Are you planning to buy or sell a home? If so, you should know that a home inspection is one of the most important steps in the process.
A home inspection is a thorough examination of the physical condition and safety of a property by a qualified professional. It can reveal any hidden issues or defects that may affect the value, functionality, or livability of the home.
A home inspection can benefit both buyers and sellers in many ways. For buyers, it can help them make an informed decision, negotiate a fair price, and avoid costly surprises. For sellers, it can help them prepare their home for sale, disclose any problems, and avoid legal disputes.
In this article, you will learn everything you need to know about a home inspection, including:
- Key takeaways:
- A home inspection is a comprehensive evaluation of the physical condition and safety of a property by a qualified professional.
- A home inspection can benefit both buyers and sellers by revealing any hidden issues or defects that may affect the value, functionality, or livability of the home.
- A home inspection checklist is a list of the main components and items that are inspected during a home inspection, based on the ASHI Standard of Practice.
- A home inspection checklist can help buyers and sellers prepare for and benefit from a home inspection by knowing what to expect and what to inspect.
What to Expect from a Home Inspection
A home inspection is usually conducted after an offer is accepted, but before the closing date. The buyer is responsible for hiring and paying for the home inspector, but the seller should also cooperate and provide access to all areas of the home.
The home inspector will perform a visual and non-invasive examination of the property, using various tools and equipment.
The inspector will check the structural system, exterior, roof, plumbing, electrical, heating and cooling, interior, insulation and ventilation, and fireplaces. The inspector will also look for any signs of damage, deterioration, malfunction, or safety hazards.
The inspector will not test or evaluate anything that is not visible or accessible, such as underground pipes, wells, septic systems, etc. The inspector will also not comment on the cosmetic aspects of the home, such as paint color, flooring material, etc.
The inspector will provide a written report that summarizes the findings and recommendations. The report will include photos and diagrams to illustrate the points. The report will also indicate whether each item on the checklist is satisfactory, marginal, or defective.
The buyer should attend the inspection and ask any questions or concerns they may have. The buyer should also review the report carefully and understand what it means. The buyer can use the report to negotiate with the seller on any repairs or credits based on the findings.
The seller should also review the report and be prepared to negotiate with the buyer on any repairs or credits based on the findings. The seller should also disclose any known issues or defects that were not detected by the inspector.
A home inspection is different from an appraisal. An appraisal is an estimate of the market value of a property by a licensed appraiser. An appraisal is required by lenders to determine how much they are willing to lend to the buyer. An appraisal does not evaluate the condition or quality of the home.
Some optional or additional inspections that may be required or recommended depending on the type, age, and location of the home are:
- Radon: Radon is a radioactive gas that can cause lung cancer. Radon testing measures the level of radon in the air inside the home.
- Mold: Mold is a fungus that can grow in damp or humid areas. Mold testing identifies the type and amount of mold in the home.
- Asbestos: Asbestos is a mineral fiber that was used in building materials until the 1970s. Asbestos testing determines if asbestos is present in the home and if it poses a health risk.
- Lead paint: Lead paint is a paint that contains lead, which can cause brain damage and other health problems. Lead paint testing detects if lead paint is present in the home and if it needs to be removed or contained.
- Termite: Termite is an insect that feeds on wood and can cause structural damage. Termite inspection checks for signs of termite infestation and damage in the home.
- Sewer scope: Sewer scope is a video inspection of the sewer line that connects the home to the public sewer system. Sewer scope inspection identifies any blockages, cracks, leaks, or other problems in the sewer line.
- Well and septic: Well and septic are alternative sources of water supply and waste disposal for homes that are not connected to public utilities. Well testing evaluates the quality and quantity of water from the well. Septic testing assesses the condition and functionality of the septic system.
How to Prepare for a Home Inspection
A home inspection can be a stressful and nerve-wracking experience for both buyers and sellers. However, there are some tips and advice that can help them get ready for and benefit from a home inspection.
- Do your own research and have a list of questions or concerns for the inspector. You can use the home inspection checklist as a guide to know what to look for and what to ask.
- Attend the inspection and ask follow-up questions. You can also take notes and photos to help you remember the details.
- Review the inspection report carefully and understand what it means. You can also ask the inspector to explain anything that is unclear or confusing.
- Negotiate with the seller on any repairs or credits based on the findings. You can also consult with your real estate agent, lawyer, or contractor to help you with the negotiation process.
|Component||Description||Examples of Issues or Defects|
|Structural system||The structural system includes the foundation, floor structure, wall structure, ceiling structure, and roof structure. The inspector will check for any signs of damage, deterioration, movement, or instability in the structural system.||Cracks or damage in the foundation or walls; sagging or uneven floors; bowed or leaning walls; cracked or damaged ceilings; damaged or missing roof trusses.|
|Exterior||The exterior includes the wall covering, flashing, trim, doors, windows, decks, balconies, stoops, steps, porches, railings, eaves, soffits, fascias, vegetation, grading, drainage, driveways, walkways, and retaining walls. The inspector will check for any signs of damage, deterioration, malfunction, or safety hazards in the exterior.||Peeling paint or rotting wood on the exterior siding or trim; missing or damaged flashing around doors and windows; cracked or broken glass in windows; loose or missing railings on decks or porches; poor drainage around the foundation; cracks or unevenness in driveways or walkways; leaning or collapsing retaining walls.|
|Roof||The roof includes the roof covering, drainage systems, flashings, skylights, chimneys, and roof penetrations. The inspector will check for any signs of damage, deterioration, leakage, or improper installation in the roof.||Missing or damaged shingles, tiles, or slates; missing or damaged flashing around chimneys, skylights, or vents; rusted or clogged gutters or downspouts; leaks or stains on ceilings or walls; cracked or deteriorated chimney crowns or caps.|
|Plumbing||The plumbing includes the water supply and distribution systems, fixtures and faucets, drains, waste and vent systems, water heating equipment, fuel storage and distribution systems, sump pumps. The inspector will check for any signs of leaks, corrosion, clogs, or malfunction in the plumbing.||Leaks or corrosion in the pipes or fixtures; low water pressure or flow; dripping faucets; slow drains; defective shut-off valves; rusted or leaking water heater; improper venting of water heater or appliances; faulty sump pump.|
For each item on the checklist, the inspector will indicate whether it is:
- Satisfactory: The item is functioning as intended and does not require repair or replacement.
- Marginal: The item is functioning but may need repair or replacement in the near future.
- Defective: The item is not functioning as intended and requires immediate repair or replacement.
You can use this checklist to do your own inspection or to verify the inspector’s findings. However, you should not rely on this checklist alone, as it may not cover all the aspects or issues of your home.
You should also consult with a qualified professional home inspector who has the experience, knowledge, and tools to perform a comprehensive and accurate inspection.
Here are some frequently asked questions about home inspections based on people also ask section from my web search, such as:
- How long does a home inspection take?
- A typical home inspection takes about 2 to 4 hours depending on the size and condition of the home.
- How much does a home inspection cost?
- The average cost of a home inspection ranges from $300 to $500 depending on the location, size, and age of the home.
- What are some red flags to look for in a home inspection?
- Some red flags to look for in a home inspection are structural issues, water damage, mold, pest infestation, electrical hazards, plumbing problems, and HVAC issues.
- Can you back out of a home purchase after a home inspection?
- You can back out of a home purchase after a home inspection if the inspection reveals major issues that the seller is unwilling or unable to fix, or if the contract has a contingency clause that allows you to do so.
I hope this article helps you understand what a home inspection is and how to prepare for it. For more information or guidance, you can check out these additional resources: