy basement walls or water damage cleanup from leaky pipes. How do you head off this kind of home buyer’s nightmare?

We recommend you have the house checked inside and out by a professional home inspector. If you’re not sure about how to hire or what to expect, we’ve put together a list of home inspection tips first-time buyers.

Make the Home Inspection Process Work for You: 5 Smart Tips

Finding out that the home of your dreams isn’t perfect probably won’t change your mind about closing the deal. Knowing that it’s not hiding any surprises will help you sleep better in your new house. These home inspection tips for first-time buyers can make the process work for you.

1. Don’t Assume the House is Too New

new property home inspection
Even new homes can have problem; a home inspector identifies any issues present.

While most home inspection tips for buyers outline what you should do, this one focuses on something you shouldn’t do. Don’t assume that only older homes need inspecting. A newly built house can have problems too.

Even when it’s documented as up to city code, new construction can have faulty plumbing or electrical installations due to substandard workmanship. Undetected defects in a recently constructed home can be expensive and dangerous.

2. Think About Money Saved, Not Spent

Buying a new house makes you think twice about every penny spent, but don’t try to skimp by skipping a professional home inspection. The service is usually affordable and easily offsets the expense of repairing:

• Electrical, gas and plumbing systems.
• Exterior foundation and interior basement walls.
• AC and furnace equipment and ductwork.
• Roof shingles, underlayment and sheathing.

3. Hire a Professional With Solid References

When friends and family offer their own home inspection tips and tricks, ask them for references too. Talk to them about their experiences working with home inspectors, and follow up with your own research.

If you know individuals who work in the construction business, ask them for names of several home inspectors. Professionals who network across the trades are often your best resources for making solid industry connections.

4. Explain Your Expectations

chicago inspector toolbox
Home inspectors are usually equipped with  the tools needed to perform a thorough inspection of your property.

If home inspectors had superpowers, they could see moisture behind walls and contamination in ductwork. Instead, they use diagnostic tools to get an accurate picture of potential problems that can hide in a new house. Talk with your inspector ahead of time, and let him know that you expect:

• Testing for hidden moisture that can cause mold growth in closed areas like crawl spaces.
• Air sampling that can identify any unhealthy contaminants in the ductwork and HVAC system.
• Infrared scanning of the foundation and roof to reveal any moisture buildup or leaks.

If these processes aren’t available through the home inspector, talk with a restoration contractor. Most restoration businesses perform these types of tests on a regular basis as part of their water damage restoration services.

5. Plan on Being There

Final inspection reports aren’t always easy to understand. Plan on being there for the inspection, and ask plenty of questions. You won’t be the first home buyer who insists on detailed information.

The average home inspection takes between two and three hours, so dress comfortably, and pack a little patience along with a pencil and paper for jotting down notes.

Almost Anything Can Be Fixed

Let your real estate agent know the results of your home inspection so he or she can help you negotiate during the selling process.

If the home inspector finds problems, share detailed reports and documentation with your real estate agent. The information can be used as negotiating points with the seller, and it gives you an accurate overview of repairs that might be necessary before move-in.

As Chicago’s leading residential restoration company, we know almost anything can be fixed. We often handle pre-sale projects like mold remediation and duct cleaning. Sometimes, the new house just needs a little professional help to become the home of your dreams.

You Can Depend on Us

You have our very best wishes for a smooth transition into your new home. We hope our list makes the inspection process a little easier. If you have any tips to share, let us know through our Comments Section. Your invitation to join our conversation is always open.

Our lines are always open too with an emergency response to everything from the aftermath of a home fire to burst pipe water damage. Depend on ServiceMaster Restoration by Zaba for the best fire and water damage cleanup and restoration across Chicago and the suburbs. We’re here 24/7, and we’re always ready to answer your call.