Century 21 – Blackwell & Co.

Decoding Home Inspections: What You Need To Know

October 2, 2023

Home inspection tips

Why Inspections Matter?

Home inspections are a thorough examination of s property’s condition. They uncover potential issues with a property that might not be visible to the naked eye. From structural components, to electrical systems, and everything in between, home inspections give you an accurate snapshot of what you’re investing in. Some insurance companies and lenders may require an inspection before providing financing or coverage. A favorable inspection report may lead to better rates or loan terms. Identifying potential hazards and issues early on, will prevent costly repairs or health hazards down the road. 

What Do Inspections Cover?

A typical inspection covers areas like the roof, foundation, plumbing, electrical systems, HVAC, and more. It also evaluates the overall safety and habitability of the property. Inspections provide an opportunity to learn about any repairs or maintenance needs that might arise in the future. 

Inspections cover:

  • Structural Components:
    • Foundation- Checking for cracks, settlement, and other issues. 
    • Roof- Inspecting the roof’s condition, including shingles, flashing, and gutters. 
    • Walls- Examining walls for signs of damage or moisture infiltration. 
    • Ceilings & Floors-Identifying any sagging, cracks, or other issues. 
  • Exterior Components:
    • Siding & Trim- Assessing the condition of siding materials and exterior trim
    • Doors & Windows- Checking for proper operation, seals, and weatherstripping.
    • Decks, Porches, Balconies-  Inspecting for structural integrity and safety.
    • Grading & Drainage- Evaluating the slope of the land to ensure proper water runoff.
  • Roofing:
    • Roof Covering- Examining the roofing materials for damage or wear.
    • Roof Structure- Assessing the framing, sheathing, and supports.
    • Roof Ventilation- Checking for proper attic ventilation.
  • Plumbing Systems:
    • Water Supply: Testing water pressure and checking for leaks.
    • Drainage and Sewer: Inspecting pipes, drains, and sewer lines.
    • Water Heater: Assessing the condition and operation of the water heater.
  • Electrical Systems:
    • Electrical Panels: Evaluating the electrical panel and circuit breakers.
    • Wiring: Checking the condition of wiring, outlets, and switches.
    • GFCI and AFCI: Testing ground fault circuit interrupters and arc fault circuit interrupters.
  • Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) Systems:
    • Furnace and Heating System: Inspecting the heating unit for safety and efficiency.
    • Air Conditioning: Assessing the cooling system’s condition and operation.
    • Ductwork: Checking for leaks and proper insulation. 
  • Insulation and Ventilation:
    • Attic and Crawl Spaces: Evaluating insulation levels and ventilation.
    • Wall Insulation: Assessing the presence and condition of insulation. 
  • Appliances:
    • Kitchen Appliances: Checking the operation of appliances like the stove, oven, dishwasher, and microwave.
    • Laundry Appliances- Testing the washer and dryer, if included. 
  • Fireplaces and Chimneys:
    • Inspecting the condition and safety of fireplaces and chimneys.
  • Safety Issues:
    • Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors: Ensuring they are present and functioning.
    • Radon and Mold: Assessing for the presence of radon gas and mold, if requested.

It is important to note, that while home inspections are thorough, they are not invasive. Inspectors cannot perform actions that could damage the property, such as drilling holes or tearing down walls. Therefore, some issues, like hidden defects behind walls or ceilings, may not be discovered during a standard inspection. If specific concerns exist, additional specialized inspections may be recommended. Buyers and sellers should carefully review the inspection report and address any significant findings through negotiations or repairs as necessary.



How Does Inspections Benefit Buyers?

By obtaining a detailed inspection report, buyers can make better informed decisions about their purchase. It provides insights into the home’s condition, helping buyers negotiate repairs with the seller, or adjust their offer accordingly. If an inspection report uncovers significant issues, a buyer can request repairs, a price reduction, or seller concessions. In some cases, it might even save you from investing in a property with hidden and costly repairs. Having a home inspection can provide a peace of mind to both buyers and sellers; buyers will feel more confident in their purchase, and sellers can demonstrate transparency by having an inspection report on hand. If a seller were to fail to disclose known issues (material defects), then the inspection report could serve as evidence if legal disputes were to occur. Prospective buyers are often willing to pay more for a well-maintained and inspected home. Maintaining a record of home inspections and addressing any repairs promptly, will help your resale value of the property. 

Key Takeaway

Knowledge is power. Remember, a home inspection is not about finding perfection, but rather about being well informed. Having a clear understanding of a property’s strengths and weaknesses, or potential challenges, empowers you to make the best decision for your future and future home. Do not let the mysteries of home inspections baffle you!