Buying a home involves a lot of steps; one must ensure that before finalizing the deal your prospective home should tick all the right boxes. It is necessary on the part of the potential home buyers that they look beyond all the glitter of the new house and inspect it with a discerning eye. A home inspection helps in locating the foundation cracks, plumbing issues, wiring hazards and other unfathomable defects which are generally overlooked by the naked eye.
Being a buyer, after completing the research and assessing the best possibilities as per your budget and needs, when you are about to make a deal to buy a home, the last thing you want is an urgent repair shock. Shocking faults need urgent repairs, and urgent repairs lead to unexpected costs, which can quickly dampen your joy in your new house. How about hiring a professional home inspector, to begin with, your home inspection checklist?
You should hire a dependable expert home inspector who understands what to check for in every corner or nook of the house. On the other hand, understanding what the inspector is looking for can help you ask questions that will help you better grasp the degree of the damage and reduce the likelihood of future repairs. This checklist provides an in-depth look at what to look for during a home inspection.
What is Home Inspection
Since we have mentioned home inspection a gazillion times above- let’s talk a little in-depth on what exactly it is.
A home inspection is a process whereby home buyers hire professionals who can provide an overview of the condition of the household. The professional takes the homeowner through the house’s condition and maintenance issues. This features understanding what requires immediate attention and what will the house need in the coming years. The potential buyers must be acquainted with all the loopholes and major repairs which can affect the condition, structure and build of the household.
This step helps in interacting with the home’s current owner and establishing the ground rules before entering into a deal which might or might not be in your favour. The potential buyers have the chance to request the seller for the repairs or to offer a credit towards the cost of repairs before closing the deal.
In addition to this, home inspection analysis can help in making suggested improvements and upgrades according to the buyer’s needs and requirements.
As a buyer, this first step on the home inspection checklist can help you understand the process and obtain an inspection report which can come in handy for any house-oriented issues.
The Home Inspection Process
The search for a dream house might have been a daunting task, but it is not complete until you can be sure that the home you have selected is the home that you want to live in. This can only be certified by a reliable and licensed home inspector. There is more to a home inspection than what happens on the day of the inspection. Buyers can take measures to ensure they have all the information they need both before and after the property inspection.
Step1: The Home Inspection Contingency
A home inspection contingency is a clause in a real estate contract that states that the sale is subject to the findings of an inspection. Based on the inspection results, the home buyer might cancel the deal or negotiate repairs that too without any fine.
Step 2: Locate a reputable inspector.
Another integral step on the home inspection checklist is to find an expert for the concerned job. There are licensing requirements for home inspectors which might vary from state to state. Some states consider inspectors to have prior experience, training and pass an examination to become licensed. However, some states do not offer any such eligible rules for licensing. There are real estate agents who provide potential buyers with the inspectors’ checklist as well.
It is necessary on the part of potential buyers to do a bit of research when it comes to finding an apt inspector for the house. Recommendations from friends, family, colleagues, neighbours or asking the inspectors for prior references helps in making the right pick. It takes a village to find the right inspector so that he/she can provide you with a thorough and detailed report. Do not hesitate to do a background check on the home inspector before hiring one. Also enquire about their qualifications, certification, and license. Ensure that the home inspection company is reliable and has experience in your region.
Step 3: Schedule a meeting with the inspector before the inspection date.
Make an appointment with the home inspector before the inspection day. Fix everything about the total price of the inspection, additional services, and hidden costs, as well as the time the inspection and home inspection report will take place.
Step 4: Arrange for an inspection.
Whether it is an old house or a new home, it is highly recommended that buyers prepare for the home inspection by making an old or new home inspection checklist. It would be great to begin with covering areas of the home that you feel must be incorporated by the home inspector. Here is a list of concern areas and items that can help in starting the preparation process:
- Attic space and Foundation
- Basement and Garage
- Doors and windows
- Electrical panel, light switches, and power outlets
- Exterior stucco or paint
- Plumbing fixtures, faucets, and water heater
- Rain gutters and downspouts
- Roof, Porches and balconies
- Stairs, steps, and railings
- Thermostats and heating, cooling, and ventilation (HVAC) system
- Walkways and driveways
- Walls, ceilings, and floors
The inspectors’ checklist must contain the aforementioned areas and components of the house. The process of inspection takes a couple of hours and it would be helpful if the potential house buyer is present during the same. This process can also include your home inspection lists concerning the home’s condition. It is advisable to scribble notes and click photographs, and question anything that concerns you.
Step 5: Know beforehand what home inspection covers
House inspection lists may vary from one inspector to another. However, it highly depends on the inspector checklist when it comes to covering all the physical components of the house structure and interiors. Here is an insight into the components which must be covered under home inspection lists:
- Drainage, Fireplace and chimney
- Floors covered by carpeting
- Internet service
- Lawn sprinklers and Sewer line
- Mice, rats, or other rodents
- Roof or outdoor landscape covered by snow
- Swimming pool equipment
- Trees and landscaping
- Wood-destroying pests, such as termites or carpenter ants
These house inspection lists vary according to the leads offered by the potential buyers and professional experts.
Step6: Attend the inspection on the home inspection day.
Attend the home inspection so you may view and ask questions about the damage directly. These real-time talks with the inspector result in more detailed information about your home than what is there in the inspection report.
Try not to get too caught up in the number of flaws as you travel through the house since many of them are minor. Instead, investigate the severity of the problems to see whether any deal-breakers would prohibit you from closing the deal.
Step 7: Report on Home Inspection
After the home inspection, you will receive a report that covers the property’s major features and notes any problematic issues that may need attention. Try to read the full report and understand the findings. So that you can rectify all the minor or major faults in your home before shifting. Every home should be safe and secure in every aspect. Also, this helps you identify the deal-breaking issues on the property too.
Step 8: Finish the inquiry process.
Depending upon the recommendation of the written home inspection report, You have 1-2 weeks to get it confirmed by the local plumber. For the final decision,
Step 9: Requesting Repairs or a Discount
If your new home has significant issues, you can’t expect the seller to fix everything, but you can negotiate a discount on the final price to accommodate the cost of repair before making the final deal and shifting. A home inspection report can be a demonstration of the additional expense you have to bear if you purchase the property.
The average cost of a home inspection lies between $350 and $600 nationwide. This might include a budget for additional examinations. Sometimes the inspector discovers problems or mentions issues that may lead to further investigation, such as asbestos, mould, or unpermitted additions. On disclosure of such issues, the buyers should ask for more time from the seller and establish ground rules for further price negotiations.
Step 10: Final Decision about the Home Inspection
The last and the most important step on the home inspections list is effectively using a home inspection report. Once the major problems or a longer list of minor issues are disclosed, it is necessary on the part of the buyer to analyze the decision to purchase the home. The professional help will help in understanding and estimating the cost of repairs. The potential buyers must include the repair and replacement bids from local contractors to effectively use the report in their favour.
A home inspection report enables the buyer to understand the house and rule out any problem areas. The home inspection checklist for buyers helps in evaluating whether the house is well-maintained or needs major repairs. It is a good way to understand the home’s current condition and make an informed decision.
What do home inspectors look for?
A certified home inspector will look for every possible detail like interior, appliances, outside surface, HVAC, plumbing, electrical, and foundation of the home. Here are some points to look out for on inspection days that are valid as per ASHI. You can also make a printout of this list and check out every point during the process of a home inspection.
Ground, basement and exterior structure
- Is there any leak from the tank?
- If the foundation of a home is strong? Does it have any cracks?
- Are drainage systems properly insulated without any stagnant water?
- Exterior walls are clear and have no sagging?
- Check if the paint is in good condition?
- Roof shingles and attic are not damaged and made to withhold, rain, heat, or snow?
- Check if the chimney is straight and undamaged.
- Check if there is no rotted wood, termites, or moles in the garage, shed, terrace, or fence.
- Do the gutter and pump work properly and have no sign of decay?
- There should be no evidence of moisture retention on the above floor.
- Check if there is adequate ventilation in the attic and it is insulated electrically
- Check for leaky toilets, tubs or showers.
- Check for any leaky bathroom fixtures.
- Check if the water heater temperature is controlled or not?
- Check the bathroom draining and water pressure at tub, sinks and toilets.
- Check out garbage disposals, and water flow sinks.
- Check out the plumbing conditions, signs of damage.
- Look at all built-in appliances from oven to grinder and their functioning.
- Look for ventilation through windows and exhaust.
- Doors, windows, locks, lighting fixtures are working properly.
- Check out all the walls for paint, moisture hold, visible stains, cracking, and damage.
- Fire safety alarm, burglar alarm, smoke detectors, doorbell are in place and functioning.
- Heating, cooling, temperature controllers are working properly like air conditioners, heaters, and fireplaces.
- Check if the wiring is still in good condition.
- Check if cables are insulated, earthing is proper
Should buyers or sellers attend an inspection?
Homebuyers should always attend a home inspection because they want to learn everything they can about the house, take photographs, and ask plenty of questions.
The seller is not required to attend the inspection. Homeowners are emotionally invested in their homes and may take any problems personally. There are, however, several things that house sellers may do to help the home inspection go more easily, such as doing routine maintenance.
The only people who should attend an inspection are those who need to make decisions and will be on the mortgage along with their real estate agent. The inspection report can be shared with as many friends and family members as you choose.
Now that we know who should attend the inspection and what to look for, how do we proceed? It is critical to note that the seller may or may not disclose all defects in the home to obtain the greatest possible price for the property. However, before agreeing on a price, the buyer must first determine the condition of the property. Before the final settlement and move, a reliable home inspection is required so that both parties may have peace of mind and zero future risk and liability.
Also, both the buyer and seller have obligations to do before and after the home inspection. So even if they are not attending the inspection, they must prepare for it beforehand. Here’s how they can go about doing it.
Home Inspection Tips For Buyers
- Hire a good home inspector
Working with a certified inspector to assess and document the condition of a house through a visual inspection is the key to a successful home inspection.
- Examine the small print
Check the entire inspection contract to ensure nothing is overlooked by the inspector and what is not included in the inspection.
- Set up the scene
After you’ve made your decision and scheduled the inspection, be sure to ask the seller to open any locked sections and turn on all of the home’s utilities, such as heat, electricity, and water, so that the property may be thoroughly inspected.
- Allocate some time
It is also wise to choose an inspector early on as a priority on your house inspection lists as it helps you in making a quicker decision. Good inspectors can come up with their home inspections list which can make the process much more rigorous and time-consuming.
Make sure you make enough time for a comprehensive check-in on your calendar. This might take many hours depending on the size of your home, so having someone else monitor your children or pets is a smart idea.
- Plan ahead of time
Dress comfortably and wear comfy shoes. Your inspector will most likely be evaluating some small, dark, or dusty locations, so make sure you’ve dressed adequately so you can follow along and get some useful information or explanations.
Consider bringing your flashlight to assist in illuminating dark areas.
- Be considerate
If the home’s owner happens to be there during the inspection, refrain from making any changes or making any critical remarks.
- Be honest with yourself
Remember that no home is flawless and that a thorough home inspection will always reveal flaws. Home inspections are designed to assist you in understanding how to care for a property in the future and how to maintain it in the present.
- Make a list of what you want to remember and photograph it
If any issues concern you during the inspection, make a few brief notes and snap pictures so that you may ask the inspector any follow-up questions.
- Study the report in detail
It is important to note that one must ask for a sample report to see what the inspector covers while evaluating the condition of a household. There are two kinds of reports:
- In-depth reports (sometimes which are of 100 pages and longer) along with images and photographs of the house.
- Reports that have brief notes and observations with inspections checklist.
What your home inspections list covers all the expectations you have from the home inspector. It does not mean that the longer the report, the better. Sometimes more information creates confusion and the buyer is left with vague inputs on ceiling and foundation issues. It is necessary to skim through the observations and look at what concrete output has been achieved in the inspection report.
Some buyers come with their customized inspection checklist which deals with their specific concerns about the home. It is helpful to keep those in mind so that sufficient emphasis is laid on those items while inspection.Make sure you understand any dates or expected repair schedules listed in the report, as well as any technical words.
- Make a list of the most important findings
Allowing oneself to be overwhelmed by the outcomes is not a good idea. Prioritize any faults raised by the inspector into a separate list of urgent problems or safety concerns. and minor faults. Break each category down further by projected cost to see if any major flaws might affect your negotiations.
Home Inspection Tips for Sellers
So you’ve put your house on the market, found a buyer, and agreed on a price. Your house is almost sold, but it’s not quite time to start packing the moving boxes just yet. You still have to pass the home inspection. You’ll want the home inspection to go as easily as possible, with few if any severe problems discovered. It’s normal to feel anxious during a home inspection. You don’t want the contract to fall through, and you certainly don’t want to be saddled with the cost and stress of repairs if your buyer demands them as a condition. There are certain things you may do to prepare for the inspection, fortunately.
- Make sure the home inspector has easy access to all areas of the house. If they can’t get to a location, they won’t be able to check it, which will be a red flag for potential buyers.
- Clear the perimeter of your home and surrounding areas of plant growth, garbage cans, and stored things so they can have an unobstructed view.
- Examine the roof for moss and debris from the gutters with a ladder, inspect for broken or missing tiles, and ensure the downspouts are in the right place.
- While the cleanliness of your home has no bearing on the inspection, a dirty or messy home may lead the inspector to suspect that other aspects of the property aren’t being properly cared for as well.
- Look for leaks and water damage, such as leaking fixtures, faucets, toilets, dishwashers, refrigerators, washing machines, bathtubs, basements, and pooled bases, among other things.
- Take care of any bugs, molds, or termites, especially in hot weather.
- Be ready for the inspection on the day of the inspection. Prepare yourself and your family to leave the house for the inspection at least two hours before the inspector is scheduled to arrive.
- The house inspector is likely to find a few small flaws, but most of the time, if there’s anything major to find, you’ll have discovered it on your own before the final walk-through.
- Keep in mind that a little repair work before the home inspection day might save you from a large negotiation that the possible buyer may expect as a result of the written home inspection report’s negative recommendations.
- Replace any blown bulbs and switch on the pilot lights. A blown bulb might indicate one of two things to a home inspector: either the bulb is broken or the fixture’s wiring is bad.
- Check to see if your toilets are in good working order. A running toilet is a simple and affordable repair that you can do yourself with a quick trip to the hardware store, so fix it before the inspection.
- Double-check that the fuse box is appropriately labelled.
- Make sure your doors, windows, and locks are in good working order.
- Replace any broken cabinet doors or locks.
A professional home inspector will assess a house using a predetermined checklist and will not mislead you with a pre-written home inspection report. Book your expert home inspection NOW!