Understanding a Home Inspection

This informative article comes from Angie’s List.

Understanding a Home Inspection

There are a number of things homeowners should do and know before getting a home inspection:

Get Involved With Your Home Inspection

While it’s not required that you attend the inspection, you should be there with your home inspector to discuss expectations and findings.

Demand a Detailed Inspection

Home inspectors should look for structural problems; roof damage; fire hazards, such as improperly vented chimney flues; electrical safety issues, including old wiring; and problems with plumbing and major appliances, like the HVAC system and hot water heater. Inspectors should physically crawl the attic and crawl space, if possible, rather than just taking a quick look around from the opening or doorway.

Read the Inspector’s Report

Many inspectors provide the report the same day as the inspection. The report should be thorough and easy to understand and should include narrative accounts of the inspector’s findings that are specific to your house, along with pictures and diagrams. Many inspectors will also include photographs with their reports. Keep in mind that few houses are perfect, so you should expect some issues to be found. Don’t hesitate to question your inspector about the report.

Are Home Inspections Necessary for New Homes?

Newer homes can have just as many problems as an older home. And, if you are building a home, inspections at key points during construction should be a part of the process.

Home Inspection Report Can Impact Sales Price

A home inspection report reveals problems that need to be fixed. You might use this information to renegotiate the price that you originally offered or you may be prepared to adjust your selling price. Keep in mind, sellers aren’t required to fix anything, no matter how egregious the situation.

What’s Inspected in New Construction?

In the case of a newly built home, a good home inspector should identify any problems before a builder’s warranty expires. Make sure the home inspector examines:

  • Foundation and structure
  • Exterior and interior
  • Roof and attic
  • Plumbing
  • Insulation
  • Major electrical components

Ask to join the inspector as he or she looks over the home. This gives you a chance to see any issues firsthand and to learn about your home’s structure. A typical inspection averages between $300 and $450, depending on the type of inspection, the size of the home and other variables. A thorough home inspection should take at least two hours.

Once the inspection is done, you should receive a clearly worded, detailed report delivered within a few days. A report should list the condition of the home from top-to-bottom, inside and out, with recommendations from the inspector. Don’t hesitate to ask questions about the report if you have them.

After the Home Inspection

At the end of a home inspection, speak to the inspector about the findings. If any issues seem complicated, ask to see the specific areas of concern.

The service should include a detailed written report delivered within a few days of the inspection. An inspector will likely find some issues, even if they are minor.

Make sure the inspector clarifies what’s important to get done versus what would be nice, but not essential, to do.

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