Why Get An Inspection?

It’s often said that one of the most expensive and important purchases you will ever make will be your home. However, unlike the guarantee a buyer receives with most purchases, there’s no money-back guarantee or return policy if you’re not satisfied with your recently purchased home. Once you buy a home, you’re on your own to maintain it, repair it, anticipate problems and pay the bills. This is why it’s best to know as much as you can about potential problems before you make the commitment to buy.

What Home and Property Inspectors do

The best way to understand about a home’s condition, habitability and safety is to hire a professional home inspector. A properly trained home inspector will review your house as a system, looking at how one component of the house might affect the operability or lifespan of another. Home inspectors will go through the property and perform a comprehensive visual inspection to assess the condition of the house and all of its systems. They will determine the components that are not performing properly as well as items that are beyond their useful life or are unsafe. They will also identify areas where repairs may be needed or where there may have been problems in the past. Inspections are intended to provide the client with a better understanding of property conditions, as observed at the time of the inspection.

A pre-purchase inspection for a standard sized home typically takes about two and a half to four hours. It is highly recommended that the potential buyer accompany the inspector as the inspection takes place. It can be a valuable learning experience. The home inspector will answer any questions a buyer might have and clarify the limitations of the inspection to avoid misunderstandings. Following the inspection, the buyer should receive a report consolidating the details of the inspection.

Scope of the Inspection

Home inspections are intended to provide information regarding the condition of systems and components of the home at the time of the inspection. It will help you make an informed purchase decision.

The home inspector will provide a visual inspection by looking at the home’s various systems, including interior and exterior components. The inspector will check exterior components including roofing, flashing, chimneys, gutters, downspouts, wall surfaces, windows, doors, the foundation and the grading around it.

Note that if the inspection takes place in the winter, the roof and the foundation may not be fully visible for inspection if they are covered with snow and ice. For safety and insurance reasons, the home inspector would not typically climb up on snow or ice covered roofs. However, the home inspector will inspect the roof from the ground or other vantage point. This also applies to the chimney and downspouts.

If problems or symptoms beyond the scope of the inspection are found, the home inspector may recommend further evaluation.

Interior systems that the home inspector will check include electrical, heating, air conditioning, ventilation, plumbing, insulation, flooring, ceiling and walls, windows and doors. The inspector will run the furnace and air conditioner if possible, as well as other heaters, exhaust fans, etc. Note that a home inspector is not qualified to inspect a wood-burning appliance such as a fireplace or wood stove unless they are WETT (Wood Energy Technology Training) certified.

The inspector will also look for visible signs of mold, asbestos, and other safety issues that may be present.

As with the outside of the home, the inspection of the interior systems is visual, meaning that the inspector will be unable to see behind walls or under the floor.

If you are buying a rural property it is highly recommended a septic inspection is performed.

A home inspection is also not intended to provide warranties or guarantees.

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