What is a Home Inspection?

home inspector in hard hat

Buying a home can be an intimidating process, but having a comprehensive inspection done can help you make an informed decision and give you peace of mind.

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An inspection is an evaluation of a property or home, typically conducted by a professional inspector, in order to identify any potential problems or issues that may need to be addressed. In this episode, we explore the basics of an inspection process, who conducts them, what types of inspections are available, and how to find an inspector. With this knowledge in hand, you can make the right decision for your situation and ensure your home purchase is a safe and successful one.

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What is the home inspector looking for?

They’re doing a general inspection, so they’re not roofers, electricians, plumbers, so keep that in mind. They’re looking for:

  • Problems with the roofing system
  • Issues with the foundation
  • Malfunctioning or outdated electrical wiring
  • Leaks or water damage
  • Mold or mildew growth
  • Issues with the flooring
  • Plumbing problems
  • Pest infestations

Can you give me an idea of what their process is?

  • They spend 2-3 hours inspecting
  • They will check every outlet, and ensure they all work properly
  • Run every Faucet
  • Check the windows and doors for leaks, proper fit, and wear
  • They will measure the heating and cooling system by actually running them
  • They’ll run the dishwasher, oven, microwave, and stove

As part of the process, do I need to be there?

  • I highly recommend you are there for at least the last hour of the inspection.
  • You can get there early and do your own “inspection” – measure things like rooms or floors in case you are looking to get quotes for things like new flooring or paint.
  • Use the time to make sure your furniture will fit, or was size room so you can purchase furniture that will fit
  • The end of the inspection, the inspector can walk you through the home visually and explain things that you should be aware of and give you tips from their experience.
  • If you can’t make it, that’s fine, they’ll put together a 50-100 page report and I always recommend walking through it with your real estate agent.

What types of things do you usually see in a report?

  • Everything from worn carpet to missing sections of a roof, you name it.
  • Normally we see things like signs of water damage that may have been caused by old leaks that have been repaired. Missing screens on windows, electrical systems that are out of date, leaking water heaters, AC systems that aren’t cooling well.
  • They check every vent, I’ve had clients who had a house that all the rooms but the master bedroom had great cooling, but of course that’s a huge issue and they wanted to bring in an AC inspector to look into it more.

So can you walk us through how that works, getting another inspector for a specific area?

  • AC units, pools, roofs, plumbing, septic, wells, and electrical are all areas where you may need to bring a specialized inspector. 
  • You don’t have to bring them at the beginning, but if the general inspector finds something, it’s good to bring a specialist.
  • If the item is a concern for you like an older home with an older roof, or a home that has a pool as a major feature, then it would likely make sense to get multiple inspections from specialists.

Who is paying for these inspections?

  • The buyer is typically buying them.
  • It can be a red flag or a conflict of interest if you have the seller choose and pay for an inspection.

How do I find a good inspector?

  • Real Estate Agent
  • Online
  • Personal Referral

To summarize, an inspection is a process where a professional inspects a property for any potential issues and generates a report for you. If any issues are found as a result of the inspection report, it is important to address them or make a plan to ensure they are addressed. As a buyer, you have the right to request repairs, or to be given a credit for repairs that need to be done from the seller prior to finalizing the purchase of the property, but there is no guarantee a seller will agree. 

Finding an inspector can be done by asking your real estate agent for a recommendation, looking online or checking with a licensing agency.  It is important to be present during the inspection or towards the end of the inspection, in order to ask any questions that you may have about the process or the results.  

Thank you for your support, and happy home buying.