What is a home inspection and why do you need one? Your questions will all be answered in this home inspections guide.
A house inspection examines and reports on the condition of a real estate property, which is commonly done while it is for sale.
A skilled home inspector examines the property’s heating and cooling systems, plumbing, electrical work, water, and sewage systems, as well as some fire and safety concerns. In addition, the house inspector will look for signs of bug, water, or fire damage, as well as any other problem that could lower the property’s value.
What Happens During Home Inspections?
Home inspectors are frequently hired by potential home buyers to examine the property and provide a written report that explains its state, including an assessment of any necessary or required repairs, maintenance concerns, and any other potentially costly issues. The physical structure of the home, from the foundation to the roof, as well as the home’s systems, will be evaluated by the home inspector. This inspection will evaluate whether or not the house is up to code.
The Truth About Home Inspections
Home inspections can reveal a lot about a freshly built home or an existing property, saving buyers time and money. Meanwhile, having a property inspected before putting it on the market might provide sellers the opportunity to make structural repairs or upgrade and replace systems, thereby increasing the possibility of a sale. A home inspection is usually performed after a buyer and seller have signed a sales contract or purchase agreement.
As a result, it’s critical that the contract include an inspection contingency (“due diligence”), which gives the buyer time to find an inspector, schedule and attend an inspection, receive the inspector’s report, and decide how to proceed based on the information provided. A buyer may decide to proceed with the sale, schedule additional inspections, renegotiate the sale price with the homeowner, request that certain repairs be made, or cancel the contract based on the report’s assessment, which can include everything from material defects that negatively impact a home’s value to minor cosmetic defects.
If the buyer requires extensive repairs, they may also seek a re-inspection by the original inspector to ensure that the initial issue has been resolved.
Home Appraisals vs. Home Inspections
A home inspection focuses on the current condition of the home and is not to be confused with a home appraisal, which defines the property’s value. Both are important steps in the process of selling a home, but they are carried out for different reasons.
The buyer arranges for a home inspection and can then attend to learn about the condition and safety of the house and its systems. When a buyer needs a mortgage to buy a home, a lender will require and schedule an appraisal conducted by a certified or licensed appraiser.
An appraisal, unlike a home inspection, can affect the amount that can be borrowed and is typically performed behind closed doors without the buyer’s presence. The appraiser uses several valuation methods, such as comparable home prices, the size and quality of the home, lot size, and more, whereas a home inspector only evaluates the condition of the home.
What are Home Inspectors Looking For?
Checklist for home inspections
- Exterior siding
- Garages and/or carports
- Exterior doors
- Drainage, grading, plants, and retaining walls
- Wallcoverings, flashing and trim
- Driveways, patios, and walkways
- Balconies, decks, steps, porches, and railings
- Eaves, fascias, and soffits (if visible)
- Roof (including chimneys and other roof penetrations like skylights)
- Downspouts and gutters
- Crawl space
- Sump pump
- Above floor
- Soffit vents
- End louvers
- Insulation and ventilation
- Electrical splices
- Exhaust ducts
- Visible plumbing under the sink
- Exhaust fan vents
- Shut-off valves
- Built-in appliances
- Visible plumbing under the sink
- Any and all fixtures
- Shower caulking
- Exhaust fan
- Interior rooms
- Doors and windows
- Garage doors and operators
- Installed kitchen appliances
- Walls, floors, and ceilings
- Cabinets and countertops
- Fuel-burning fireplace and stoves
- Water heater
- Fixtures and faucets
- Sump pumps
- Sewage ejectors
- Drain, vent, and waste systems
- Service equipment, drops, grounding, and main disconnects
- Service cables, entrance conductors, and raceways
- Light fixtures, receptacles, and power switches
- Overcurrent protection devices
- Circuit interrupters
- HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning), including thermostats, vents, distribution systems, access panels, insulation, and vapor retarders
- Water heater
- Air conditioning
A professional home inspections checklist typically does not include the following items:
- Rodents infestation
- Termites and carpenter ants are examples of pests.
- Radon is an example of an airborne hazard.
- Electrical systems with low wattage (alarm systems and phone lines)
- Areas that are difficult to access
Some home inspectors provide additional services, such as mold and carbon dioxide testing, but expect to pay a premium for these specialized tests.
Home inspections are a time-consuming process that provides detailed information about the quality and safety of the property you’ve agreed to purchase. It’s important to remember that the results of an inspection should not be the only factor in deciding whether or not to buy a home, and you should expect some issues to be addressed regardless.
Finally, the time and effort you put into organizing the inspection will pay off by assisting you in making the best decision possible. Contact your real estate agent or conduct your own research to find someone who is highly knowledgeable, preferably certified.