Homeowners Corner: What should a home inspection cover

Home inspection is a vital part of the home buying and selling process. It can help home sellers prepare their home for sale and home buyers avoid expensive repairs later. Having regular home inspections every few years also provides homeowners with valuable information on how to maintain their investment and even improve home value. Here is everything you need to know about residential home inspection and what to expect from a home inspector.

What Does a Residential Home Inspection Entail?

A residential home inspection is a visual, non-invasive inspection of many different components of the home. A highly trained and certified home inspector will examine the home from the foundation to the roof, where accessible and safe to do so. This includes electrical wiring, plumbing, HVAC equipment, and more. It is important to note that the inspector will not be moving furniture or other items to get to inaccessible areas, so home sellers should prepare their home for inspection. After completing the home inspection, your home inspector will provide a detailed report with findings. Your local WIN Home Inspector will also provide maintenance tips and solutions, and be available for any follow-up questions.
A home inspector will examine the following components of the home where accessible and safe to do so:
Structure – The inspector will examine the foundation of the home and the overall construction. This includes checking if siding appears loose or damaged, if the windows and doors function as expected, if screens are present and in good condition, if any thresholds are loose, and if there is any rot.
Exterior – An exterior inspection covers the roof, gutter system, and crawlspaces. It will also check surrounding landscape such as walkways, driveways, steps, decks, fencing and patios, and whether the landscape allows for proper drainage.
Interior – This part of the inspection covers everything from the chimney to skylights to the attic, basement, and walls, floors, and ceilings. Your inspector will point out any issues they find and include them in the home inspection report. Common issues include water damage, loose plaster, damaged fixtures, cracks, and more.
Electrical – Your inspector will check electrical components including light fixtures, electrical outlets, and major appliances. They will also check the HVAC unit for proper function.
Plumbing – Finally the home inspections covers bathroom and kitchen fixtures as well as the home’s water heating system.

What to Expect

It is extremely rare that any house, even a newly built one, is 100% issue-free. It is vital to find a reliable home inspector who will provide a thorough home inspection, which will help identify issues and answer questions. Your trusted home inspector will also be able to provide suggestions for next steps, such as how to identify issues with leaky roofs.

How to Find a Good Home

A quick Internet search will turn up dozens of results for residential home inspection services in your area. Before settling on one, take the time to conduct some research and ask questions. Getting the right home inspector can mean the difference between discovering material potential issues in the home before sale or having to deal with costly last minute or future repairs.

Recommendations and Reviews

Ask friends and family for recommendations and read reviews online. Your real estate agent may also suggest a home inspector. A home is a big personal investment. It’s worth taking the time to find the right inspector.

Ask to See a Sample Report

Many reputable home inspectors have sample reports available on their website. If not, ask to see a sample report. The sample report can give you a good idea of how thorough the inspector is. It should identify and detail any issues or defects, and provide suggestions on how best to fix it. The report should also include plenty of photos, be well organized, and easy to follow.
Avoid inspectors who only offer a checklist—this is not a complete report. A good report will give you an excellent idea of the home’s condition, both positive and negative. This includes noting items that need fixing, recommending items that should be fixed, and identifying any unsafe conditions.
Lastly, ask how long after the inspection you will receive the report since timing is crucial during the home sale process.

Ask About Credentials

A reputable inspector must be certified and insured. Do your own due diligence to ensure that your home inspector has the appropriate certifications and/or licenses.
After purchase, homeowners should consider having a Home Health Check Inspection every 3-5 years. During this inspection, the home inspector will provide information on the current condition of the home. Regular inspections can help catch issues early and provide suggestions for next steps before the issues become larger problems.