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What Is A Home Inspection?

It is a visual inspection of the structure and components of a home to find items that are not performing correctly or items that are unsafe. If a problem or a symptom of a problem is found the home inspector will include a description of the problem in a written report and may recommend further evaluation. Before you close, you need to consider whether or not repairs are needed now and who’s going to pay for them.

Why is a home inspection important?

Emotion often affects the buyer and makes it hard to imagine any problems with their new home. A buyer needs a home inspection to find out all the problems possible with the home before moving in. Once your inspection is performed, do not wait on the agent to assist you. Review the inspection and make a list of items you think the seller should address and present them to the agent in a timely manner. While the inspection is not meant to be a tool for re-negotiations, many times it becomes one. Don’t let your brother or uncle or a friend do it. You are not saving any money by letting a friend look. Even if he is a contractor, it does not mean that he is a good inspector. You need a qualified, unbiased inspection, so when the inspector does find problems, they won’t be easily minimized by the other parties because your uncle or friend did the inspection.

What if the report reveals problems?

All homes (even new construction) have problems. Every problem has a solution. Solutions vary from a simple fix of the component to adjusting the purchase price. If the inspector recommends further inspection by a qualified person, this means that you need to get an opinion by a qualified person before your inspection time period runs out on your real estate contract.

What does a home inspection include?

A home inspector’s report will review the condition of the home’s heating system, central air conditioning system (temperature permitting), interior plumbing, electrical systems, roof, attic, visible insulation, walls, ceilings, floors, windows, doors, foundation, basement, and visible structure. Many inspectors will also offer radon testing.

What should I NOT expect from a home inspection?

  • A home inspection is not protection against future failures. Stuff happens! Components like air conditioners and heat systems can and will break down. A home inspection attempts to reveal the condition of the component at the time the component was inspected.
  • A home inspection is not an appraisal that determines the value of a home. Nor will a home inspector tell you if you should buy this home or what to pay for this home.
  • A home inspection is not a code inspection, which verifies local building code compliance. A home inspector will not pass or fail a house. Homes built before code revisions are not obligated to comply with the code for homes built today. Home inspectors will report findings when it comes to safety concerns that may be in the current code such as ungrounded outlets above sinks. A home inspector thinks “Safety” not “Code” when performing a home inspection.

Should I attend the home inspection?

It is strongly recommended that the buyers attend the inspection. You receive that best value if you are available so the home inspector can explain in person and answer any questions you may have. This is an excellent way to learn about your new home even if no problems are found. But be sure to give the home inspector time and space to concentrate and focus so he can do the best job possible for you.

What about the kids/parents/friends?

This is not the best time for your kids to pick out their rooms; or to show your new home to family & friends. It can be difficult to focus on the details that your inspection is revealing. Additionally, if the home is still occupied by the owner their belonging shouldn’t be subject to active kids and curious adults

As a buyer, what should I bring to the inspection?

This is likely only the second time you’ve been in the house. While we discuss the houses condition your mind will be wondering about furniture placement and room dimensions. You may want to bring a camera to take your own pictures (this is always a fun way to document the before/after pictures), tape measure, paper & pencil. Additionally, plan for the weather, we will spend a fair amount of time outside: umbrella, boots, cold weather clothes, etc.

Who pays for suggested repairs found during the inspections?

This is a great question, many times buyers assume the inspection is a ‘invoice’ to the seller. Understand that the buyer is not required to make repairs. This is a great article on the subject.