Home Inspection Basics

May 16th, 2013

Home Inspection Basics

A home inspection is a normal part of the home buying process where an experienced inspector evaluates the condition of the home being sold. A home inspection is a basic, noninvasive survey of the home and property. It is meant to alert the buyer and lender of any problems with the home that may decrease the value and/or need to be fixed. Most lenders won’t loan money on a home that has not been inspected.

With the mini-boom we’re seeing in the housing market right now, many homes that are for sale have multiple offers from buyers. Some buyers are choosing to forgo the home inspection in order to gain the spot as the top bidder on a home. Although this can sway the seller to accept your offer ahead of others, it’s usually not worth it to skip this important step in the home buying process. Buying a home is probably the largest investment you will ever make and you don’t want to start out in a home that needs expensive repairs that you can’t afford to attend to. Some defects that are discovered by inspections are bad enough that they severely decrease the value of the home, decreasing its equity and maybe even leaving the new owners upside down in their mortgage.

A home inspection checklist usually consists of only basic items of a general nature. These include:

  • Exterior: Landscaping, drainage, windows, doors, fascia sidewalks, grading, etc.
  • Structural: Roof, foundation, walls, floors, ceilings, framing, ventilation, etc. Does not include roof certification.
  • Heating and Air: Furnace, fireplace, sprinklers, water heater, duct work, chimney, etc.
  • Plumbing: Pipe materials, drains, faucets, toilets, showers, etc. Does not include sewer inspection.
  • Appliances: Range and oven, smoke detectors, dishwasher, built in microwave, etc.
  • Garage: Exterior, windows, roof, doors, openers, slab, walls, vents, firewall, etc.
  • Electrical: Types of wiring, circuit breaker, panel, grounding, exhaust fan, fixtures, etc.

There are also optional items that you may want to include in your home inspection that you will have to ask the inspector for specifically and for which there will probably be an extra fee. These include:

  • Gases and Toxins: Radon, carbon monoxide, radiation, methane, formaldehyde, etc.
  • Mold, Mildew and Fungi
  • Asbestos
  • Destructive Pests: Wood-destroying organisms like termites, rodents, etc.
  • Lead
  • Septic and Sewer systems
  • Outbuildings and Other Structures: Sheds, detached garages, workshops, barns, pools, spas, etc.

A home inspection is well worth the money, usually costing between $250 and $400. It only takes around 1-3 hours for the inspection to be completed. An inspection report will then be provided to the potential buyer and sometimes to the seller and/or lender as well. This will help all of the parties involved determine if there are any repairs needed and if the home has been properly valued.


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