What To Look For In A Home Inspection


When you’re looking to purchase a new home, there are many things to consider. The layout, the location, and how much it will cost you. All of these details can seem overwhelming. When buying a house, you should never overlook the home inspection. A home inspection is an unbiased assessment of the overall condition of your future home and can help prevent costly surprises down the road.

What’s a home inspection, anyway?

A home inspection thoroughly evaluates the property’s major systems, including the roof, plumbing, physical structure, heating, and electrical systems (most don’t include the HVAC system, but you should ask). It also includes an assessment of a home’s interior and exterior components—from its foundation to its windows.

A qualified inspector will evaluate these items for their condition and safety. Any problems will be recorded in the inspection report. Then you can decide what repairs need to be made (or which ones don’t).

All home inspection companies are different, but there are typically two types of inspections: standard and limited. The latter only covers parts of your home, while the “full” inspection includes everything and typically costs more.

You may still need additional inspections to dive deeper into the structural components if you have a seawall or want to inspect the sewer lines.

Why is a home inspection so important?

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You should consider hiring a home inspector because you want to know what you are buying. You want to know if there are any hidden problems or costs. You want to know if your new home is safe for your family. The only way to discover these things is to hire a qualified professional.

Home inspectors aren’t just looking at the outside of the house. They look at everything inside and underneath the house (foundation, plumbing, electrical system) and any issues with drainage, landscaping, and more. They also check how well-insulated and energy-efficient it is. This information could save you thousands of dollars every year on heating bills!

Why you need a home inspection

In many states, a home inspection is required before you can close on a home. If you’re not buying in one of those states, you’ll want to do it anyway. Here’s why:

  • To make sure there aren’t any problems with the structure or foundation.

  • To protect yourself from hidden costs that might be lurking in the home. For example, Mold in the basement that needs to be remediated could cost thousands of dollars. A good inspector will find those issues before they become an expensive problem for you!

  • To know what you’re paying for. You wouldn’t buy a car without looking under the hood first—why would you buy a house without checking out its systems? An inspection can help uncover defects like faulty wiring or plumbing leaks so that when something goes wrong later down the line, it won’t be such a surprise.

Do you need to be there?

This is a good question. While it’s not necessary to be there, having you or your agent present will help the inspector provide a thorough inspection and answer any questions you have.

In fact, in most cases, the buyer and seller will both be present for the inspection. Most states require that all parties involved have an opportunity to ask questions about their home before closing.

What’s included in a home inspection?

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A home inspection is an assessment of the physical condition of a home. It’s a way for buyers to learn about the property before moving in, as well as a way for sellers to make sure they’re getting top dollar for their property.

A home inspector will inspect every part of your house, from the roof to the foundation and everything in between, looking for any issues that may arise. They’ll inspect for water damage, mold growth, pest infestations, structural problems—and more.

Before hiring a home inspector, ask to see a copy of a previous home inspection report they’ve completed and ask if they have a home inspection checklist that details what they will look for.

What a good home inspector looks for

Look for things that are out of place.

There should be no holes in the walls, floor, or ceiling. These could be signs that the home has been compromised by termites or other pests.

Water damage

Water damage is another sign of structural issues and can lead to mold and mildew growth if left unchecked. Check for rusted metal pipes (usually copper), especially near areas where water usage is high such as showers and toilets. This should be reported immediately and addressed before any major damage occurs.

Electrical panel

When inspecting the electrical panel, a home inspector will look for several things:

  • -Is the electrical panel in good condition? Is it dented or rusted? Are there any exposed wires?

  • Is there a ground wire? If not, this is a serious safety Hazard and should be addressed immediately. (A ground wire is necessary for all circuits in your home.)

  • Is there enough space between devices? You should have at least two inches of space between light switches and outlets.

  • Are all of the wires labeled properly? All wires from an outlet should lead back to the same circuit breaker; if they don’t, they could cause a fire.

Insect infestation

Insect infestation means there’s either a pest issue or an issue with moisture build-up in your home. Both are problems that should not be ignored!

If you notice insects inside your home, this could mean there’s something wrong with how well sealed off the house is from outside elements, including pests like mice or birds getting into your attic through tiny holes in the roofing materials used during construction (wood shingles/siding).

Mold grows naturally outdoors, but indoors it thrives on moisture levels usually caused by leaky roofs/windows/basements, etc. Look closely at any areas where water might have gotten trapped within walls. Ask your inspectors to see whether the pipes have been blocked off properly or not. Improperly blocked pipes can cause mold growth too.

What kinds of things are not covered in a home inspection?

home repairs

There are many things that a home inspector will not be able to tell you about your new home. Most of these fall under the following categories:

  • The inspector is not a plumber, electrician, or HVAC technician. If you have questions about the condition of any of these systems or how they work, consider hiring an expert for this area (for example, a plumber) to help with repairs or maintenance.

  • The inspector is not a biologist or an archaeologist. If you have questions about water quality and supplies that may be buried underground, consider hiring an expert from one of these fields.

  • The inspector is not a lawyer. If it becomes necessary to file any type of legal action against your seller in order to fix problems found during inspection negotiations, contact an attorney before doing so.

  • The inspector is not a psychologist or psychiatrist. If there are mental health issues with occupants living at the property being inspected – this can change things drastically since those types of issues will usually require either temporary evacuation until treatment has been received OR permanent relocation depending on severity level etc…

Do all types of properties require a home inspection?

All properties should be professionally inspected, but not all home inspections are created equal.

The type of inspection you need depends on the kind of property you’re buying. If you’re purchasing a house, then you’ll need a full, comprehensive home inspection. This type of inspection will give you an idea of the overall condition of the house and alert you to any major problems that could be costly to fix down the road.

If you’re purchasing a condo or apartment, then a condo/apartment inspection is probably what your real estate agent will recommend. These aren’t as in-depth as full home inspections and focus on less vulnerable areas like plumbing, electrical wiring, and general building systems.

Condo/apartment inspections are also often cheaper than full home inspections because they don’t take as long to complete or require as many resources (like heavy machinery).

Home inspection rules

  • Ensure the inspector is licensed. This means that he or she passed a state-approved examination.
  • The inspector should be insured. This means that the inspection company will carry liability insurance to protect you from any problems that may arise on their watch.

  • The inspector’s business license number and phone number should be listed on any written report you receive after inspecting your potential home purchase. Along with contact information for filing complaints/questions about procedures/results if necessary.

How long does it take?

The length of time it takes to complete the home inspection process will vary depending on the size and condition of the house. Some inspections may only take an hour, while others can go on for several hours. Most inspectors will start with an exterior walk-through. The inspector will then move inside and check out things like appliances and floors before moving on to other rooms.

If there are any major issues found during this initial walk-through, they should be detailed in your report. Then you can decide whether or not you want them fixed before buying the house. If there aren’t any problems that need immediate attention (like mold growth), then your all done with the inspection phase!

How much does a home inspection cost?

how much does a home inspection cost

The cost of a home inspection is usually between $300 and $500. The price you pay for your inspection depends on two main factors: the size and age of the property, as well as how much time it will take your inspector to perform the inspection.

  • Some home inspectors charge by the hour, which means their fees can vary greatly depending on how long it takes them to complete their work. If you have a small house that’s easy to inspect quickly, then this type of pricing structure may be advantageous for you; however, if you’re looking at older properties with more complicated systems (such as old plumbing or electrical systems), then it might be better to find an inspector who charges by flat rate rather than an hourly fee.

  • Another way some inspectors charge clients is based on what they call “plus items”—additional costs that can arise during an inspection due to issues found in various areas of the property (e.g., pest control measures).

  • A good example would be termite treatment services; although not required by law in all states (and typically only offered through licensed professionals), some homeowners choose this optional service if their homes are located within termite zone areas—and so when it comes time for insecticide treatments, they could add several hundred dollars onto what they’d already spent on inspections.

What happens after the inspection?

After the inspection, your inspector will give you the final report. The report will include photos and videos of any problems they found. Any major issues will be mentioned in the home inspection report. You can use this information to talk with the seller about making repairs before you buy the home. If the seller refuses to make repairs, that may be a reason not to buy their house.

You can also use this information in your insurance claim if something happens after you move in and causes damage or injury. It’s always best to have as much evidence as possible when filing an insurance claim!

Now you see why a home inspection contingency is so important and how it can alter your entire home-buying process.

Red flags in home inspections

red flag warning

The inspector should be able to explain what they are looking for, and why it matters. If you don’t understand what’s going on, ask questions! If your inspector doesn’t like questions, they may not be the right ones for you.

You should feel comfortable asking the inspector if there are any red flags that would make them think twice about recommending this house or property as an investment (for example poor foundation).

If something looks wrong or needs attention, can they tell if it’s a big deal or just cosmetic?

In general, a home inspection is one of the wisest things you can do when buying a new house.

In general, a home inspection is one of the wisest things you can do when buying a new house. It helps you avoid problems in the future, and it can also help you negotiate a lower price on your new home. A lot of new homeowners think they know what they’re doing when they purchase their first home, but once they get into it, they realize that there’s much more to buying houses than just picking out paint colors and furniture.

A home inspection is an independent examination of the physical condition of the property at the time of Sale (or lease), which allows both buyer(s) and seller(s) to determine whether any defects exist or will develop within one year after the settlement date. Thereby allowing for an adjustment in the purchase price or monthly rent payments during that period if necessary!

A home inspection is a great way to learn more about the house you want to buy and make sure everything is in working order. It’s also important for sellers because it gives them an idea of what needs to be fixed before they sell their property. We hope our guide helped you find out whether or not an inspection is right for your situation, but if not—don’t worry!

Kurby Team

The Kurby Content Team is a diverse group of seasoned real estate experts dedicated to providing insightful, reliable information for homebuyers, real estate investors, and real estate agents. With backgrounds ranging from real estate brokerage, property investment, and residential home buying, our team combines decades of experience with a passion for demystifying the real estate world. We at Kurby are committed to helping you make informed, successful real estate decisions. Whether you're a first-time homebuyer, a seasoned investor, or a real estate professional, count on the Kurby Content Team to deliver the most relevant, actionable real estate content you need.

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