The early bird gets the worm
In our market (Greater Chicagoland), a typical real estate transaction happens quickly. The purchase contract frequently requires that all inspections be completed within five days of the contract date. This has been a thorn in our side for years and we are used to it at this point.
The problem is that most home buyers are not “used to it” as they don’t purchase homes on a frequent basis.
From the standard real estate contract…
Spring has Sprung!
The spring market is well underway already. Real estate transactions increasing. We encourage all agents, clients, or others who need to schedule a home inspection to get the process underway as soon as possible. Add the current lack of homes for sale to the equation, and time becomes a critical factor.
During peak season, a telephone call often goes like this:
Buyer: I need to schedule an inspection as soon as possible. Today is Wednesday and we need to have the home inspected and the report “in hand” by Friday. What is the soonest availability that you have?
Inspection Company: We’re so sorry to disappoint, but we cannot schedule an inspection until next Tuesday.
Buyer: OK, Thanks anyway. I will check around to see if I can find someone else.
Inspection Company: You may also want to speak with the seller, your real estate agent, or your attorney to try to get an extension to the contract until next week.
What’s the harm in asking, right? Nobody wants to have to “settle”. If the company that you choose cannot accommodate your request, you may have to “settle” for 2nd best. This helps nobody.
Can we do more inspections per day?
As a company with a team of inspectors, we can often accommodate these last-minute inspection requests. However, when things are busy, it’s just not always possible.
Our past experience shows that trying to fit an additional inspection in at the end of the day rarely ends well for anyone. The seller has to accommodate people being in their home late in the day, the home inspector may be fatigued and might miss things, and the real estate agents have to work into the evening after an already long and tiring day.
We do not recommend “fitting in” home inspections.
What can I do to expedite things?
- Interview home inspectors ahead of time. Do some research! This is the time to find out their qualifications, if they can address your specific concerns, and what the fee may be for the inspection. Depending on the company, you may even be able to request a specific inspector.
- Determine what additional services you may want to add to the inspection. Do you want radon testing, sewer survey, thermal imaging, or a chimney scan? All of these services are common add-ons , but sometimes require a separate person to perform them. Now is the time to research what you want to have done.
- Get the home inspection appointment scheduled as soon as possible after you sign your contract. This may conflict with your personal schedule and require that you take some time off work. While we try to accommodate client’s schedule to perform the inspection when they can attend, sometimes it’s not possible. For instance, we try not to schedule inspection appointments after dark. It is risky to perform inspections in the dark as items can be missed and problems can arise. If your work schedule is not flexible, ask about FaceTime or video conferencing with your inspector.
- Do not schedule the inspection before you actually have a signed contract. Our company policy is that we do not “hold” times for people. Too often, the deal falls through and we are left with a hole in our schedule. This is pretty common in the industry. Do not be surprised if you are asked to provide a credit card to secure the inspection time.
- Determine whether your inspection company can provide the all the services you need to have done. As the years have gone by, the array of ancillary services that a home inspection includes has increased. (See item #2 above) Not all inspection companies perform all these services. Finding out what is included before you go under contract is important to ensure the entire array of inspections can be done during the contingency period.
This is stressful!
Purchasing a home is stressful. We are sympathetic to all parties involve and try to accommodate as many special requests as possible. Getting in and out of the inspection as efficiently as possible is one of our main goals. Discussions about the scope of the inspection, special accommodations, and other scenarios should happen prior to the inspection whenever possible.
Advice to sellers…
We have discussed this before. Sellers should consider a pre-listing inspection so that they can provide a clean bill of health to a prospective buyer. This will help to complete the mandated seller’s disclosure form, The Residential Real Property Disclosure Report, which must be provided to a prospective buyer. The more items that a seller can take off of this list, the easier it is for a purchaser to move forward.
As you can imagine, if you have problems with water in your basement, a home buyer is going to be concerned. The home inspector is going to find the problem, and the buyer is probably going to want a professional waterproofing contractor to visit the home to provide a cost estimate. This all takes time and slows down the process. If you take care of these problems before you go to sell your home, the problem is taken off of the table.
Have you ever been under the gun and felt pushed into something?