What Should Be Covered In A Home Inspection?
Purchasing and selling a house can be a roller coaster of ups and downs, pressures, and rewards – including the home inspection. A home inspection provides the comprehensive visual examination of a home or building done by a licensed, professionally trained inspector at a specified time when a sale is being discussed.
A home inspection is the buyer's final chance to uncover issues with the house before making a deal. And it's an opportunity for the seller to rectify those issues and bargain with the buyer on pricing. In this article, we'll dig into what a home inspection can reveal and whether home inspection services are worth the investment or not.
What does a Home Inspector do?
Typically, homebuyers employ professional home inspectors to discover any issues with a new property before closing the deal. As a seller, evaluating the condition of your home and making required repairs before listing it can increase its value and minimize settlement delays.
While the checklist for a professional home inspection may vary, home inspectors are concerned with the physical components and systems of a property – both inside and out. Knowing what your inspection covers (and what it does not) can assist you in determining your next actions.
The inspector will do a comprehensive check of the house, noting any concerns that the buyer may wish to negotiate with the seller to resolve—as well as any disastrous flaws that may cause the buyer to reconsider the purchase.
Following the assessment, the home inspector will deliver a report that contains a checklist of the house's primary characteristics, a brief statement about each major living space, and notes and pictures documenting any problems.
The things that the home inspector notes down are:
- Whether each issue is a safety concern, a severe flaw, or a minor flaw
- Which components require replacement and which may be fixed or serviced
- Items that are appropriate for the time being but should be monitored closely
What Does a Home Inspector Look For?
Hiring a home inspector is a critical step in the home-buying or home-selling process. An inspector will perform the pre-sell inspection on the property for any defects and will discover any concerns that might jeopardize the continuance or negotiation of the sale in progress.
The home inspector looks for problems such as foundation issues, leaking roofs, and electrical problems, and many others, that may quickly transform your ideal house into a nightmare if left unaddressed. These are the most important areas that should be covered in almost every home inspection.
Interior Inspection Of The Home
While the interior home is inspected, make sure to inspect the structure thoroughly for indications of wear and tear. This includes stains, wall/ceiling fissures, and general upkeep. A professional home inspector will perform a thorough inspection of all the rooms by ascending to attics and crawl spaces. Even closets must be inspected!
Exterior Inspection Of The Home
You'll check everything on the exterior of the house during an exterior home inspection. This involves inspecting the grounds, the roof's integrity (gutters, chimneys, etc.), and any additional external component such as garages, fences, or decks. These inspections might be challenging since the weather can restrict your ability to conduct a comprehensive check.
Inspection Of Home Foundation
Each house is built on a strong concrete, brick, or stone foundation. Even the toughest concrete can be subject to wear and tear over time. Home inspectors visit crawlspaces and basements on a fairly frequent basis to evaluate the foundation. You'll need to inspect the foundation, which includes load-bearing components, wall, and floor structure. The new construction inspection helps in determining if the foundation would last long or not.
Inspection Of Plumbing System
Additionally, home inspectors examine the condition of the plumbing system of the building. During plumbing inspection, you'll need to consider all fixtures and faucets, as well as the operation of toilets, sump pumps, and vent systems. Determine in advance whether the residence is on a septic system or is linked to a municipal sewer. Additionally, the water heater and well system also need to be inspected. An inaccessible pipe in any corner of your house may conceal a leak. Keep an eye out for evidence of water damage in the areas surrounding the walls, ceiling, and floors.
Electrical issues can result in excessive energy costs and increase the chances of a fire in houses. Electrical inspections performed as part of a home inspection uncover possible fire dangers within the structure. Each electrical outlet, service grounding, and the quality of light fixtures, panels, and switches must be inspected. You may wish to keep a few spare light bulbs on hand in case any light sockets are empty.
Inspection Of HVAC System
If the property has an HVAC system, you'll want to investigate the thermostats, distribution systems, and chimneys. Home inspectors have ATI Training which teaches them how to properly inspect all types of HVAC systems. However, the state in which you are operating will dictate the type of HVAC system you check. Northern states may heat their homes with electricity, gas, oil, or wood. But a professional home inspector has all the required inspection knowledge and training to cover the specific things you need to know about different types of heat and cooling systems.
Inspection of Chimneys And Roofs
The condition of the shingles or other roof coverings is one of the first things that you need to notice. Moisture-soaked or rotting parts beneath the shingles are likely to generate repair requests. Certain states need an additional roof check. Ascertain that the flashing surrounding the chimney's base is waterproof and that the mortar and bricks are in good condition. Inspect the fireplace to ensure good operation.
Inspection Of Pest Infestation
Nothing will drive some homebuyers to flee quite like a pest problem, particularly termites. If left untreated, termites and other wood-eating insects can cause substantial structural damage. That’s why make sure that the home inspector is qualified to detect termite activity. However, as a buyer, you must choose to do a second termite inspection with a pest management firm for added peace of mind.
Is It Worth It?
The cost of hiring a home inspector varies significantly according to the size of the property and the region; the range is around $300-500. Of course, this figure can increase significantly if the findings of the general inspection prompt the summoning of more specialist inspectors. Inquire ahead of time about an inspector's fee structure.
- A home inspection is not the only factor to consider when purchasing a property.
Perhaps you're willing to make some repairs to the house that has these issues.
The inspection will assist you in determining the precise number of inspections required.
- It is never free of problems. An inspection will always uncover a flaw in a home.
Even new house builds will encounter small problems.
- It is not about completing all necessary repairs. No vendor will take care of everything for you.
They may negotiate on some of them, but expecting them to resolve all of them is unrealistic.
Things That Not Get Covered During Home Inspection
A home inspection does not reveal everything that could be wrong with a house; it only looks for visual indicators of potential problems. For instance, if the home's doors do not shut correctly or the floors are tilted, the foundation may contain a crack; but, if the crack cannot be seen without removing all of the house's flooring, a home inspector cannot confirm its presence.
Among the things that inspectors will not examine are the following:
- Within walls (will not damage drywall or insulation)
- Within the walls of pipelines or sewage lines
- Within chimneys
- Behind electrical panels
What To Do After Inspection?
Once the results of your home inspection are ready, you have various options:
- If the faults are deemed to be too serious or costly to repair,
you may withdraw from the purchase contract as long as the purchase contract contains an inspection contingency.
- For minor or major issues, you can request that the seller repair them, decrease the purchase price,
or provide you with a cash credit at closing to repair the issues yourself.
This is where a home inspection may more than pay for itself.
- If none of these alternatives are feasible in your circumstances,
you can obtain quotes for repairs and create a prioritized list of repairs after you buy the property.
It's critical to understand that a house inspection cannot uncover every conceivable issue. It is not a guarantee that items will not break down in the future, but some businesses do provide optional warranty protection. Generally, house inspectors check only visible places and things; they cannot see through the foundation, flooring, or walls. According to the Home Inspection Network, “Unlike what you may have seen on TV, an inspector cannot knock down a wall to see what is inside it!”
A home inspection, on the other hand, is an invaluable tool for determining the costs, repairs, and maintenance that the home may require immediately and over time. By hiring a home inspector to conduct an independent assessment, you can ensure that you are buying the property with full confidence.