The purpose of a home inspection is to visually examine the physical condition and systems of a house, from the roof to the foundation. A licensed home inspector can identify the need for minor or major repairs, as well as any need for maintenance. Once the inspection is complete, you will know more about the house, which will solidify your decision in purchasing the property.
The fee for a home inspection can vary depending on a number of factors including the size of the house, and possible optional services such as septic, well, or radon testing. Do not let cost be a factor in your selection of a home inspector or the tests they will perform. The sense of security and knowledge gained from an inspection is well worth it.
Home inspections will vary depending on the type of property you are purchasing. A large historic home, for example, will require a more specialized inspection than a small condominium. Here are some basic elements that a home inspector will check. You can also use this list to help you evaluate properties you might purchase.
The inspector should look at sidewalks, driveways, steps, windows, and doors. A home’s siding, trim, and surface drainage also are part of an exterior inspection.
- Doors and windows
- Siding (brick, stone, stucco, vinyl, wood, etc.)
- Attached porches, decks, and balconies
Take note of the roof’s age, conditions of flashing, roof draining systems (pooling water), buckled shingles, loose gutters and downspouts, skylight, and chimneys.
An inspection of the inside of the home can reveal plumbing leaks, insect damage, rot, construction defects, and other issues. An inspector should take a close look at:
- Walls, ceilings and floors
- Steps, stairways, and railings
- Countertops and cabinets
- Garage doors and garage door systems
Examine the water supply and drainage systems, water heating equipment, and fuel storage systems. Drainage pumps and sump pumps also fall under this category. Poor water pressure, banging pipes, rust spots, or corrosion may indicate problems.
Safe electrical wiring is essential. Look for the condition of service entrance wires, service panels, breakers and fuses, and disconnects. Also take note of the number of outlets in each room.
The home’s heating system, vent system, flues, and chimneys should be inspected. Look for age of water heater, whether the size is adequate for the house, speed of recovery, and energy rating.
Your inspector should describe your home cooling system, its energy source, and inspect the central and through-wall cooling equipment. Consider the age and energy rating of the system.Interiors:
To prevent energy loss, check for adequate insulation and ventilation in the attic and in unfinished areas such as crawlspaces. Also look for proper, secured insulation in walls. Insulation should be appropriate for the climate.
Source: American Society of Home Inspectors