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Insider’s Guide: What to Expect When Hiring Home Inspection Services in Los Angeles

If you’re in the process of buying a home in Los Angeles, hiring a professional home inspector is one of the most important steps you’ll take. A thorough home inspection helps protect your investment and ensures you’re aware of any issues with the property before you finalize the purchase.

But if you’ve never hired Home Inspection Companies Los Angeles before, you may be wondering:

  • How exactly does the home inspection process work?
  • What will the inspector look for during the inspection?
  • What should I expect to see in the inspection report?
  • How much does a home inspection cost in the LA area?

Don’t worry! In this insider’s guide, we’ll walk through everything you need to know about what to expect when hiring home inspection services in LA.

Overview of the Home Inspection Process

Before we get into the specifics, let’s look at the basic process of getting a home inspection:

Step 1: Choose an Inspector

  • Search for licensed home inspectors with experience in your area. Look at online reviews.
  • Interview 2-3 inspectors over the phone or in person. Ask about their experience, certifications, inspection process, reporting style, costs, etc.
  • Hire the one you feel most comfortable with and that meets your criteria.

Step 2: Schedule the Inspection

  • The inspection is usually scheduled as soon as possible after the home purchase contract is signed.
  • Inspections take 2-3 hours on average for a typical single-family home.
  • You don’t need to be present, but many clients choose to join.

Step 3: The Inspection

  • The inspector visually examines the interior and exterior of the home, from the roof to the foundation.
  • They use tools like moisture meters, outlet testers, infrared cameras, etc. to identify issues.
  • Inspectors take copious notes and photographs documenting their findings.

Step 4: Get the Report

  • A comprehensive written report with photos is provided, identifying any defects or areas of concern.
  • Minor issues may be mentioned for your information but won’t make or break a deal.
  • Major issues that require repairs may be grounds to re-negotiate with the seller.

Step 5: Review Your Options

  • Carefully go through the inspection report and determine any deal-breakers.
  • Request the seller make necessary repairs or get cost estimates.
  • You can waive small issues or ask for a price reduction equal to the repair costs.
  • If major expensive issues arise, you can cancel the contract altogether.

Now let’s get into more detail on what to expect during each stage…

Choosing the Right Home Inspector

The first step is finding qualified Los Angeles home inspectors to interview. Here are some tips:

Verify inspector credentials and licenses. In California, home inspectors should be licensed by the California Real Estate Inspection Association (CREIA) or affiliated with the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) or the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI). This ensures they have adequate training and carry liability insurance.

Look for experience. Find inspectors who have been working in the field for 5+ years and have done 500+ inspections in your area. They’ll be familiar with local homes and codes. Ask about their experience with homes of similar age, design, and construction to yours.

Read online reviews. Check Google, Yelp, and Facebook for feedback from past clients on things like thoroughness, reporting, responsiveness, cost, and overall service. Look for inspectors with consistently positive reviews.

Ask about certifications. Some inspectors have certifications in specialized areas like mold, lead paint, or pool inspections, in addition to the general home inspector license. Consider any specific certifications that may be useful for your home purchase.

Interview multiple options. Have intro calls with 2-3 inspectors before deciding. Ask them to explain their inspection process and reporting style. Make sure you feel comfortable with their expertise and customer service.

Compare costs. Pricing can range quite a bit between inspectors. Balance cost with experience and reputation when making a decision.

Take the time upfront to carefully pick your home inspector – it makes a big difference in giving you a complete understanding of the home you’re about to purchase.

Scheduling the Home Inspection

Once you have an offer accepted on a home, contact your chosen inspector immediately to schedule the inspection. Try to have it completed as soon as possible so you can back out of the deal early if any major issues arise.

Allow enough time. Schedule the inspection with a buffer so you can review the full report before the contractual deadlines for repairs, negotiations, or contract termination.

Plan for 2-3 hours. The inspector will spend this much time thoroughly examining the property inside and out. If it’s a larger home, additional time may be needed.

Decide whether to attend. The buyer typically doesn’t need to be there, but many make it a point to attend. This allows you to ask the inspector questions and better understand issues onsite.

Don’t bring small kids. Home inspections require focus and full access throughout the home, so leave young children at home if possible.

Inform the seller. Let the selling agent know the inspection date/time so they can inform the sellers. The sellers may prefer to not be home during the inspection.

Note weather conditions. Inspectors can work around most weather, but extremely rainy or cold conditions may reschedule an exterior inspection to ensure proper assessment.

Leaving ample time for the inspection and report will give you the information you need to make an informed decision about any repairs, re-negotiation, or terminating the deal.

What the Inspector Will Look For

During the 2-3 hour home inspection, the inspector will be very busy examining every aspect of the home’s condition inside and out. Here are some of the main systems and areas they’ll evaluate:

Roof: Age, roofing material, gutter system, visible flashing, chimneys, skylights, and any indications of water leakage or damage.

Exterior: Siding, brick and stone work, decks/patios, eaves, paint, foundation walls, windows/doors, and drainage.

Structure: Foundation, floors, walls, ceilings, attics, insulation, vents, and stains indicating any structural issues.

Plumbing: Supply/drain pipes, water pressure, water heater, fixtures, sump pump, irrigation systems, and signs of leaks.

Electrical: Main service panel, wiring, circuit breakers, outlets, lights, operation of GFCIs, and smoke/carbon monoxide detectors.

Heating/cooling: Age, type, and capacity of HVAC systems, distribution, thermostats, vents, filters, ducts, and any damage.

Internal components: Doors, windows, walls, ceilings, floors, railings, fireplace, steps, and overall finishes.

Appliances: Basic operation, ventilation, and signs of defects in any appliances remaining with the home.

Overall safety: Checks for anything that poses a potential hazard like fire risks, mold, lead paint, or exposed wiring.

Pest/wood damage: Evidence of termites, carpenter ants, rodents, or wood rot. Many clients choose an additional specialized pest inspection.

This covers the top areas your inspector will examine to determine the current condition and identify any potential problems with the home.

What to Expect in the Inspection Report

Once the physical inspection is complete, the real benefit comes from the detailed inspection report you’ll receive as a buyer. Here’s an overview of what the report contains:

Summary page: Overview of inspection findings including any issues that require immediate attention or further evaluation.

Comprehensive write-ups: For each area and system, meticulous notes on what was inspected, how it’s performing, any defects noted, repair recommendations, and remaining useful life estimates.

Itemized list of defects: Summary list of any issues identified and whether they are minor, major, or require further professional assessment.

Rich visual evidence: Multiple high-resolution photos documenting issues and areas inspected (often 100-200+ photos).

Recommended repairs and cost estimates: Suggested fixes for defects along with the inspector’s assessment of the likely repair costs, which informs negotiation.

Pending items: Any areas the inspector recommends getting a second opinion on from electricians, roofers, plumbers, etc.

Safety issues: Clear call-outs on anything representing an immediate safety hazard.

Easy-to-understand language: A good inspector presents findings in clear, accessible language – not overly technical.

PDF format: The report is provided as a PDF document for easy review and sharing digitally.

The inspection report becomes your guide to evaluating the true condition of the home and identifying any repairs needed before purchase.

What Gets Inspected vs. What Doesn’t?

While home inspectors look at everything visible, there are limitations on what falls outside the standard inspection:

What’s included

  • Structure, construction, systems, components as outlined above
  • Basic operation of built-in appliances
  • Tests of outlet wiring, ventilation, water pressure, etc.
  • Checking for water intrusion indications
  • Visually assessing for mold, termites, rodents, rot

What’s not included

  • Invasive testing into walls, floors, etc.
  • Assessing absolutely every outlet, pipe run, window, etc. in granular detail
  • Evaluating cosmetic issues like minor cracks, stains, etc.
  • Testing/assessing for radon, asbestos, lead, etc.
  • Appraising value or assessing energy efficiency
  • Evaluating site conditions like zoning, easements, security
  • Specialized inspections like seismic evaluation

Be aware that a standard home inspection is not exhaustive to that level of detail. Additional specialized inspections can be ordered for things like pests, mold, pools, earthquake risk, etc. if those apply.

Average Costs for Los Angeles Home Inspections

On average, home inspection costs in the LA area typically range from $300-$500+ depending on the size and age of the home. Here are some factors that influence the overall costs:

  • Square footage – Larger homes take more time and cost more to inspect.
  • Age of home – Older homes may require more scrutiny in inspection.
  • Optional add-ons – Additional fees for things like checking for mold, termites, radon, lead, etc.
  • Location/travel fees – Additional fees if the inspector has to drive longer distances.
  • Experience level of inspector – More experienced inspectors often charge slightly higher rates.
  • Level of detail – Some inspectors offer different tiers of inspection detail for different price points.

To get accurate pricing options, meet with inspectors to get quotes tailored to your specific home rather than relying on average costs alone. Also ask what’s included at those prices.

Negotiating Repairs and Pricing Based on the Inspection

Once you have the inspection report in hand, you’ll have objective information to determine whether any repairs are needed and negotiate with the seller appropriately. Here are some tips:

Review the full report closely – Don’t skim; it contains important findings. Make note of any major recommended repairs. Get second opinions if needed.

Determine any deal-breakers – Some serious issues may warrant backing out altogether if repairs aren’t feasible. Don’t feel locked in regardless of findings.

Request seller to make repairs first – Have the seller contract licensed contractors to make fixes before closing, at their own expense. Get documentation on work done.

Negotiate credits or price reductions – For less pressing issues, negotiate a dollar amount credit equal to the estimated repair costs rather than demand the work be completed.

Don’t nitpick small things – Focus negotiations on safety issues, functionality, and costlier repairs. Let minor cosmetic issues go.

Be reasonable – Request a reasonable number of critical repairs but don’t overdo it. Offer the seller appropriate concessions too.

Consult your agent – Your real estate agent can advise you on typical negotiation processes and help represent your repair requests to the seller/seller’s agent appropriately.

With the home inspection findings in hand, you can now move forward with greater confidence and make educated, objective decisions regarding the purchase of your new home!

Finding Reliable Home Inspectors for Peace of Mind

Purchasing a home is likely the biggest investment you’ll ever make. While it’s exciting, it also carries risk if you don’t have complete information about the property’s condition. A home inspection brings peace of mind by equipping you with unbiased insights on any repairs needed before you finalize the purchase.

But not all home inspectors are equal when it comes to experience, thoroughness and reporting detail. Do your homework to find a reliable home inspector who will represent your interests in evaluating your future home. Protect yourself by only using properly licensed inspectors with extensive expertise inspecting homes in your area.

By understanding the home inspection process and standards, checking credentials, interviewing inspectors, and reviewing the detailed report, you can make an informed decision on your home purchase with confidence. Don’t skip this important step!

If buying a home in LA, I hope this insider’s guide better prepares you for what to expect when hiring professional home inspection services. Let me know if you have any other questions!

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