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How to Prepare for a Home Inspection: An Interview with Eric Loeffler of E&S Inspection

By Eric Loeffler

Please tell us a little bit about your company and the services you offer.

My name is Eric Loeffler, and I am the owner and lead inspector for E&S Inspection (www.esinspection.com). I am highly skilled in buyer's inspections, seller's inspections (also known as pre-listing inspections), warranty inspections, new construction inspections, as well as pool and spa inspections. I perform a detailed, non-invasive visual inspection designed to identify material defects in structures, household components, and systems as they exist at the time of the inspection. I provide a 30 plus page report with digital photos, posted online for easy retrieval. The inspection focuses on conditions that affect a home's value, desirability, habitability, and safety.

The vast majority of my inspections fall into the categories of a buyer's inspection or seller's (pre-listing) home inspection. A buyer's inspection is initiated by the home buyer, usually as a contingency to the final close of a real estate sale. These types of inspections are designed to assure that there are no hidden surprises for the purchaser. A seller's inspection is initiated by the property owner usually prior to listing the property. It helps the seller to determine what systems and structures of the property need repair. More importantly, it helps the seller and the seller's agent to accurately represent the home by disclosing damage or other property information to prospective buyers (which further helps to curb lawsuits). Damage discovered as a result of a seller's inspection can either be repaired by the seller (to maintain market value) or used as a negotiating tool by both seller and buyer.

I have nearly 20 years of construction experience as a carpenter in both residential and commercial projects. I have direct experience in all phases of building from foundation to finish. I've completed the industry's leading master course for home inspectors from AHIT, and remain current in the latest home inspection technologies and tools available. My reports are not only thorough, I also spend time with clients during the initial inspection and in the days following to explain my findings in a manner that is easy to understand.

What are a few key steps a potential buyer should take after hiring a home inspector, before the inspection takes place?

Before an inspection takes place, the buyer should ensure he or she (or the real estate agent) is in close communication with the seller's agent to agree on and confirm an appointment time, particularly if the property is owner-occupied. If the current homeowners have pets, they should be relocated to a secure location to allow the inspector access to the property. If the home is not owner occupied, then the pre-inspection steps are to confirm whether the house has electricity, gas and water turned on so each of these systems can be tested and evaluated during the inspection.

Do you have any tips on coordinating the time/day with both the seller and inspector?

Typically, communications with the seller happen via the seller's real estate agent to ensure that the arranged inspection appointment is mutually agreed and convenient for all parties. Most sellers are not present during a buyer's inspection; they are occasionally represented by their real estate agent.

What advice do you have about attending the home inspection?

It is ultimately the client's discretion whether they would like to be present during the inspection, but I always encourage my clients to do so. The rationale is that this is your opportunity to have the inspector walk through the findings, thoroughly explain them, answer questions, propose next steps, and offer remedies to simple issues, where possible. It's also a lot easier to have a quick conversation that helps the buyer understand and distinguish between major issues versus "FYI only" findings, such as drainage issues due to incorrect foundation sloping versus a crack in the sidewalk. The detailed report that an inspector will typically deliver within 24-48 hours of inspection is an important document that contains very detailed information pertaining to the property, and it's a document that may serve as a good reference guide for repair or future maintenance of the home.

Is there any paperwork that the buyer should bring to the inspection?

There is no paperwork required for the buyer to bring to the inspection. In a seller's pre-listing inspection it may be advantageous to have on hand documentation associated with any recent upgrades to major equipment, new construction/remodeling plans and permits.

What are some of the top questions that you wish buyers would ask you before or during a home inspection?

The question that I love to answer is, "What criteria should I use to evaluate and select a home inspector?" And I always tell prospective clients the same thing: Not all home inspectors are the same! This is a competitive field and that works to the client's advantage. Make sure you choose a home inspector who is experienced, knowledgeable and personable. Certification requirements differ from state to state (California has no state requirements ) so confirming that the inspector you hire currently meets your state's requirements is very important.

I personally believe that there is a inherent advantage to hiring an inspector who has worked directly in the building and home construction trade. This transaction is likely one of the largest you will undertake, and it is important you research and hire the inspector you feel will deliver the highest quality report and thoroughly review with you all aspects of their findings, including helping to distinguish between large and small findings. You want an experienced, knowledgeable inspector who can clearly and succinctly report their findings to you on the day of inspection and in a written report.

What's the best way for people to contact you and your company?

I'm happy to engage with prospective clients in their preferred manner of communication: via phone/text at (858) 395-4191; email: esinspection@yahoo.com.

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