Even though home inspections are not mandatory when buying or selling a house, you’d be amazed what such a process can reveal about the house. It may be an optional procedure but you should definitely not overlook it.
What to expect from a home inspection
A home inspector examines certain elements and components of the house and include the findings in a report. The report specifies whether the problem in a safety issue, a minor defect or a major defect. It also specifies which items need to be replaced and which should rather be repaired. Also, the inspector notes the items that don’t present a problem at the moment but should be monitored closely.
What the inspector checks for
The home inspector will focus on certain key elements. For example, the exterior walls. This could reveal cracks, missing siding or possible damage from insects. The inspector also checks the garage door to see if it opens and closes properly and if the garage is properly ventilated. Another element on the list is the roof which could be damaged in some areas or have loose shingles.
Inside the house, the inspector checks the following elements:
- the plumbing. He or she will check all the faucets and showers, will look for leaks , test the water pressure, will identify the type of pipes the house has.
- the electrical work. An inspector checks the electrical panel and outlets for safety issues and is able to identify the type of wiring the home has.
- the HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) system. The inspector examines the air conditioner and furnace if it’s the case, estimates their age and informs you of any leaks and issues.
- fire safety. This includes the examination and testing of the smoke detectors and the home in general in order to identify and potential fire hazards. For example, a laundry room with a poorly-maintained dryer-exhaust system is a problem, especially if it’s poorly vented.
What home inspectors omit to tell you
Ideally, a home inspector should be 100% trustworthy and should have your best interest in mind. However, they’re not always like that and they hide things from you. For example, a home inspector can work with the agents and brokers and diminish the issues a home has on purpose.
Also, you should know that it’s ok and actually recommended to observe and accompany the inspector room to room. He or she should explain everything in the report, not just write down their findings without any additional information.
A home inspector can’t possibly check for every little problem and find everything that could be wrong with a home. So you may need other professionals in order to discover those things. However, not all of them admit this and overlook certain details.
It’s a pretty common practice for a home inspector to either also work as a general contractor or to work with someone that has such a business. This means that they profit from the problems they find in your home and this can sometimes cause them to exaggerate.
It’s better to hire a home inspector before you make an offer on a home. That’s because any problems the inspection may reveal could influence the price and the specifications of the contract.