What To Expect During a Home Inspection
Home inspections are one of the best opportunities for homebuyers to see what’s happening in a home. Generally, a home inspection occurs after you have made an offer on the home. Most offers, which are legally binding agreements, will place a stipulation in the contract that allows for a home inspection to be done. This is a critical time to find out the details of this home.
Finding a Home Inspection Professional
Inspectors should be fully licensed in your area. There are various ways to find them, including just talking to your real estate agent for a recommendation. Other times, your mortgage lender will make recommendations for you. They want to ensure the home is in good condition using a professional they know will provide clear and accurate information. In all cases, your goal is to find someone that’s working just for you in this transaction.
When speaking to an inspector, learn:
- What is done during the inspection
- What’s not done, that needs further inspection
- How long it will take
- The costs associated with the service (this generally ranges from $300 to $500 though can be higher in some areas)
- When it can be scheduled
- What Happens on the Day of the Inspection?
Once the day of the inspection occurs, you should be at the property with your inspector. Sometimes real estate agents attend as well, but that’s not always necessary. What is important is that you walk through the home with the inspector and learn about the property as you do. A vital component of the work inspectors do is to educate you on not just the problems with the home but potential needs you’ll have over the coming months and years. Hearing and seeing what the inspector finds is critical.
Here’s a home inspection checklist.
Your inspector should give you a formal report that outlines everything that was included in the inspection as well. These are some of the key things he or she will talk to you about during the inspection. Many inspectors go further to provide more detail, especially if you have specific concerns.
Is the roof in good condition? When will you have to replace it? It is also a good idea for your inspector to walk over the roof to look for potential concerns.
The inspector will look at the gutters to notice any signs of damage or needs for repairs. This includes the downspouts.
While outside, the inspector will walk around the home to see if there are any possible signs of damage or other concerns associated with the foundation. This includes cracks or crumbling. Later, as you walk through the home, he’ll also look for other signs of foundation settling, such as uneven walls and ceilings.
Lot and Grading
It is also essential for your inspector to look at the entire lot. He or she will point out any concerns, such as whether or not there is good grading on the property to ensure the water flows away from the home. Also, they will look for any signs of concerns with the plumbing, potential asbestos or lead paint, and any other concerns with the siding or exterior area of the windows.
Throughout the interior walkthrough, the home inspector will focus on the plumbing. Are there leaks? Are there concerns with fittings? Are there drain problems that are evident?
Sometimes older homes should have a formal electrical inspection, but a home inspector will still work through the property to look for signs of concerns. They will look at whether outlets are grounded properly, the age and updates to the electrical panel, and any other concerns with electrical systems. There may be a need to upgrade, for example, to accommodate modern appliances.
If there are appliances that remain in the home, your home inspector can take a look at them. Their goal is to determine if the work, their age, and when they may need to be replaced. This includes your home’s heating and cooling system and any evidence of ventilation. It should also include any stoves, refrigerators, and other systems. Your water heater should also be inspected by these professionals.
Attics provide a good deal of information about what is happening in and around the home. It is also an excellent way to tell if there are any structural roof problems such as leaks. This is also an important place to look for mold problems.
Often, basements tell the story of the home. If there are odors here, it could mean there are potential leaks present. They will also look at the condition of the foundation, any dampness present, and whether the basement has proper ventilation and insulation.
Another essential part of the work a home inspector will do is to look at anything disclosed on the seller’s contract with you. These are problems the seller is admitting are present. Be sure to get a full understanding of what these are, the cost to repair them, and any type of concerns the inspector has about them.
Keep in mind that home inspectors cannot find every problem with the home. Their goal is to give you a good overview of the condition of the property, but they can’t look behind walls or see problems with systems not in operation. It’s best to use this, along with your real estate agent, to guide your buying decisions.