Home Inspection Tips

If you’re planning to buy a home, it’s essential to know as much as possible about its condition and anything that needs repairs. A home inspection is a great way to get a thorough assessment of any type of property you might consider making an offer on before you take the plunge. While an appraisal protects mortgage lenders, home inspections safeguard buyers. There are many important things that home buyers need to know when choosing the right house, and home inspections play an essential role in the process. Read on for some home inspection tips for buyers, so you’re better prepared to make a well-informed decision. Remember, this is one of the most significant purchases you’ll ever make, so choosing to get a home inspection is a smart move.

What’s included in a home inspection?

Your inspector will carefully examine various parts and systems of the property and give you a report when it’s complete. The most important components of a home inspection include information about:

  • The roof: The inspector will note the condition of the roof coverings (shingles, metal, tile, etc.), gutters and downspouts, vents, flashings, skylights (when applicable), chimney, and the overall structural condition.
  • Attic and insulation: Insulation in the attic, any crawlspace areas, foundation areas, vents and exhaust systems will be inspected.
  • Foundation and structure: The home inspector will look for signs of issues with the foundation, including cracks, movement or shifting, structural issues, and signs of water penetration or damage.
  • Exterior: The home’s siding, windows, exterior doors, driveways, patios and decks, exterior stairs, flashing and trim, and walkways will be assessed.
  • Heating and cooling: The condition of the HVAC or heating and cooling system, the location of the thermostat, the energy source, and the type of system will all be inspected and noted.
  • Fireplace: If the home has a fireplace, the inspector will look at the damper doors, lintels, and any visible portions of both the fireplace and chimney(s).
  • Plumbing: The plumbing is a vital part of a home inspection and includes examining the water heater, toilets, sinks, showers, interior water supply, and the main water and fuel supply shut-off valves. Drains and waste systems are also inspected.
  • Electrical: Your report will include information about the electrical main, the electrical panel, conductors, light switches and fixtures, and outlets. It also provides information about the service drop, where the electrical company connects its equipment to the home. Verification of how many smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are present and if they are working is also included.
  • Interior: The inspector will check the condition of interior doors and windows, floors, walls, ceilings, and interior stairs and railings. They will also inspect the garage door and openers when applicable.
  • Appliance: The report will confirm that all major appliances (oven, refrigerator, microwave, washer, and dryer) are in working condition. The inspector will also check the garbage disposal and the heating and air conditioning.

How to Prepare for a Home Inspection

The best home inspection advice is to be prepared. You do not have to attend the inspection, but it is recommended. Most home inspections take between two and three hours for a single-family home. If you are present during the inspection, write down as many notes and take as many photographs as possible. Feel free to ask the home inspector questions as you go. Remember that the inspector cannot give predictions about the home’s condition in the future, nor are they allowed to make referrals for repairs. Write a checklist of things you’re concerned about ahead of time and take it with you.

You can ask the inspector things like how old they think the roof is or if they notice any glaring red flags. If you want to know what to bring to a home inspection, make sure you bring a quality digital camera or smartphone so you can take photos. A notebook or notepad and pen is also a good idea so you can write down your questions or concerns. Most importantly, be sure to bring an open mind and remember that no home is perfect. There will always be some flaws or issues with properties, particularly older homes. The larger the house, the greater the chance there could be a few issues.

What’s Important in a Home Inspection?

Here are some home inspection tips for buyers regarding the most important things to look for:

  • The roof, plumbing, and electrical system are some of the most important parts of a home inspection. You should also be aware of the foundation’s condition and note any serious issues.
  • Leaks or signs of moisture damage are extremely important as they may indicate more significant problems lurking under the surface.
  • Cosmetic flaws are not part of a home inspection unless they relate to the actual condition or functionality of any part of the property.
  • Serious health and safety hazards such as the presence of pests or mold are very important. The inspector cannot test for asbestos, so if that’s a concern, consider hiring a separate inspector to check for this before you make an offer.
  • Other important parts of a home inspection to take note of include the heating and cooling system, walls, doors, windows, and the fireplace.

Resolving Inspection Outcomes

Your home inspection report will include thorough notes about each area of the home. If there are any glaring issues, what should you do? First, give your real estate agent a copy of the report or sit down and go over it together. Let them know which sections you’re the most concerned about and make a list, prioritizing the most critical issues first. In some cases, the agent can ask the seller to make repairs before you put in an offer. Alternatively, you can offer a lower price to compensate for the cost of repairs, then do them yourself once you buy the home. Keep in mind that most sellers won’t correct cosmetic issues like chipped paint or make minor repairs that would cost less than $100.

Finding the Best Home Inspection Company

One of the most crucial home inspection tips for buyers is to find a home inspection company you can trust. Ask your friends and family members who they used and if they were happy with them. You can also have your real estate agent refer you to the home inspection company they typically recommend. Do your research and read reviews online or check with the Better Business Bureau. You can also contact several local home inspection companies directly and send them questions to give you peace of mind.

Bottom Line

You should always include a home inspection in the home buying process. Remember these home inspection tips so you know what to look for and how to be prepared. If you’re a professional home inspector, you need software that makes doing your job easy. Be sure to explore the software features at Inspection Support Network to find out how we can help.