A home inspection is an indispensable aspect of the process of purchasing a new property. While many think that it’s just an added expense, a home inspection is actually a job that protects the interests of the buyer.
Imagine this, you walk into a home and instantly fall in love with it. The asking price is a dream come true, the space is great, and there all the electrical equipment also seems to be relatively new.
You purchase the property and move into it. After being there for a few days, you notice some water damage to the floorboards and call someone to take and look. They report that the entire foundation of the home is affected by water damage and quote a price of $20,000 for the repairs.
It’s a bad situation to be in, right?
A home inspection helps you avoid such a situation.
A home inspection is a visual inspection of a property conducted by a professional. The objective of a home inspection is to assess the condition of the property and report the faults, damages, safety hazards, and required repairs to the buyer.
Then, the buyer can make a better informed decision regarding the purchase.
So what happens after the home inspector prepares and shares their report?
Let’s find out:
What Happens Once The Home Inspection Is Done?
After the home inspector assesses the condition of the property, they may take a couple of days to prepare and share the report.
The report will highlight the condition of the various areas of the property that were assessed during the inspection.
Usually, a home inspection leads to one of the following outcomes:
- Sale is concluded: While no home is perfect (yes, not even a newly built one), there are times when a home inspection does not reveal any serious faults or safety concerns. When this happens, both parties usually go forward with the sale.There is also the possibility that the inspection does reveal some issues with the property and despite this, the buyer and seller come to an agreement. This usually happens when the seller either offers to foot the bill of the repairs or simply agrees to knock off the price of the repairs from the asking price of the property.
- The Buyer Backs Off: On the other end of the spectrum, a home inspection may also reveal so many faults and problems that a buyer may simply back off from the sale. If this happens, the buyer may back out from the deal and move on to look at other properties. If this happens, it usually spells trouble for the seller.This is because future prospects will grow suspicious of the property whenever they find out the previous prospect passed up on the sale. Then, if the new prospects also conduct an inspection and it reveals the same problems, chances are that the new prospects may also back out from the sale.
To avoid such a situation, sellers are advised to get a pre sale home inspection done before listing their property. This way, you can be informed about a ‘deal breaker’ problem and can deal with it before a prospect’s inspector ever lays eyes on it.
- The Seller Denies The Repairs: In a few cases, especially the ones where the seller has invested in a seller’s inspection, the seller may deny accepting the cost of the repairs. This is usually the case when the findings of the seller’s inspection and the findings of the buyer’s inspection contradict.In most such cases, the seller has the control to take the final call.
Now that we know the impact a home inspection can have on the sale of a property, it is almost time to find what to look for in a home inspection, a checklist used by home inspectors.
However, before we do that, let’s look at how you can ensure you’re working with a trustworthy and dependable home inspector.
How To Pick The Right Home Inspector?
When you try to find a home inspector, you may find yourself overwhelmed with the sheer amount of options available in the market.
Worry not, we have made the job of picking a dependable professional easier.
When picking a home inspector, make sure you look out for the following qualities:
Not anyone with the basic knowledge of homes and insulation can become a home inspector. Certified home inspectors undergo special training that enables them to even identify hidden flaws in a property.
Not to forget, since inspections also take place in potentially dangerous areas of a property, like a roof inspection, these professionals are also trained to carry out their job safely.
In fact, many home inspectors are even insured against accidents that may happen when they are conducting an inspection.
To give yourself peace of mind, it is strongly recommended to only work with a licensed professional, and preferably also insured against workplace injuries and accidents.
THe experience of a home inspector also speaks volumes about their ability to identify and reveal all the problems with a property.
For this reason, when you look for a home inspector, make sure you ask them about their experience and the properties they have inspected in the past.
It is also a good idea to ask about the kind of problems they have found in various properties in the past.
Asking these questions will enable you to judge their experience and decide whether they are a good fit to work with you.
Looking at online reviews is important while picking out any service or products online. Online reviews are a window into others’ experience with a professional that you may be thinking of hiring for your home inspection needs.
If a home inspector doesn’t have enough online reviews, which can be the case since many businesses have only just moved online, you can ask them for client references. If a home inspector is truly an expert in their field, and has enough experience, they will have at least one customer that will be willing to describe their positive experience with them.
A lack of customer reviews and client testimonials is a serious red flag, and is a sign that you should move on and find another home inspector.
Now that we know how to pick a professional home inspector, let us look at what to look for in a home inspection to set the right expectations from the job.
The Home Inspection Checklist
When it comes to a buyer’s inspection, there are three main categories of residential property inspections.
- Regular home inspections
- New construction home inspections
- Condo home inspections
While the first two categories are somewhat similar, condo home inspections are usually a little different than home inspections conducted on independent properties.
Let’s look at each of these in a bit more detail:
What To Look For In A New Construction Home Inspection?
As mentioned earlier, an inspector is responsible for checking the entire property during a home inspection.
A residential property has many parts. In order to ensure nothing is missed, a home inspector uses a checklist that contains the names of the components to be checked, all divided into categories.
Here’s what such a checklist looks like:
(Please note that this list is just an example and may not be exhaustive. It is not an alternative to a professional home inspection.)
Around The Structure
- Sufficient drainage around the house (Y/N)
- Condition of yard and walkways
- Condition of landscaping elements
- Branches touching the roof (Y/N)
- Condition of exterior deck
- Condition of patio
- Condition of railings
- Other exterior surfaces
- Downspout drainage
- Condition of visible foundation
- Condition of ridge and fascia board lines
- Condition of window and door frames
- Condition of siding
- Siding material
- Condition of exterior paint
Doors And Windows
- Condition of wood frames and trims
- Broken glass/windows
- Glazed windows (Y/N)
- Roofing material
- Condition of roofing material
- Condition of flashing
- Condition of gutters
- Condition of chimney
- Proof of water leaking/damage (Y/N)
- Damage to underside of roofing (Y/N)
- Damage to attic structure (Y/N)
- Condition of insulation
- Proof of presence of termite (Y/N)
- Condition of floors
- Condition of walls
- Condition of ceiling
- Condition of doors and windows
- Condition of paint
- Condition of electrical outlets
- Heating/Cooling effectiveness
- Adequate insulation (Y/N)
- Condition of ventilation
- Water damage (Y/N)
- Condition of electrical outlets
- Condition of dishwasher
- Signs of water damage to the floor (Y/N)
- Condition of built-in appliances
- Condition of pipes
- Condition of garbage disposal system
Interiors: Bathroom And Plumbing
- Condition of exhaust fan
- Condition of plumbing and fixtures
- Condition of sink
- Condition of tub
- Condition of drainage
- Toilet functions properly (Y/N)
- Condition of caulking
- Evidence of leaking on the interior walls (Y/N)
- Condition of visible pipes and drains
- Well water test
- Condition of water pump
Electrical and HVAC
- Condition of visible wiring
- Condition of service panel
- Efficiency of heating/cooling system
- Adequate airflow and ventilation (Y/N)
- Condition of ductwork
- Separate fuel storage for gas/oil/propane (Y/N)
- Condition of air filters
- Evidence of rusting (Y/N)
- Smoke detectors working (Y/N)
- Condition of stairways
- Condition of automatic garage door
Now, that’s a long list. That’s why a thorough home inspection can take anywhere between three and seven hours, depending on the size of the property.
On the contrary, a condo inspection is quite short, since there are fewer areas to inspect. Here’s what a condo inspection covers:
What To Look For in A Condo Home Inspection?
Condos are smaller and inspections are only limited to the interiors. Here are the main areas covered in a professional condo home inspection:
Walls, Windows, And Ceiling
- Evidence of presence of mould (Y/N)
- Evidence of water damage in the ceiling (Y/N)
- Condition of cabinet doors and latches
- Presence of cracks in the ceiling (Y/N)
Electrical and HVAC
This aspect of a condo inspection is almost exactly same as a regular home inspection
Pay Attention To The Condition Of The Building
Assessing the condition of the building is not part of a home inspection and will probably not be covered by the inspector you hire.
However, as a future property owner at the building, it is your responsibility to know everything about the property.
While a condo home inspection will reveal everything you must know about the interiors of your condo, the condition of the building will reveal the efficiency at which the building complex is being managed.
Any damages that you see may not be your individual concern, but remember that you will probably be paying for fixing these damages and maintaining the building complex in the form of a maintenance fee.
It is smart to make sure you move into a property where you get your money’s worth.
By now, you must have realised the importance of a professional home inspection. Sure, it’s a time consuming undertaking, and it’s not exactly cheap. However, ignoring home inspection before making a property purchase can lead to some truly nasty surprises.
We hope that the information offered in this article helps you make all the right decisions when it comes to professional home inspections.