The Complete Guide
When Do You Need a Home Inspection?
You are most likely to need a home inspection when you are in the market to buy a new house.
As a buyer, home inspection is critical. It can confirm that your dream house is worth every penny of your investment, or it can uncover a number of underlying problems that need to be fixed before you buy.
As a seller, you are on the receiving end—your home must be inspected before it can be sold.
Home Inspection Fact
A qualified home inspector should adhere to local licensing and certification standards.
39 states require home inspectors to operate with a license, according to The National Association of Home Inspectors (NAHI).
By definition of the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI), a home
inspection is “an objective visual examination of the physical
structure and systems of a house, from the roof to the foundation.”
Home Inspection Fact
A typical home inspection should last between three and four hours.
This sounds simple enough, but once you receive your home inspection report, you’ll quickly see how complicated the process can become. A thorough home inspection will survey a house inside and out. It will include a detailed report of the conditions of a home, spanning wiring and electrical systems, interior plumbing, windows, doors, walls, floors, ceilings, attic, basement, foundation, structural quality, and more.
Complete Home InspectionSource: blog.teamsherburne.com
The purpose of a home inspection is to cover your assets
This is especially important for buyers who are ready to sink hundreds of thousands of dollars into a new home.
As former NAHI President Don Crawford explains, “Home owners cannot afford surprises. Everything may look fine on the surface, but there may be trouble lurking. A qualified home inspector will have the experience and training to provide information that will assist the buyer in making an informed decision.”
Crawford goes on to provide a word of caution to all potential buyers
If a home has problems that a realtor or seller is
not aware of, they become a buyer’s financial
responsibility after closing.
Meaning, if problems are not detected through a home inspection, a new buyer
will have to pay to fix any issues that arise after a sale.
Yet the fact remains that a home inspection is optional
Why should a buyer pay hundreds of dollars extra for an inspection on top of already expensive closing costs?
As we have already discovered, home inspection buys peace of mind. Up to 81% of purchase offers for a home include a home inspection contingency. This clause allows a buyer to back out of a sale without penalty if major defects are detected in a home inspection.
Though a home inspection gives leverage to the buyer, it matters to the seller too.If you want to sell your home quickly and at a competitive price, your home inspection must come back with minimal issues.Sellers can prepare in advance to ensure that a home is in working order, from foundation to roof. Hiding major household issues prior to an inspection is never advised as it could nullify a potential sale.
A home inspection is not the same as a building code inspection or an appraisal; it does not provide a guarantee or insurance on a property.
A home inspection also is not perfect. Most potential buyers mistakenly believe that a completed inspection report is all you need to get into your dream house. However, home inspectors are not infallible; skill level will vary. Buyers are encouraged to attend a home inspection to provide a second look at a new home. A home inspection report is designed to assess visible property weakness, yet it can still overlook critical defects in a house.
Home Inspection Fact
A home inspection can uncover glaring safety issues that could prove dangerous, like faulty wiring or poor fireplace design.
Home inspection costs may vary by size of
property, as well as geographic region.
Home inspection add-ons can also increase price, for services like well, septic, asbestos, and radon testing.
In most states, home inspections are estimated at a minimum of $400 for an average 2,000 square foot home.
Prices may climb up to $600 for larger properties with more complicated testing needs.
Inspectors may also charge based on driving distance to a property and age of a home.
Home Inspection Fact
Home inspectors are most likely to find problems in plumbing, electrical components, foundation, and DIY upgrades
When all is said and done, a reputable home inspector should provide a warranty for their service.
As a home inspection offers peace of mind when purchasing a new house, a home inspection warranty gives an additional cushion on an inspection report. A home inspector may advertise up to a 90-day warranty on their service to cover repairs on items that were found to be in good condition on the inspection date.
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Your Home Inspection Report
Standard Home Inspection
Galvanized. No discrepancies were noted with the visible portions of the plumbing connections at the time of this inspection. Water supply lines installed from the meter to the house and under the slab floor are not a normal part of this inspection. The buyer may want to have a water line leak test performed by a qualified leak detection service.
Meter. The house water supply shut off valve is located at the meter however there maybe a secondary valve located inside the home. Buyer should check it with the seller to verify the presence of this secondary valve and its location.
Yes. The water line leak check is a simple check whereby all the faucets and toilets are checked to insure they are not leaking excessively then the water meter is checked for any indication by the leak meter that water is flowing. An acceptable rating does not guarantee that there may not be a leak in the underground system that is not noticeable by this check.
|Yard Light||Repair or Replacement Recommended|
The gas yard light is in disrepair
Your Home Inspection Guide:
What Does an Inspector Look For?
Here are several key categories you can expect to see on a home inspection report:
Appliance inspection will include the functionality of installed household appliances, such as oven and range, dishwasher, garbage disposal, built-in microwave, and smoke detectors.
Asbestos may not be included in a standard home inspection report as separate licensing may apply. An asbestos inspection add-on may include assessment of roof shingles, exterior siding, insulation, paint, caulking, and flooring.
Licensed asbestos professionals may conduct an inspection and take samples of potentially contaminated materials, often found in homes built before 1978.
Attic inspection is important to provide an accurate reflection of interior roof quality; potential roof leaks, mold, insulation, structure, and stair and door condition will be reviewed.
Size and age of electrical components will be assessed to ensure that outlets are grounded and visible wiring is in working condition. Electrical upgrades and changes to wiring must be noted.
Normally included within an interior inspection, a basement should be surveyed for signs of damage, especially dampness, mold, and water leaks. A basement utility room will also be inspected, if applicable, including electrical panel, plumbing, furnace, and hot water heater.
Inspector will assess driveways, sidewalks, walkways, steps, and exterior windows and doors. Trim, siding, and surface drainage materials will be checked for quality. Exterior inspection will include household upgrades, such as porches, decks, and balconies.
Foundation assessment is critical as future repairs can be costly; foundation inspection may include visible foundation quality, housing structure, and crawlspace. Inspector will check for water leaks or penetration, movement, and issues in structural safety.
Fireplaces are a desirable feature that can prove dangerous due to poor installation. Inspectors must assess the safety of both fireplace and chimney, including vent and flu, along with other fuel-burning appliances.
Garage structure, doors, and operation will be inspected using manual or remote control; inspection may include slab, walls, ceiling, entry, vents, lights, windows, and roof.
Heating inspection may include heating system, vents, flues, and chimneys, as well as size and age of water heater; water heater should be capable of rapidly heating water for an entire house with minimal energy requirements. Air-conditioner age, energy rating, and cooling equipment will also be assessed.
Ventilation and insulation will be inspected to prevent costly and unnecessary energy loss; housing insulation should be climate-appropriate to prevent moisture buildup that could lead to mold growth.
Thorough interior inspection should begin in the basement and cover each floor of a house. Inspection may include flooring, walls, and ceilings to note obvious signs of damage.
Professional lead assessment and testing is likely to be another home inspection add-on as lead-based paint was banned in residential construction after 1978; lead inspection is recommended in older homes with risk of contamination.
Most home inspection reports will confirm or deny the presence of toxigenic mold, often caused by moisture or a water leak. However, professional mold testing must come from a third-party or as a home inspection add-on; professional mold remediation may be needed to prevent property damage and further health risks.
Plumbing is a top cause for concern in many older homes. Inspector will assess drainage capabilities, as well as water supply, fuel storage systems, and water heating equipment. Potential problems may include rust corrosion, broken pipes, leaks, and poor water pressure.
Roofing is a critical inspection component as repairs can be costly. Inspector will assess roof materials for signs of weather damage, taking into account roof age, flashing and shingle condition, gutter and downspout drainage, and chimney and skylight quality.
Property inspection may be included in an exterior assessment to note the slope or grade of a lot, landscaping, flowerbeds, walkways, etc.
Radon testing may be categorized as a home inspection add-on to detect dangerous levels of this Class A Carcinogen; the EPA recommends that all homes be tested for radon as it is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the US. An IAC2 Certified inspector is capable of taking professional air quality samples.
Home Inspection Fact
An inspection is recommended for all properties, even new construction, to confirm that all components are safe and in working order.
12 Tips to Get the Most out
of Your Home Inspection
Home Inspection Fact
Even in the worst conditions, a house can’t fail a home inspection. A home inspection is an examination of current housing conditions that will reflect the need for potential repairs.
Once you have your home inspection report in your hands, complete with summaries, diagrams, and pictures, what’s left to do?
Now is the time to strike while the iron is hot and wade through your home inspection findings to request repairs before closing. Reviewing the report and requesting repairs strategically can improve the value of your house before you buy.
Here are 12 ways to make your home inspection work for you:
In most states, add-ons like mold, asbestos, pests, lead, and radon will not be covered in an inspection report. Pay for extra testing, if needed.
After a home inspection is complete, it helps to forward key pages or the entire report to the seller. The seller can then understand how many repairs are actually needed in contrast to the amount of repairs requested.
renovations to yourself
Repair requests are made based on the present state of a home; a seller may be less likely to repair a kitchen appliance if they know that you plan to remodel the kitchen in the future.
A home inspection is not a guarantee of protection; it is merely a picture of a home’s present condition. Problems will still arise in a home due to wear and tear in the years to come.
Understand the market
If it is a seller’s market, and homes are going fast, you may not get every repair item covered on your list. If it is a buyer’s market, and a house has been listed for months, a seller may be willing to pay for more repairs to close on a house.
Look out for big
Keep your eyes open for the most common inspection issues on your report, including health and safety violations, worn roofing, heating and cooling malfunctions, foundation problems, and leaking and drainage concerns.
Let small issues go
There is no perfect home out there, so remember not to sweat the small stuff in your repair requests. Ask the seller to tackle the bigger issues and leave small problems alone.
Ask to hire your own
If a seller agrees to repairs, know that they will likely find the cheapest contractor for the job; request to hire your own contractor to ensure that repairs are top-quality.
Or—ask for repair credit
If a seller agrees, a repair credit off a home’s purchase price is preferable to finished repairs. This will again provide you with the opportunity to hire your own contractor for high-quality repair work instead of relying on the seller. Repair credit should be estimated at two to three times the average repair amount.
Consider the age of
Repairs that directly relate to an aging home should be addressed as top priority. Electrical wiring may need to be updated in homes built before 1950; sewer pipe upgrades are critical in homes with papier-mâché Orangeburg sewer piping built from 1942 to 1958; defective ABS piping may be found in homes built from 1984 to 1990.
Consider a home
A home warranty is designed to protect you against the possibility of new repairs needed in the future; if you choose a home warranty when closing, make sure to understand your coverage options and deductibles that may apply.
Take it one step further
As you now know, a home inspector can only provide an accurate picture of the condition of a home—they can’t predict the future. If your inspection report details aging appliances, plumbing, or roofing materials, it is your job to consult industry experts. A worn roof may not be leaking yet, but repairs could be on the horizon. Do your homework before you negotiate repair requests.