A big concern for my buyers, especially my first time home buyers, is the home inspection. I recommend every one of my buyers have a home inspection, even if they are purchasing new construction. The home inspection can find issues with the home that may not be seen by the naked eye. They typically take 2 hours but can save a home buyer thousands of dollars and headaches down the road.
So, what exactly does a home inspector look at?
A home inspector generally starts on the outside of a home. They typically begin with structural components, looking at the foundation (when visible), the outer walls, windows, decking, driveway, doorways, and trim. They are looking for any gaps where water may be able to seep in, cracks in the foundation, wood rot, broken seals on windows and deteriorated weather stripping.
Next, the home inspector will move onto the roof. The home inspector walks the roof line to make sure there are no weak spots, no loose or missing shingles and that all the flashing is in place. They will note anything found on the roof and will usually give a range of how much longer the roof will last. The inspector will also go into any accessible attic space to check the roof struts and test any discolored wood to make sure there isn’t any moisture or possible roof leaks. While in the attic space, the inspector will also note the amount and type of insulation they see.
After inspecting the outside of the home, the home inspector will move to the interior. Once inside, they will test the air conditioning and heating system to make sure it is not only functioning properly but will check to make sure it was installed correctly. After testing the AC, the home inspector typically checks the water heater. They test the unit as well as check the pipes for corrosion.
The inspector will then take a look at the electrical panel and all components. They will test every outlet, light and switch to make sure it is functioning properly. Once they are finished with the electrical, the inspector takes a look at the plumbing systems. They will make sure all interior and exterior drains, pipes, faucets and wastewater systems are leak free and working.
The inspectors also take a careful look at the interior walls, baseboards, ceilings, and floors. They are making sure that all of those items do not have separation, cracks or mold. Doors, cabinets, appliances, and countertops are also checked for any faults they may have.
The home inspectors take their time and look at every bit of the house. While they are not total and complete, they give you a really good snapshot of what is happening with the home at that moment in time. Usually, within 24 hours the home inspector will get the report out to you. This report is about 40 pages long, complete with pictures and an explanation of findings. I always encourage my buyers to be present during the inspections, because the home inspector can then show you their findings and advise you on what those findings mean, in person.
A typical home inspection can range from $300 – $500, depending on the size of the home. But, that investment can prevent you from purchasing a home that has major issues, or help you and your agent catch something that you may have missed that could become a problem, if not addressed early on.