If you’re purchasing a new home, it’s important to get a home inspection. Doing so ensures that the home is worth the price that the seller asking for and makes the buyer aware of any issues that the home might have—no one likes surprises when it comes to costly home repairs, especially on a recently purchased home.
What is a Home Inspection and How Long Does It Take?
A home inspection is a visual examination of a house that is conducted by an objective and impartial home inspector. Home inspectors examine the physical structures and various systems of a home from the foundation all the way up to the rooftop. On average, a single-family home inspection takes between two to four hours to complete; however, the time it takes to complete an inspection can increase or decrease depending on the size and condition of a home. After the inspection takes place, usually within 24 to 48 hours, the home inspector will provide a home inspection report. This report includes the inspector’s analysis of the home and its different systems as well as pictures of any issues they found and recommendations for their client.
What Does a Home Inspection Include?
A standard home inspection includes evaluations of a houses heating, cooling, pluming, and electrical systems as well as its foundation, roof, attic, insulation levels, ceilings, interior and exterior walls, windows, floors, and doors. When it comes to the foundation and basement areas of a home, the home inspector will conduct a thorough examination to look for any cracked or settling concrete, rotting or damaged wood, and any other structural issues.
While there is a Standard of Practice and Code of Ethics that outlines what to expect in a home inspection report, some inspection reports are more thorough than others. During a home inspection, if a home inspector encounters things like large piles of belongings, furniture or exercise equipment, or locked doors that impede or deny access to any area of a home, it can make it difficult or even impossible for an inspector to fully inspect a home. This also applies to unsafe conditions such as extremely steep roofs or poor structural integrity that puts the home inspector’s health and safety at risk. When an inspector can’t complete a full inspection, they will make the client aware of any of the systems or areas that they weren’t able to inspect in their report.
Why is a Home Inspection Needed?
The purchase of a home is often one of the largest investments that people make in their lifetime, so it is imperative that they be made aware of any air conditioning or heating repairs or improvements that need to made before the purchase of a home is finalized. For example, if a buyer makes an offer on a house and then finds out from the home inspection report that the wood supporting the home is rotted or has been damaged by termites, the buyer still has time to renegotiate the price of the home or remove their offer completely. A home inspection can also identify builder oversights that happened during construction and major or minor repairs that need to be made by the current owner before the purchase is completed.
The home inspection process gives home buyers a better understanding of the condition their prospective home and its systems. This allows them to make decisions with confidence.
On the flip side, home inspections are also beneficial for homeowners who want to sell their home. A reliable home inspection can make home-sellers aware of repairs and improvements that can be made which will increase the sell-ability and value of their home. A good home inspection makes sellers comfortable with their asking price and buyers confident in the price they’re paying.
Do the Homebuyers Need to be Present for the Home Inspection?
A home buyer does not have to be present for a home inspection to take place; however, it is recommended that they attend if they can. When a buyer is present during an inspection, they get more information than they would from reading an inspection report because the inspector can give them additional details, insights, and descriptions that can only happen in person. Being present, also gives a potential home buyer the opportunity to observe the level and quality of the inspection and ask the inspector questions in real time. Many home buyers find that it is very beneficial to be present for the home inspection because it gives them a better understanding of the condition of the home, problems that need to be tended to, and how to better maintain their new house in the future.
Does a Home Inspector Decide if a House Fails or Passes a Home Inspection?
A professional home inspection is simply an examination and objective assessment of the current condition of a house. This means that a home inspector does not decide if a house passes or fails an inspection. Home inspectors only describe their findings regarding the current condition of a house and make suggestions about what structures or systems need to be repaired or improved. Keep in mind that a home inspection is not the same thing as a house appraisal, but it can help determine the value of a house. It is also important to note that home inspections are not conducted for a municipality and do not include the verification of a local code compliance officer.