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Expectations for Your Home Inspection

Buying a new home is both exhilarating and exhausting. When inspection day comes, it’s important to be prepared. This article will help you understand what things are typically included in an inspection, what to do on inspection day, and how to use the inspection report to your greatest advantage.

What’s in an Inspection Report?

Licensed, professional inspectors are hired by buyers to conduct a thorough investigation of a home. Oftentimes your realtor will have an inspector to recommend, but you can also bring in your own expert. On the day of the inspection, plan to be there. This is your opportunity to really get a good look at the house and ask the inspector any questions you may have. While no two inspections are ever exactly the same, most inspections will cover the following elements of the home:

  • Inspectors look for cracks, signs of shifting, or other potential problems.
  • The lot. Your inspector will look for soggy areas or land that’s draining towards the house.
  • The roof. A home inspector assesses the general condition of the roof and looks for signs of damage or wear. However, this is not a full roof inspection. If you are concerned about the roof or if the inspector finds warning signs, you may want to arrange for a separate specific roof inspection before sealing the deal.
  • Exterior features. Examining the exterior isn’t about aesthetics; the inspector is looking for signs of decay, rot, safety hazards, leaks, or other problems.
  • The attic. Inspecting the attic gives insight into the integrity of the roof and uncovers problems such as poor ventilation or insufficient insulation.
  • Basement or crawlspaces. Home inspectors look in basements and crawl spaces for signs of water damage.
  • Electrical system. Inspectors check to make sure outlets and fixtures work, that the panel is up to code, and that GFCIs are present. They may also check the wiring in remodels, additions, or new appliances.
  • Inspectors test water pressure, look for malfunctions, and check for signs of leaks. They also listen for strange sounds and take a look at the water heater.
  • Many inspectors will check major appliances to determine their age and functionality.
  • Home inspectors examine the furnace and A/C units to see if they are still doing their job and to assess their general condition.
  • Inspectors give the place a good sniff to detect any signs of mold or mildew. They look at other features such as decks, landscaping, spas, etc. They’ll also pay special attention to any items in the house that concern you. That’s why it’s so important to be there in person.

What Can You Do with the Information?

The inspection report serves two important purposes: to alert you to problems that need to be addressed with the seller prior to closing and to give you a road map for maintaining your new home going forward.

  • Before Closing: You can’t expect the seller to fix every single item in the inspection report. Focus on the big stuff. You can ask the seller to make repairs, ask for price concessions to make the repairs yourself, or walk away from the deal.
  • Road map. The inspection report gives you an overview of your new home and the issues you can expect to face. With this information in hand, you can budget for future repairs and replacements and avoid unpleasant surprises.

In sum, home inspections give buyers peace of mind when purchasing a new home. Being prepared helps you get the most out of the process.