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Home Inspection Basics


It's often the most exciting moment in home buying. This is because inspection day is likely to be your first opportunity to see the house since you made an offer. It's also your chance to find out what you are getting into with regards to the home's condition.

Home inspections are a great way to find out if your home is safe and sound.

The home inspection is more than just a listing of problems that you can negotiate with the seller. Or worse, something so serious that you have to cancel the deal. You will receive a detailed report, which acts as a homeowner's guide and includes a checklist and a home maintenance plan.


You can do a few things before inspection day to ensure you get the best out of the whole process. This is how to prepare for an inspection day and what you can expect.

Locating An Inspector

To conduct an inspection, you should hire a professional licensed inspector. Who should you hire? The agent may have suggestions. However, you can do your research. Ask for samples of their reports to ensure that they are thorough.

It is important to understand exactly what is included and not in the inspection price. This usually ranges between $300-$500, depending upon the size of your home. Are they going to test for lead paint? What about asbestos in ceiling tiles? Does that cost extra, or is it part of the standard inspection?

You should start your search early and keep a few inspectors in mind. It is important to ensure that you are able to schedule an inspection within the contract deadline. If your first choice is unavailable, there will be someone else waiting.

Home Inspection Checklist

Before you make an offer, it is a good idea to prepare for a professional inspection. This will allow you to determine if any particular areas need to be inspected. These issues will be addressed in the report that you pay. A good inspector will do this. This checklist will help you identify the issues in your inspection report. Ask why any of these items weren't included in the inspection report.

  • Foundation: 

    Take a look at the foundation of each room's walls and ceilings. Do you see any cracks or shifts in the foundation? Then do the same for the exterior. Do you see any trees that are encroaching upon the foundation?

  • Lot: 

    Does drainage seem to be far from the house? Do you see any soggy areas?

  • Roof: 

    How is it overall? What year was the last time it was replaced?

  • Exterior: 

    Is the house in dire need of repairs or painting soon? Are gutters and downspouts securely attached? Are there loose boards and dangling wires around the gutters? Are their asbestos fibers in the exterior material? If so, it would be expensive to repair or replace.

  • Attic: 

    What does the interior look like? Do you see any leaks?

  • Evidence Of Leaks:

    Look around the windows and ceilings in every room.

  • Basement: 

    Is it damp? Is there adequate insulation? You might leave the crawlspace for a professional inspection.

  • Electrical: 

    Are the switches working? Do you see any obvious problems? Are the outlets grounded? Are the outlets grounded?

  • Plumbing: 

    Are there any unusual sounds or malfunctions? Have you checked the sewer line for cracks?

  • Appliances: 

    What is the condition of the refrigerator, stove, or dishwasher?

  • Heating/Cooling System: 

    Does the furnace seem to be working? What is the age of the furnace? Are the tanks or systems that were used to power the furnace still functional?

What is your home's odor? Is it possible to identify the cause and determine if it can be fixed? You should be wary of musty odors that could indicate a damp basement.

Full Disclosure

You should also obtain a seller's disclosure statement before your inspection day. This will allow you to identify additional issues that you would like your inspector to examine. Your inspector should pay extra attention to any information they have disclosed about a window leakage.

The disclosure requirements for each state and local jurisdiction vary. Ask your agent about these details. Boilerplate documents are typically used to disclose. These documents usually include a series of yes/no questions that the seller must answer.

You should check to see if any unpermitted work was done. If there is, you may be responsible for any necessary renovations. Even if you don't think it's on your radar, any unpermitted work must be thoroughly inspected, especially electrical work.

Inspection Day

It's important to set aside a whole day or afternoon for the inspection. The inspector may also have your agent present. Follow the inspector as closely as possible during this time. The inspector will bring protective clothing to protect you from the crawlspace.

You are not a nuisance. You are a student. In addition to identifying potential problems, inspectors will also explain the systems of your home and provide maintenance tips. These should all be included in the final report.

Inspectors Are Not Perfect

What happens if you get your inspection back clean, but find issues after you move in. It depends. First, inspections will only be conducted on items the inspector is able to see. The inspector will not accept responsibility for hidden problems unless they miss signs that could indicate a problem.

To understand if the inspection company will cover repairs for issues they didn't catch, or if they will just refund your inspection fee, carefully read your contract.

Take the time to understand what is a major problem. Is there a structural problem that causes the home to be condemned? A lawyer is a good idea. Leakage in the faucet? This is the joy of homeownership.

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