Home Inspection 101 | Everything You Need to Know

Remember those sleepless nights of research before buying your first vehicle? So, why choose to be lazy when it comes to your first personally-owned property?

Whether you’re a buyer or a seller, it’s imperative to opt for a detailed home inspection before finalizing a property deal. Better safe than sorry, isn’t it? And if you’re dealing with real estate agents, it’s a lot easier to book a session.

Quite frankly, it’s pretty understandable for an average person not to consider it as necessary. To begin with, it can sting a little if your property is on the hot seat. These activities can also be a bit expensive, which deters most of the buyers from considering it in the first place.

As a new buyer, you may wonder how mandatory these inspections are, and also if there are any potential benefits you can enjoy by investing your time and money in it. And as a first-time seller, it is also quite natural to not know which areas you must be careful about to save your property from rapid depreciation.

In case you fall in either of these categories, don’t worry – here are the top things you need to know about home inspections.

So, without any further ado, let’s get into it!

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What Are The Key Areas That Home Inspections Cover?

Quite frankly, it’s not rocket science! For instance, suppose that you’re about to undergo a routine checkup – try to remember, how does a physician assess your health condition? Mostly, they’d examine your blood pressure, past illnesses, and several other factors in determining your fitness status. Similarly, the inspectors consider several factors before declaring whether the property is worth your investment.

As a buyer, you can benefit substantially from these activities as the professionals break down the property’s anatomy into the smallest details, so that you’re aware of what you’re paying for. Ask any homeowner; it mostly results in disclosure of issues such as foundation damages, termite infestation, and so on.

With that being said, let’s have a quick peek at the main areas that the home inspectors usually cover, as instructed by the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI).

  1. Foundation

This area, being the most vital aspect of any property, requires to be free from any sort of damage. Otherwise, the value of the house depreciates within the blink of an eye. Here, the inspectors try to assess whether the foundation shows any signs of water damages or any other issue that may subsequently lead to structural problems.

  1. Construction

As a critical factor of durability, the professionals stress a lot on whether the house is supported with premium-quality development or not. For instance, the inspectors assess whether the roof is in optimal condition, or if it demands urgent replacement. Furthermore, these experts also examine whether the wood is sufficiently protected with proper flashing, and so on.

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  1. Plumbing

Nobody wants to invest in a property that’s in dire need of renovations, which would cost an arm and a leg. For instance, plumbing is one of the most essential and expensive areas of a house that determines its overall value. And it’s not possible for a new buyer to examine it themselves, thereby calling for expert assistance. With that being said, experts search for potential leaks and other issues to ensure its optimal state.

  1. Electrical system

Similar to the plumbing system, it’s crucial to cross-check the electrical wiring of the house, just to be safe. Here, the inspectors make sure that the house is free from any sort of wiring issues or code violations to prevent any unforeseen accidental hazards.

  1. Heating/cooling systems

The new generation of property buyers is progressively looking for houses that feature high-tech heating and cooling systems. On that note, the inspectors make sure that the hooting and cooling units are in a healthy state, without the need of any immediate fixes.

Here’s a little news for the sellers – the buyers are naturally more inclined towards systems that are both energy-conserving and cost-efficient. So, in case you have an out-of-date system, the deal may not work out in your favor.

  1. Interior

You can’t ignore the interiors while examining the actual value of a property. This alone accounts for almost 50% of the house, both structure-wise and aesthetically. On that note, any interior damage can drastically depreciate your property’s worth in an instant.

Here, the inspectors examine whether the floor is equally leveled. Also, they cross-check whether the doors are correctly functioning, or if the bathroom is in a top-notch condition. Noteworthy to mention, the houses that have correctly working kitchen appliances are always favored more during the inspection.

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Which Areas Does A Home Inspection Not Cover?

Although these sessions dig out the property’s most detailed info in about a day, it’s somewhat futile to believe that it can cover every area of the home. Of course, there will be certain limits to the expertise of an inspector. Several areas aren’t physically capable of being inspected, for instance, the inside of the walls.

Moving on, the home inspectors also do not usually report any cosmetic flaw, as it doesn’t threaten the safety of the premises. For instance, they will report any visible crack on the walls, but will not care to take a peeling poster or wallpaper in consideration.

Also, one of the most critical areas that aren’t covered by these professionals is septic tanks. Likewise, similar additional establishments such as sheds and wells aren’t inspected either, mainly due to being separate exterior structures.

However, even if inspectors don’t cover these criteria, it doesn’t mean that they are impossible to examine. For instance, septic system inspectors can be hired separately to handle this issue. Similarly, several other experienced professionals are out there, taking care of such jobs with precision.

If you’re dealing with a realtor, the possibilities of finding such experts and inspectors become a cakewalk. However, if you’re handling all of it yourself, some thorough independent research could prove to be equally effective.

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How Does A Seller Prepare For An Inspection?

We wouldn’t be surprised if anybody starts believing that inspections are nightmares for house sellers, at this point. However, be assured that with just the right info and a few necessary fixes, anybody can ace these events.

First and foremost, it’s essential to acknowledge that the expert will be checking thoroughly and re-assessing every last detail. So, it’s vital to avoid any blemishes for the best results. Here are a few pro tips for the sellers to prepare for a home inspection in the best way possible.

  1. Manage the receipts properly

House inspection professionals love it when the sellers are very cooperative, which involves the proper maintenance of receipts. As you already know, the expert plans to dive deep into every possible detail of the house, including the history of its repairs. In this regard, it’s suggested that as a seller, you maintain the receipts of the routine property services and any other damage repairs.

Also, in case you have invested in any upgrades, keeping the receipts can help in winning over the inspectors in no time. For instance, if you’ve installed an advanced heating unit, or serviced the furnace, keeping proper track of the receipts will make bringing it to their attention a lot easier.

  1. Make the necessary fixes beforehand

Although it’s essential to manage the receipts, it’s even more crucial to make the required changes or upgrades that can appreciate your property’s worth to a great extent. In case the interior of your house needs some urgent fixes, ignoring it can cost severely during the inspection. Also, if you’re planning to execute a much-needed renovation, right before a home inspection may just be the best time for it.

Furthermore, it’s equally important to take care of the filters that require urgent replacement. Don’t forget that the inspectors will strip the house down to its last detail, so it makes more sense to address the secondary issues such as HVAC air filter replacements. After all, you don’t want the clogged ones to hamper the air quality during the inspection.

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  1. Demonstrate the electrical and plumbing system

Moving on to the technical part – the inspectors are very strict about the electric wiring, water heating, and plumbing systems. In this regard, you should double-check whether the secondary features of your house, such as the bulbs and other electrical appliances are working in optimal condition.

Also, ensure that water runs in every single sink without any clogs, and unclog the pipes immediately if you find any. That’s because if the inspector finds a clogging issue, it will be reported as a plumbing defect, which is honestly the last thing you’d want. Apart from keeping these criteria intact, ensure that the professional has proper access to these systems for a smoother inspection.

  1. Trim the trees, clean the dirt

Most importantly, keep your property clean. A home inspection is a lot about the first impression, and you don’t want to mess up your chances with an unclean house. It’s always better to welcome them into a clean home, which can make the deal work in your favor.

You should also trim the tree branches that interfere with your roof space, which leads to the elimination of numerous roof damage issues. Moreover, it can prevent nasty rodents from entering your property. If the dust on the foundation is visible from the exterior, slope it away as soon as possible to avoid any water damage issue.

  1. Fix the bugs

Last but not least, make sure that your house isn’t suffering from any termite infestation. It’s important to remember that any kind of pest infestation will set the inspector on high alert, which isn’t good at all. Hire a professional or get a termite spray – do whatever it takes to kill the bugs!

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Who Is Usually Responsible For The Inspection?

As buyers, it’s always ideal to cross-check anything you’re about to invest in for the best results. Likewise, buyers are usually the ones who are responsible for the inspection, from the very beginning.

But unfortunately, not a lot of first-timers realize its depth. Beginning from hiring a certified inspector, to ensuring that the process takes place under a reasonable period along with paying the associated expenses, these events are stressful as hell.

One common mistake that we’ve noticed among most of the home buyers is procrastinating the responsibilities, only to hurry things in the very end. Hear it from the experts, a last-minute rush is something you should avoid at all costs, especially when thousands of your hard-earned dollars are at stake.

First things first, plan the events accordingly. Make sure to have some wiggle room for your convenience, as it might come in handy while engaging in the legal procedures. Also, let’s not forget that despite such benefits, most of the buyers skip home inspections because of the high costs. In that regard, it’s essential to ensure that you’re financially capable of bearing the expenses before going for an inspection.

Should You Choose A Certified Inspector?

Yes, and we can’t emphasize this enough – always opt for a certified inspector. Every country, including the USA, holds distinctive standards for a home inspection that has to be met anyhow, to validate a sale. But most importantly, the inspector has to be certified for the entire process to be considered legitimate.

Although it’s a little pricier than hiring a regular contractor, you won’t regret spending those extra bucks when you receive the detailed report.

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Should The Sellers Opt For Pre-Listing Inspections?

Before we go any further, let’s have a quick peek at the basics first. What is a home inspection? It’s nothing but a minute assessment of a liveable property that helps in closing a home sale while maintaining the utmost transparency. Now, what is a pre-listing inspection? Let’s find out.

Property inspections are booked and paid for by home buyers in most cases. However, some sellers go the extra mile to handle it themselves before listing their property for others. And yes, it has its share of benefits as well.

For starters, a study had revealed that the buyers were more impressed with houses that were pre-inspected, which led to thousands of successful property sales. Let’s be honest, who doesn’t like it when all the extra hard work is taken care of? Coming to the seller, conducting this themselves eliminates the stressful element of surprise when it’s handled by the buyers.

However, not all that glitters is gold. Similarly, a pre-listed inspection can also backfire on the seller. Every inspector beats open a new can of worms, considering that no two experts inspect in the exact same way. There have been numerous instances where the inspector fails to detect any flaws that are subsequently pointed out by another individual, which ultimately hampers the sale.

Does A Home Inspection Affect The Final Sale?

There are numerous ways to look at it, but, let’s begin with the buyer’s perspective. As we know, buyers always have the upper hand when it comes to this process. Suppose the inspection reveals info about a costly replacement or a significant defect, the buyers have the right to walk out of the deal.

Although it seems rather unfair, it gets even worse when the sellers list the property back on the market. The MLS always reveals whether the house was a pending sale or not, which acts as a red flag for the new buyers when the property is further listed for sale. It’s very natural for future buyers to question a failed deal, which can be both embarrassing and detrimental.

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Now, moving on, there are also instances where the sellers can gain from a home inspection. For example, if the inspector hired by the buyer points out an unjustified defect, the seller can counter it with cross-examination by hiring their professionals. And in case the buyer’s inspector is proven wrong, the seller gets the upper hand on the deal.

In this situation, the seller can directly walk out of the deal with no questions asked, or introduce newer terms and conditions for the sale. So, in that sense, a home inspection could also sabotage a potential sale if it’s carried out wrong, giving you more reasons to hire certified professionals.

Final Words

Although all of it sounds risky, the sole purpose of a home inspection is to ensure the homeowner’s safety. If you’re capable of affording one as a buyer, it can save you from making a regretful investment. Likewise, if you pre-list one as a seller, it increases the chances of closing the sale successfully.

That being said, we hope that you enjoyed going through our extensive guide to home inspections. If you have any questions, leave them in the comments below.

We will see you soon with more interesting information related to expert property dealing, so stay tuned!

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