After you’ve made an offer on a house and it’s been accepted, it’s time to enlist the help of home inspection services to make sure the property is in good shape. While some people skip the home inspection process — particularly first-time home buyers — that is not advisable. Not getting a new home inspected before a purchase can be very costly. You might end up with a property that’s covered with asbestos, has a radon problem, or has a faulty HVAC system or sprinkler system that needs to be updated.
As the name implies, a home inspection involves a professional’s visual examination of a home after an offer has been accepted but before a deal is made. By hiring a home inspection company that has years of experience to examine the property you’re considering, you get access to a comprehensive report you can use to determine whether to finalize the real estate transaction.
For people trying to sell their homes, preparing for a home inspection is a very crucial step. The home inspection results determine whether the property will be acceptable to the buyer. Hence, most homeowners who sell properties try to make sure everything is in complete order and working condition before an inspection so they have peace of mind. Some homeowners even opt to conduct a pre-listing inspection on their own properties to make sure everything checks out before putting their house on the market.
The better the condition of the home during the inspection, the more reasonable the selling price sounds to the buyer. After all, when a home is in tip-top shape, buyers won’t have to fix things like fireplaces or rebuild dilapidated porches.
During residential inspections, various things around the property are checked. These include the building’s interior, exterior, and facilities present. The home inspector’s job is to see if everything is in good condition while conducting mold testing, radon testing, and well testing to make sure everything is in decent shape.
What is a home inspection?
A home inspection is a visual examination of a structure by a professional to evaluate the general condition and facilities present on the property and ensure it is high-quality. The professional home inspector does a walkthrough and looks around the property, from the foundation of the building to its roof. Once they’re done, they make a detailed report about their findings in the home.
During the property inspection, the home inspector pays more attention to things that might need repairs or replacement. Areas that might pose a potential safety hazard will also be identified during the inspection process. The better the condition of the home, the more positive the result of the inspection will be.
The inspector documents all their findings and submits a well-written report about the property to the party that hires them. While inspection results do not necessarily determine property value, they assure buyers that what they are purchasing is in good condition — much to the delight of real estate agents. However, most home inspections involve only a visual examination and not in-depth structural testing.
When an inspector submits a home inspection report that highlights significant issues, the client and the owner can discuss how to solve the problem before the transaction is finalized. In most cases, both parties will negotiate through their realtors to see what the seller is willing to fix.
Many individuals make use of home inspection contingencies, which means that the purchase of the property will be dependent on the home inspection result. If there are any problems found in the inspection result, the buyer can decide to reconsider the purchase or talk about potential repairs with the seller.
Individuals that choose to go with such a contingency have a specific time frame in which they must carry out the inspection process. This period is usually around two weeks. After this period, the inspection process should be over. That means all examinations that require a specialist — such as electrical systems, thermal imaging, or wind mitigation — need to be completed within the given time frame.
Home inspection contingencies are very helpful in preventing costly surprises later on after the purchase. If any problems are found, they can be settled earlier by the seller or the interested party can decide to pull out of the deal. The quicker the home inspection, the faster the value comes through.
How the home inspection process works
During the inspection process, core parts of the house are examined, including the grading near the foundation, railings, and decks. Inspectors also look for signs of insect damage on wood, roof components, and chimneys.
Additionally, inspectors check other things like the home’s insulation, cooling and heating system, electrical system, windows, toilets, and water pressure. Compared to new construction, older homes tend to have more problems that need fixing or replacement due to wear and tear over the years.
That said, problems can be identified from inspections — even at new properties. Sometimes builders make mistakes that might turn up on inspection results. People who take advantage of home inspection contingencies can only back out of deals if there is significant damage to the property. Insignificant damage that can be easily fixed, like broken doors, usually doesn’t count as a reason to back out on the purchase.
Once an inspection is completed, a buyer can discuss repair matters with the seller of the property. However, if the seller refuses to comply with the repair process, the buyer is free to back out of the deal. In this light, home inspections are very useful for people looking to purchase properties as they help them avoid extra spending on repairs.
Home inspections are not too expensive. Their cost usually depends on the location, size, and age of the property. Some extra fees can also be involved in the case of specialized tests like water tests and termite inspection. On average, a home inspection costs around $400 but can rise as high as $1,500 or even more. Either way, this is money well spent.
During a home inspection, some significant areas are checked by the building inspector.
The foundation of a home is one of its most vital parts. As such, it’s a significant area for inspection. Building inspectors pay a lot of attention to the foundation of homes during the process. They check for signs of damage and wear and tear around the foundation.
Most of a building’s foundation is not visible above ground. Hence, the inspection is usually just a surface check. Some signs signify damage to the foundation that professional building instructors are trained to discover. If any problem is found, it will be documented.
2. Building structure
The whole structure of the building is usually reviewed after the foundation. At this point, the building inspector checks through the entire building to see if any parts might need repair or pose potential safety threats. These areas are then noted in the home inspection report.
The building inspector will also examine the weight-bearing capacity and structural integrity of the building to see if the property is still structurally sound and fit for habitation. A specialist might be required for clarification if there is any unclear evaluation.
3. Interior and exterior
The inspector will also inspect the exterior and interior of the home. For the exterior, things like mold and cracks on the wall are checked. Wooden components will also be checked for termite infestation. The paint condition, both internally and externally, will also be examined.
During this process, areas like windows and the roof will also be checked for damages. Roof components and ceiling parts that can be seen will be examined for leaks or breakage. Staircases and railings inside and outside the house will also be checked to see if they are safe for use or need repair.
The internal condition of the house, including the floorboards, kitchen, and bathrooms, are also examined by the building inspector. If any problems are found, they will be recorded and presented in the inspection report that will be submitted to the client or potential buyer.
4. Electrical system
The electrical system of the house also goes through inspection. Specialists invited by the building inspector usually carry out this aspect of the home inspection process. The specialist examines all the electrical connections and the condition of the wires existing in the home.
Damaged and exposed electrical components will be marked and recorded by the inspector in their report. While an electrical evaluation might cost a little bit extra, homebuyers will want to know the condition of the electrical system in the home before purchasing it to avoid unexpected expenses.
5. Plumbing system
The water pressure and plumbing system of a home are always checked during a home inspection. During the inspection process, the inspector will ensure that water flows at the correct pressure from all the faucets in the home — both in the kitchen area and toilets and bathrooms.
The inspector will also test the drains to see if water flows out correctly or if there’s a clog. If there are any broken pipes or faulty parts, the inspector will record them in the inspection report. The water temperature will also be checked, as well as leaks and rusted parts.
Home inspection reports include detailed explanations regarding any structural damage or areas of the home that need repairs. The building inspector makes known all the aspects that need maintenance or repair, whether internally or externally. The home inspector’s job is complete after submitting the report. Anything that happens next depends on negotiation between the buyer and seller.
The home inspection process is a helpful method to evaluate a building’s condition before purchasing a property. The inspector’s job is to examine various aspects of the home to see if any areas require maintenance or repairs. Any issues that are detected are featured in an inspection report, which homebuyers can use to figure out their next steps.
As you begin searching for a home inspection company, you may want to contact the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI), a group that can help you find experienced inspectors if you’re having a hard time. Since inspectors won’t find every problem with every house, first-time homebuyers should strongly consider buying a home warranty that can help cover some expenses should issues surface after a deal is done.Regardless, buyers need to strongly consider springing for home inspections before buying a home. Failure to do so can have catastrophic consequences down the line. And as a first-time homebuyer, that’s something you simply can’t afford.