How Home Inspections Work

Home inspections are the objective examination of the condition of the structure and systems of a home from its roof to its foundation. This is usually done in connection with the purchase of real estate. A home inspector, who is trained and qualified to carry out such checkups, does home inspections. After the procedure is done, the home inspector gives the client a detailed report or checklist of the findings. The client then uses the given report to create decisions about his/her potential purchase. People sometimes confuse home inspection with the term real estate appraisal. While a home inspection is a checkup of the condition of a house, a real estate appraisal is an assessment of the value of the house or any property.

Purchasing a house is one of the biggest investments a person can make. To avoid unexpected problems and difficulties, the client has to understand the systems of the newly built or existing house before purchasing it. The home inspector will help in determining the major repairs the client has to make. The inspector can also give some advice on how to maintain the house to keep it in top-notch shape. If the client is already a homeowner, then the inspector can help identify existing problems and suggest methods that might help the owner prevent costly future renovations. If someone wants to sell a house, then a home inspection can offer a person an opportunity to fix damages, which can place the house in a better selling price and condition.

Home inspectors differ in skills, ability, and experience, but a good one should be able to examine some elements of the house and can provide a detailed report showing his or her verdicts. The usual home inspection lasts for around two to three hours. The presence of the client is essential so that they can get a direct explanation of the findings and if needed, ask questions as well. Everything will also make much more sense if the client personally sees the inspector instead of depending on the photos and explanations in the report.

The detailed report given to the client must at least have the following notes:

Problems grouped into different categories ─ major and minor deficiencies, and safety issues
Things that need to be repaired or serviced and those that need replacement
Items that can still be used, but need to be regularly checked
Though it is very difficult for someone to list everything a home inspector can observe, the following are the elements that he usually examines.

Exterior part of the house: foundation, garage, exterior walls, grading and roof
Interior part of the house: bathrooms, laundry room, fire safety, water heater, kitchen appliances, heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC), electrical wiring and outlets and plumbing
The client has to keep in mind that the home inspector can’t examine everything that might cause damage because he only makes an assessment using visual cues. For example, a slanted floor might be a result of a cracked foundation. It is difficult to prove this by just looking at the floor. Unless the inspector can pull up the flooring of the house, and then he or she can’t assure the client if it’s really there. Additionally, home inspectors do not check for problems such as mold contamination, termite damage, engineering issues and other specialized problems.

Once the home inspector finished the report, the client will have different options to make. If the damages are too costly to repair, the client has the liberty to back out from the purchase, as long as the contract contains a home inspection contingency. The client can also ask the seller to repair the problems or lower the price of the purchase. If neither of the options is applicable, then the client can just directly estimate the cost to fix the problems and come up with a strategy for repair once the property is bought.

The cost of a home inspection for a normal one-family house differs geographically. The cost may also vary depending on different factors such as the age and size of the house, and other possible services like radon, septic, and well testing. Furthermore, prices differ depending on the home inspector’s qualifications such as training, accomplishments, and experience. A home inspection can cost a client more time and money, but this will surely benefit him in the long run. The knowledge acquired and assurance of safety from a home inspection that can make a house as safe and sound as possible is worth the cost.