Re-inspection and Repair Guidelines

Re-Inspections and Repairs After a Home Inspection

Because of the detailed nature of our home inspections, you will be likely be provided with a long list of defects that may include relatively minor issues and/or major structural and life safety issues that should be addressed. With our report in hand, you can work with your real estate agent to negotiate your approach to repairs. We have put together the following suggestions based on our experience to help you best navigate repairs and the re-inspection process. Ultimately, it is up to you and your real estate agent to determine the best way to proceed, but these suggestions can help you make this process smoother.

If you ask the seller to make the repairs, it is in their financial self-interest to make the repairs as inexpensively as possible.  We have done an enormous number of re-inspections when sellers have requested repairs and have found that the overwhelming vast majority of repairs were not done correctly (or were not done at all).  Cheap and easy fixes will not address concerns brought up by your inspector and may leave you with a false sense of security.

There is also a cottage industry of unscrupulous contractors that do “home inspection repairs” and charge sellers large amounts of money for “repairs” that are rarely done right, leaving both the buyer and the seller feeling cheated.  We believe it is best to have the seller fund the repairs so that you can select your own contractors and hold them accountable for any work done.

Our reports will identify defects in non-technical and straightforward terms. If you don’t understand why a defect has been highlighted, make sure to ask your inspector before writing up your repair addendum.  Since the inspector will want to review your report before responding, sending your inspector an emailed question works best so they can respond when they get back to the office.
Having repair work done by a licensed contractor does not guarantee a proper repair, but you are much more likely to get an acceptable repair than if an unlicensed person does the work.  Bonding and insurance requirements also will give you additional safeguards in case something goes wrong.  Requiring permits when necessary adds additional layers of accountability to the process. Require receipts and photos to document that the work has been completed.
A poorly worded repair request can easily be circumvented to minimize expenses to the seller. Take time with your agent and call out the exact nature of the repair as you like them addressed. This specificity will help minimize communication problems and will give you the best results in a limited time frame.  The repair addendum is a legal document — make sure it is clearly written and identifies the specific repairs requested in clear and unambiguous language.
You should not feel pressured to accept a two day re-inspection period. This can make scheduling a re-inspection difficult and may leave you without time to have someone properly review the repairs.  It often takes weeks for repairs to be made — requiring you to approve of the repairs within two days is not fair and should not be accepted.
In order to know how much funding to ask in lieu of repairs, you and your real estate agent should get multiple bids from contractors for all of the issues identified in your report.  Bids can vary wildly, so multiple bids from contractors trusted by your real estate agent can help you best prepare for this process.  Also, be wary of any contractors that try to alarm you – especially when they are proposing very expensive repairs.  Unscrupulous contractors can take advantage of an already stressful time by pushing unnecessary repairs.  Multiple bids will help mitigate this problem as well.

If the guidelines above are followed, a re-inspection by a home inspector may not be necessary. Having repairs funded rather than completed prior to the completion of the sale will give you more control over the quality of the repair and will give you additional safeguards and protections.  Owning a home is a big responsibility, so this is an opportunity to hit the ground running while addressing issues uncovered in your home inspection.

Negotiating repairs and making sure the home is fixed properly can be a contentious process. As unbiased home inspectors, we are in the unique position of having no financial incentive in the outcome of the re-inspection results. We don’t work on commission and we don’t have any financial interest in the outcome of the sale, so we can give you unbiased information that will help you decide how best to proceed.  As a mission driven nonprofit home inspection company, we are dedicated to making sure you are able to make safe, financially sound and environmentally friendly housing decisions.

Procedures for a Re-Inspection:

  • If a re-inspection is requested, please email the original inspector with a requested time frame and a detailed list of the repairs. This is very important, because we need to know what defects are scheduled to be repaired. We cannot schedule a re-inspection without this information.
  • Give your inspector time to schedule a re-inspection. Re-inspections time frames are negotiable, so it important to give yourself and your inspector enough time to properly schedule a re-inspection.  Again, do not be pressured into accepting a two-day re-inspection period.
  • A re-inspection on average will take an hour depending on the number of defects and repairs that need to be inspected. The more problems that we requested for repair the longer the process may take.
  • Re-inspections are $195 per hour with a one hour minimum. All re-inspections that are paid for by a third party (i.e. the seller or other party), must be paid for prior to the re-inspection. We do not, under any circumstance, bill third parties for re-inspection fees or late cancellation fees. If the fees have not been paid by the time of the re-inspection, the buyer should pay the fees and get reimbursed by the seller or other third party.