You’ve just had your home purchase offer accepted; congratulations! The search is over, and now you need to have your new home inspected.

What you should expect at the inspection

You’ll need to schedule this right away as most inspection contingencies have short timelines. Most inspectors work on short notice and most real estate brokers give inspections top priority on their calendars due to the contractual timelines involved. I cannot stress this enough. Once your agent has told you that you’re in mutual acceptance, you should be on the phone with your chosen inspector choosing a date and time. [Click here to read How to Choose a Home Inspector.]

The inspection will typically take 2 to 4 hours (but I’ve seen them run up to 8!) The most common practice is for the seller to be absent during this time. Your real estate broker will be accommodating the inspector’s entry into the home.  When you are calling and interviewing inspectors it’s a good idea to have all the information regarding your prospective home in front of you. Make sure the inspector knows the square footage, type of building, age of construction, type of roofing material, type of heating and anything else that might be specific to your prospective home.

Once the physical inspection of the home is done, the inspector will generate a full report. Typically with the full report your broker can sit down with you and discuss what if any items should be addressed with the seller.

Some of the more common non-critical inspection issues include the following: clean rain gutters, attach earthquake straps on water heaters, remove all items from crawl space, re-caulk bathrooms or kitchen areas, have the furnace serviced, replace any rotten wood on decks or siding, replace windows with broken seals, and cut vegetation back to allow at least 6 inches from home.

You will have the opportunity to reply to the seller with one of the four following options:

1) The inspection is approved!

2) The inspection is not approved and they would like a number of items remedied or a monetary consideration of some sort.

3) You may ask for an additional, more specialized inspection. Although this is rare and is usually limited to items the require specialized expertise above and beyond what the home inspector might have. The most common additional inspection is calling for an electrician to assess a potential hazard.

4) The inspection is not approved and they no longer wish to purchase the home.

What to Bring:

  • Camera: Your inspector will have a camera, and everything listed below, but the inspector may not share all of the photos they took with you. If there is something that stands out to you, it might be helpful to snap a quick picture.
  • Notepad: You will want to take notes of any maintenance tips or pointers the inspector may have.
  • Tape measure: This is also the time to verify square footage and lot size to your satisfaction, or to take measurements of rooms that you may want to paint or buy furniture for and also to talk about your intentions for the home.
  • Flashlight: You may also want to look into the furnace, attic or crawl space to make sure you know where key components are and a flashlight can be very helpful.
  • Family & Friends! This is a great time to show your friends and family your prospective home. If you have experts in your family and want their opinion on the home and the inspection, by all means, this is the time. It is likely we will not have access to your home again until the final walk though, so it’s important to really use this time to your advantage.


  • Ask Questions! The inspector is there for you.
  • It is the inspector job to find faults and even brand new homes built to high standards can have a few items that require attention.
  • Everything is negotiable and once your broker has the response from the seller they can work to determine which items are reasonable and which items might be okay to decline.
  • Your REALTOR can help recommend contractors and coordinate bids for some of the work issues, but make sure you research them, too, to make sure their suggestion is the best one for you. [Click here to read How to Choose a Home Inspector.]

I have personally had great experience with the following inspectors:

Charles Buell
Buell Inspections
(206) 478-731
 Charlie is without question one of the most knowledgeable inspectors I’ve ever worked with. I strongly recommend everyone subscribe to his blog. Click here to subscribe.
Loren Chewning
Summit to Sound Inspections
(425) 457-4497
Extremely knowledgeable and personable.  Covers a wide service area.
Any of the Inspectors at:
Inspection Services Northwest
(206) 241-8087
A team service, great for anyone on a tight schedule. All the inspectors are well-trained and do a great job.ContactMe