A home inspection is defined as an examination of a home’s condition. Usually, home inspections occur once a home has gone under contract. However, some sellers elect to do a “pre-inspection,” which occurs before the home is listed. Certified inspectors search for elements that are significantly deficient, unsafe, near the end of their service life, or not functioning properly. Some examples could include a broken door, a non-functioning appliance or a 30-year-old furnace.
Inspection of a home can include the following:
- Whole house inspection. The inspector turns on faucets and appliances, checks outlets and lights, looks for cracks in walls, ceiling and flooring, opens and shuts windows and doors, looks for broken glass on windows and doors, checks the HVAC, plumbing and electrical systems. He/she basically checks to see if the house is functioning.
- Wood-destroying insects inspection. Evidence of live termite or other damaging insects, as well as damage to the home from prior infection is inspected.
- Radon test. The radon inspector sets a radon test in the lower level of the home and measures the level of radon for a minimum of 48 hours. If the average reading is 4 pCi/L (picocurries per liter) or more, the EPA recommends the radon be mitigated.
- Chimney inspection. The chimney is inspected for safe use and aesthetics.
- Sewer inspection. A scope is sent down the sewer line to discover any possible cracks, breaks or other issues that may affect functionality.
- Structural inspection. The foundation and structure are evaluated.
- Roof inspection. Age, number of layers, number of years left in life of roof and damage are evaluated.
Once completed, written reports are provided summarizing the results.
- The inspection generally lasts between 2 and 4 hours, but could take longer depending on the size of the house. After the actual physical inspection, it may take a couple of days for the inspector to produce the report.
- Unless it’s a “pre-inspection,” it is recommended that buyers attend the inspection so they can explore the home in detail and ask any questions they may have. This can give the buyer more information to make important decisions.
Some key things to remember
When it comes to home inspections, here are a few things to keep in mind:
- It is not a pass or fail test. It is an assessment of the homes functionality with items that need repair or attention highlighted.
- There is no obligation to repair anything within the home. It is the seller’s option whether or not they complete repairs, based on the buyers potential request for repairs to be made.
- No home is perfect. The inspector isn’t expecting perfection. It’s quite rare to find a home that is free of any issues, so don’t be disheartened if something is found in a home you’re trying to buy or sell.
- Don’t be afraid of the report. Yes, there will be things in the report that may seem concerning, but try not to get overwhelmed! Many of the items identified on inspection reports are fairly minor. What you should be paying attention to, however, are the major issues that present a safety concern or represent a large replacement/repair bill in the near future.
- While it isn’t necessarily required, it is recommended that buyers attend the inspection so they can explore the home in detail and ask any questions they may have. This can give the buyer more information to make their important decision.
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