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  • Writer's picturemartin slon

Getting Maximum Utility from Your Home Inspection Report

Home Inspection Report

As an experienced home inspector I understand that receiving your home inspection report can feel like being handed a cryptic puzzle. It’s packed with information and technical details, and figuring out what's important, urgent, or potentially a deal-breaker can seem daunting.

This article is designed to help you squeeze every bit of value that you can from it.

1. The NJ State regulations set the standards

In New Jersey, a home inspection report is required to disclose and describe what was inspected, and any material defects found in those systems and components. It must also provide you with information on the significance of the finding and a recommendation for any next steps. This is intended to ensure that you, as a buyer, are fully informed about the property's condition.

2. The Inspection is a first and critical step

The inspection itself should not be a passive event where you stand around while a home inspector inspects your potential new home. This is an interactive process, and your participation is key. Why?

Learn about the major systems and components of your new home

Think of it as your first hands-on class in Homeownership 101. Being there in-person allows you to see and understand both the operation and the condition of the property firsthand.

Question things you don't know or understand

Don't be shy about asking questions during the inspection. Wondering what that crack in the wall means? Not sure why the inspector is spending so much time in the attic? Ask away! It's my job to make sure you understand what we're looking at and why it matters. I love curious clients!

Showing is more powerful than telling

During the inspection, you'll learn about all the key issues that will show up in the report. This will help you read and understand the report and ensure there are no large surprises when you receive the report.

3. The Home Inspection Report

The Summary is very important

Focus on the summary (but read the entire report). This is a list of the key material defects in my opinion. Here you will find the defects that are potentially dangerous, are likely expensive, or might impact the habitability of the home. If there is not a summary, your inspector has done you a dis-service and you will be faced with deciphering a huge document on your own.

The issue identified in the summary are the most likely things you'll want to pay close attention to when negotiating with the seller or prioritizing and budgeting future repairs.

But don't just read the summary alone. The summary is only my opinion and judgement of what is most important - you might have a different viewpoint. It is critically important to read the entire document to get a complete picture of the home's condition, including smaller issues that might not make it into the summary but are still worth knowing about.

Focus on high risk areas

Pay closest attention to the potentially highest risk areas: evidence of water ingress or damage, structural defects, aged or failing roof, and an outdated or problematic electrical system.

Major Appliances: Plan Ahead

It is easy to overlook appliances like hot water heaters or furnaces when you're focused on the bigger issues but keeping track of their ages can save you a lot of trouble (and money) in the future.

Take note of the ages of the major appliances to allow you to plan for scheduled replacements and upgrades. The inspection report will likely be used to plan home upgrade projects and taking into account appliance replacements or upgrades should be part of that planning.

Post-Report Questions

Even after the inspection, you might still find yourself with questions once you review the report–and that's perfectly normal! Never hesitate to reach out for clarification or further explanation. Remember, no question is too small or too 'silly'. Your understanding is our top priority.

Ready to take the next step?

A skilled and experienced home inspector will provide you with not only a detailed home inspection but also a useable report to ensure the safety of your family and maximize your home’s value. By understanding the report's contents and focusing on the right areas, you can unlock its full value and make informed decisions.

Trust Brookfield Home Inspections to provide you with a quality home inspection and guidance on prioritizing the issues identified. This will provide you with the facts and confidence you need to make the best real estate decisions for you and your family.

All home inspections are conducted by a Civil Engineer and NJ Licensed Home Inspector.

Contact us today to learn more about home inspections in all Northern NJ counties.

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