An important part of purchasing a home, aside from the financial considerations, is a home inspection.
We've provided is a general list of what to expect and what to look out for.
You need to vet the inspector just as you would with a contractor.
- Request license- A professional inspector should always carry their license. No Proof. No Deal.
- Ask if they're currently/have ever worked for the seller's realtor. They should be working for you only.
- Ask about their education and training experience. Inspectors have a unique discipline, and they should have specific experience in residential inspections.
- Ask for references.
- Ask if they maintain a membership in a professional home inspector association. Request to see a membership ID or other due diligence
- Ask what the inspection covers-Specific requirements may apply in your state, special request for areas you want inspected.
- Request attendance during the inspection- It's invaluable to a home owner or home buyer to see through the eyes of an expert. Refusal should raise a red flag.
- Ask for duration of inspection- Two to three hours is the average depending on the size of the home/property
- Ask for cost-Varies on region, size and age of house, scope of services and more. Cost doesn't reflect a quality inspection.
- Ask for samples of previous reports
- Always ask question!
The Inspection (Pro and You)
During this time, take note of your own observations, too. You should always do your own initial inspection before making an offer also, ensure you hire a professional.
- Foundation-cracks, fissures, ruptures, sagging, shifting, water intrusion, discoloration, musty smell or bugs, draining issues, extreme weather changes (pressure on the foundation), walls buckling or leaning, windows and doors won't close correctly, crumbling or chipping concrete (vertical, zigzag horizontal, non-uniform, jutting from the floor or wall) and encroaching trees.
- Plumbing-water filtration systems, fixtures, supply lines, drains, all above-ground, exposed plumbing, shut-off valves, traps, sinks, showers/bath, toilets, kitchen, laundry room draining, venting systems, storage water tank or tankless water heater, drains, sewer pipes, sump pump and discharge inspection.
- Roof & Attic (interior)- proper insulation (including assessing R-value) and ventilation.
- Roof (exterior)- leaks, ice dams, condition of roof shingles/tiles, proper flashing(dormers, valleys, side walls, eaves and rakes) and chimney.
- Electrical-switches and outlets grounded, electrical panel box have circuit breakers, exposed wires, key splicing devices, cables secured to boxes, conductor fill, box positioning, floor and ceiling boxes, recessed lighting are clear of combustibles, cables installed in contact thermal insulation.
- Windows-water damage, wood rot and quality of windows.
- Doors-swinging and closing properly, scraping floors, cracks above the door(signal of sinking header), delamination, dents, water damage, door faces and edges sealed, weather stripping.
- Staircase-gaps between stringer and wall, too steep or narrow, handrails, horizontal support under the handrail, low headroom, treads crack, squeaky steps, steps that are springy, loose rails.
- Heating & Cooling- condensing unit, indoor coil, visible refrigerant leans, condensation drain pan, drain line and p-trap, wiring and control unit, blower assembly and thermostat operation and programming.
- Kitchen- age and condition of the appliances, vents that lead to nowhere, major appliances, range burners, ovens, refrigerators and freezers, missing stabilizing brackets and range top ventilation.
- Radon-ask your realtor if a radon test has been performed within the past year. If radon has ever been detected in the house and has a radon mitigation system been installed.
Your home inspector should be willing and able to explain things more than once until you feel confident you understand the issue and potential solutions.
Note: This information is provided as a courtesy and is for informational and entertainment purposes only. Contents of this website are subject to change without notice. This content is not intended to replace official resources.