What Does a Home Inspector Look For?
A home inspection can make or break a home sale, but it can also be an important tool to learn about potential hazards in your home before they become an issue. Picture that leaky bathroom sink – you may not know the water is dripping down behind the cabinet until it’s too late and you have a mold problem. Instead, hiring an inspection company can identify these problems before it escalates, allowing you to do preventive maintenance that could save you a lot of money down the road.
What do home inspectors do?
In short, a home inspection is a complete visual examination of your physical home, as well as the systems inside. An inspector will enter your home and check all of the basics that are needed to make your home a livable structure. They’ll go through the basic physical structure, which can include the foundation, roof, walls, basement, exterior siding or panels, flooring and any other structural components. In addition, they’ll cover your interior plumbing and electrical systems, which could include air conditioning, heating, pipes, water and water heaters, light fixtures and major outlets.
Basically, it’s the job of the home inspector to make sure the home is in working order, and, as a buyer, you want to make sure you’re making a good investment.
What should I expect with a home inspection?
No home is going to be perfect, but usually, home buyers want to know what they’re getting into before they make a large investment. Since few home buyers are construction experts, they’ll want a professional home inspection to know exactly what comes with the home. As the seller, a proper home inspection can make or break the sale of your home. A bad report that shows many major flaws could have a potential buyer backing out of a deal. Expect that the home inspector will check out your HVAC systems and filters, plumbing, electrical sockets and fixtures, major appliances, inspect for mold and mildew, and check the foundation and external structure.
Home inspection tips for sellers:
- Do your own inspection before putting the house for sale. Have a company fix any mold issues, as well as repair water damage or potential leaks.
- Check carbon monoxide and smoke detectors, as these will be inspected.
- Clean and prep your home in a “spring cleaning” style – change filter, clean major appliances and have your duct work professionally cleaned.
- Give inspectors access to every room in the home. Yes, every room. This includes basements, attics, crawl spaces and garages, in addition to the main living space. Cut down inspection time by creating easy access to these places as well, including moving cars or storage boxes and clearing off external crawl space doors.
- Schedule time away, especially if you have pets or young children. You don’t need to be there for the inspection, and your pets or children could get in the way. Instead, head to a park or friend’s house for the day!
When should I hire a home inspector?
The most common time to hire a home inspector is when you’re planning to purchase a home. Most commonly, after the potential buyer has put an offer on the home and signed a purchase agreement or intent to purchase, they hire a home inspector to come look at the home. Buying a home may be the largest investment you will ever make, so you want to learn as much as you can about the home before you spend money on it. A home inspector may identify potential hazards, existing issues or even things that may become an issue in the future. The more you know about your home, the more confidence you have (and the more you might be able to bargain for a better deal with the seller!)
Home inspection tips for buyers:
- Include the inspection in your sales contract. This allows a specified time period during which you can have a professional inspection of the property.
- Do your homework and hire a good home inspection company with good reviews. Your real estate agent might have someone they recommend as well.
- No home is perfect. There will be problems that your home inspection identifies. However, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t buy the home! If it’s a small issue, such as a leaky faucet, you could request the seller fix the leak or knock some money off the price.
- Read the report when you get it back. Every inspector will do things a little differently, but there will be a standardized home inspection checklist they should follow that notes any defects, from “cosmetic,” a superficial flaw that doesn’t impact function or safety, to “major” or “material” defects, which could be a major component that isn’t working that will need repair that could significantly impact the home’s value.
- Decide what’s important. Can you live with or refurbish that bit of chipped paint? Will the aging deck be a burden on you too soon after purchasing? Know what you can fix and what matters to you.
In addition, as a current homeowner, you may want to have a home inspection to identify potential hazards in you home. This might be the time you learn about a leak that could cause mold or preventative maintenance to ensure your basement doesn’t flood in the coming winter. If you haven’t had a home inspection in several years, or if you purchased the home without a home inspection, hiring a home inspector might be a great way to ensure you’re keeping your home in tip top shape, and help you identify any preventative measures that will prevent costly repairs in the future.
As a seller, a home inspection might be the perfect way to identify simple things you need to fix that mean you can sell your home for a higher price in better condition. Simple fixes, such as repairing sink leaks or making minor roof repairs, can go a long way in getting more money out of your home sale.
A home inspection can make or break the sale of your home. It can also be a handy tool to learn what preventative measures you can take to avoid costly repairs down the road. If you are thinking about selling your home, and need assistance with any mold or mildew concerns, contact the mold remediation experts at Allied 24/7 Property Restoration. Like our name suggests, we are available to help 24/7, and we’d love to help you make the home-selling process as stress-free as possible.