Congratulations! You have put an offer on a house. Your next step should be to get the house inspected. A home inspection will tell you if there are any problems with the house you are buying. A home inspector performs a visible inspection of the house’s internal and external systems.
What a home inspector should inspect: these are general areas and things he should be doing but is not meant to be an exhaustive list.
– Building Interior walls, floors, ceilings, doorways, etc: for integrity, soundness, cracks, maintenance issues, etc.
– Kitchen & Laundry Areas and Fixtures: for leaking, age, plumbing issues, age of cabinets and condition, etc.
– Bathroom Interiors and Fixtures: here again he should be looking for age and condition, for leaks or maintenance issues, etc.
– Fireplaces & Chimneys: for integrity, functionality, condition, cracks etc.
– Garages & Carports: for functionality, integrity, structural soundness, electrical, general condition.
– Building Exterior walls, foundation, windows, etc: for integrity, structural soundness, cracks, maintenance issues, problems of leaking, insulation etc.
– Roof, Attic and Gutters: for age and condition of shingles, insulation quantity and quality, condition etc.
– General Foundation: for structural soundness, condition, for leaks and dampness on the inside, insulation etc.
– General Drainage: If there is dampness in the basement looking for a potential cause.
– Fences & Gates, Driveway, Patios and Covers, Decks & Balconies, Exterior Stairs: looking at each for general condition, possible maintenance issues, any safety issues, etc.
– Plumbing: anything we have not already covered.
– Electrical: size and condition of the service, any visible issues with switches or fixtures etc.
– Heating and Air Conditioning Systems: looking for the age and general condition,
After the inspection, the home inspector will create a report listing all defects found in the home and present it to the home’s potential buyer.
However, a home inspection is not a guarantee; rather, it’s a thorough professional inspection of the houses visible interior and exterior. A home inspector does not inspect a home to make sure it’s up to code, but he should be able to give you some feed back on it. He/she inspects for damage such as water damage, malfunctioning electrical switches and outlets, non-functioning fixtures, cracks in ceilings and visible structural imperfections etc.
An honest home inspector should not suggest contractors or repairmen to make repairs on any of the defects he/she finds. This would be a conflict of interest. If a home inspector is inspecting your home for imperfections and defects, and then refers you to a specific repairman who can make these repairs for you, you have to think whether or not the home inspector is being honest with you regarding the specific defects he/she found.
A home inspector is a trained professional who knows what to look for. Small cracks, water stains, and minor electrical problems could be an indication of much larger problems. To you and me, a malfunctioning electrical switch is just a minor annoyance. A home inspector knows how to interpret these defects and determine if the problem is much larger.
If a home inspector offers to make repairs himself or suggest a “friend” who can make the necessary repairs, I would not trust him.
A home inspection helps you establish the structural integrity of your home. However, even though it is a professional analysis of your home’s internal and external systems, it is not a guarantee. That’s why when you choose a home inspector you need to be sure to check his/her credentials. A quality and honest home inspector will be insured, educated, experienced, and certified by a top home inspection association.
Good ones are well worth the cost of the inspection.