Just about every home inspection starts the same for me. I get on site fifteen or so minutes early and take a few minutes to myself to gather my thoughts. This particular inspection started out no different. I pulled up to the site, put my truck in park, and shut off the engine. The sun was out and the temperature was in the 50s. I remember being genuinely excited about walking a roof in the warm sunshine. For me, walking a roof on a warm, sunny day beats sitting at a desk any day. I was almost full zen when I felt my phone buzz.
I looked down and saw it was my client. She knew I was scheduled to start in a few minutes, so I figured she just wanted to check in and make sure everything was on track. I picked up my phone, swiped to answer, and started, “This is Ste…”
She was asking questions a million miles an hour. Every question she asked led her to her next question. “What if the electric is bad?”, “What if there’s mold?”, “What does water damage look like?”, “What if there’s water damage on the deck and the deck falls off the house?”
“Woah, woah, woah.” I said. “Take a second and just breathe.” She paused. I jumped in and started explaining my game plan; I told her exactly what I would be doing. I told her about the report I’d prepare for her. I’d have pictures and notes and everything. We’d just have to see what I found during the actual inspection.
In this case, there wasn’t much I could do to make everything better right away. She’s relocating from out of town, so she’s not even in the same state. The move needs to happen soon, so she’s short on time. She really likes this house, and she’s worried it won’t work out.
This is all perfectly normal. Well, to me anyway. I am in and out of dozens of houses just like this one every month. I’ve seen new houses have problems, I’ve seen old houses in great condition. You may see a great exterior and a destroyed interior or vice versa. There’s no way to tell without rolling your figurative (sometimes literal) sleeves up and getting in there.
I asked her to trust me, and I said, “Here’s the deal. I promise you I’ll give you my best. If there is a problem, you want to know about it now. You don’t want to buy a house that you can’t resell later on, or worse, buy a house that turns out to be unsafe for you and your family.”
I answered a few more questions, and we chatted for few more minutes. She double checked I was at the right address and that I had her agent’s contact info. Of course I was, and of course I did. I told her I’d let her know when I was finished with the inspection and when she could expect my report. From there we could set a time to review and discuss everything.
I hung up the phone and looked at the clock. I still had a few minutes. “Just breathe.” I said softly. That’s still some of the best advice I’d been given, and I pass it on any chance I get. I looked out the window. Now…how about that walk in the sunshine.