FAQS on Home Inspection

Whether you’re preparing to sell or buy a home, getting a home inspection is a vital part of the process to ensure a successful transaction. Before you hire a home inspector, you need to know a few important things. Read on for some common home inspection FAQs so you can be prepared and ready to make one of the most significant investments of your life. 

What is a home inspection? 

A home inspection is a service performed by a professional that shows you more in-depth information about the essential components and systems of a home. The inspection report gives you more insight into the property, including potential problems that may need repairs or attention before you make an offer on the house.

Why is a home inspection important?

A home inspection will give you the information you need to make an informed decision. If the property has too many issues, as a potential buyer, it gives you the opportunity to walk away before you make an offer. These inspections can prevent you from spending a lot of money later and help avoid quite a lot of stress if it turns out the home needs more work than you initially thought.

What are the benefits of getting a home inspection?

There are many benefits of getting a home inspection, whether you’re the seller or the buyer. As a buyer, the inspection report gives you more negotiating power that you can use when making an offer. For example, if the home needs a lot of work, you can include the findings to reduce your offer or ask the homeowner to make the repairs before you agree to purchase the property. As a seller, you can get a pre-listing inspection to determine what types of issues your home has. This gives you a chance to make the repairs before you list the home or include this information in your listing, so buyers know.

How is a proper home inspection done? 

A proper home inspection is performed by a trained, certified home inspector. The inspector will investigate the home’s major components like the electrical and plumbing system, roof, foundation, and much more. These skilled professionals will provide you with a complete report, including photos and notes that you can use to make a purchasing decision.

What’s in a home inspection report? 

A home inspection report typically has photos of each area of the home, including notes about any signs of damage or other issues. The report will classify each section based on the importance or urgency of whether or not it needs attention. If something is urgent, the inspector will notate this on the report and typically uses a color-coded system to make it easier for you to see which components may need to have issues addressed.

Who can help me read a home inspection report?

Most home inspection reports are designed to be easy for buyers to understand. However, if you need some help reading yours, there are many resources online that can show you how to read and understand the report, like InterNACHI®. Don’t hesitate to ask your inspector if you have questions, too.

Can I do my own home inspection?

Getting an inspection for a home isn’t required by law, and most sellers are open to letting buyers take a closer look at their property. You might wonder, can I do my own home inspection? While you’re welcome to do your own home inspection, it’s best that you hire a certified inspector who knows exactly what to look for. If you inspect the home yourself, you won’t have the official inspection report you need to negotiate with the seller if something needs to be repaired.

What should I look for in a home inspector?

A quality home inspector should be licensed and certified. Your real estate agent may be able to recommend a trustworthy inspector, or you can ask friends or family members about home inspectors they’ve used in the past. Always make sure that the inspector has the proper certifications and experience performing home inspections in your area.

Do you need a home inspection?  

So, do you need a home inspection in order to buy a home? While it’s not required, it is highly recommended that you get one if you’re serious about making an offer on a property. The inspection provides you with valuable insight into the home in order to make a well-informed decision.

What are common problems detected in home inspections?

Some of the most common problems found in an inspection for a home include moisture issues, electrical system problems like exposed wires or old knob and tube wiring, and foundation problems. Other common problems include issues with the condition of the roof, insulation concerns, and non-working or malfunctioning major appliances.

What are low-cost common problems found in home inspections?

Some low-cost common problems found in home inspections include appliance issues, drafts, or things like gutters that may need to be re-attached.

What are expensive problems that should be found in a home inspection? 

Expensive problems associated with a home inspection may include an old or damaged roof that needs replacing, electrical system concerns, and foundation issues like cracks, uneven floors, or water seeping into a basement area.

What are major problems in a home inspection that should raise red flags? 

Major problems that should raise red flags include the possibility of asbestos or mold, previous signs of water damage, and foundation problems that can cost a lot of money to correct.

What questions should I ask a home inspector before and after the inspection? 

Before the inspection, ask your home inspector what they will and will not be checking. You can also ask if you’re allowed to attend the inspection so you can ask questions along the way. After the inspection, ask your home inspector what their biggest concerns are and what they’d recommend in order to correct them. This is also a good time to ask the inspector any questions you have about the final report.

How much is the average home inspection?

The average home inspection costs between $277 and $399 but may cost more if the home is larger or your home inspector charges a higher rate due to current demand or travel time if the home is located in a remote or rural area.

Who pays for the home inspection?

In most cases, the interested buyer will pay for the home inspection. However, some sellers may offer to pay for it as an incentive or as part of the closing costs.

How do I know I can trust a home inspector? 

Do some research and look for customer reviews of several home inspectors near you. You can also ask friends and family members about anyone they’d recommend. Your real estate agent may also refer you to a home inspector that they trust.

Does the average home inspection include outdoor structures such as fences, pools, sheds, and so on?

The average home inspection does not include things like swimming pools, sheds, or fencing. In most cases, the inspector will perform a quick visual overview of the exterior of the home and roof. If you want to have extra areas inspected, you may need to pay more and/or hire a separate inspector to perform these checks.

Can a home fail a home inspection?

A home inspection is not done on a pass or fail basis, so a home cannot technically fail the inspection. However, certain red flags could cause you to walk away from the deal if they’re going to be too time-consuming or cost-prohibitive.

What happens if a home fails a home inspection?

If there are too many serious issues or major deal-breakers, a buyer can simply walk away. You don’t have to make an offer on a home if you’re concerned about your home inspection report results. The seller may not see the report if you paid for it as a buyer, so it’s up to them to determine what areas of the home need to be addressed before continuing to keep it on the market.

Do homes under construction require a home inspection?

Homes that are under construction don’t require a standard home inspection. These properties will be inspected by different professionals, including local code enforcement personnel, to ensure that the home is safe for occupation once construction is complete.

Do new homes require a home inspection?

You might think that new homes don’t require a home inspection, but it’s still recommended that you get one. Your home inspector may find flaws in the construction process that you can address with the builder before you sign a contract.

What type of properties require a home inspection?

Any residential property that you want to buy should have a home inspection. This includes everything from single-family homes to condos, townhouses, tiny homes, and even manufactured homes.

As a buyer, should I get a home inspection?

As a buyer, it’s highly recommended that you get a home inspection to protect you from any issues with the property once you purchase it.

As a seller, should I get a home inspection?

Sellers don’t have to get a home inspection, but it’s a good idea to pay for one if you have an older home. The report will show you areas that need attention so that you can repair them before you put the house on the market.

How long does a home inspection take?

It should take anywhere between two and four hours to perform a complete home inspection on an average single-family home.

How long is a home inspection valid? 

Technically, a home inspection is only valid up to and including the date of the inspection. If you decide that you want to make an offer on a home, you’ll need to move quickly to avoid any potential issues arising after the inspection is completed.

Bottom Line 

Keep these FAQs on home inspection in mind to help you make better-informed decisions before you purchase a home. With a thorough report and the right home inspector, you’ll be armed with the knowledge you need to decide whether or not a property is the right one for you. At Inspection Support Network, we offer helpful software for home inspectors. Sign up for your free trial today.