Buying a new home is both an exciting and stressful process! Finding one is only the beginning: after your search, you enter the due diligence period. One of many – but one of the most important – things you’ll do in this time is schedule a home inspection.
Like most aspects of buying a home, understanding your home inspection is crucial. You can use it as leverage with the seller, to make warranty claims or repair requests, or to better understand and take care of your home. With that said, here’s a quick guide!
Why Do You Need an Inspection?
Not all problems with homes are as obvious as a hole in the wall. Many issues that can cost big money are hidden in crawlspaces, under sinks, inside walls, and other places you may not think to look. A home inspector understands how the structure and systems of your homes work, and is a neutral third party who will give you objective data on current or potential issues.
With new construction, a home inspection lets you check that everything is perfect in your brand new home. With existing homes, it can significantly affect negotiations or identify what repairs should be made.
What Does the Inspector Look For?
Your inspection is primarily divided into two categories: structure and systems. The structure section checks for things like plumbing leaks, cracks or holes in the siding and walls, loose flooring, and even minor details like cracked outlet covers. Systems inspections include the HVAC, heat pump, water lines, lighting, and more.
You get a report from your inspector that is very comprehensive. Don’t freak out when you see pages upon pages of things that are “wrong!” The inspector is required to report everything they find, no matter how small.
The International Association of Certified Home Inspectors, or InterNACHI, certifies most home inspectors in the US. They outline their standards in full on their website.
Certain specialized systems and concerns are not covered in a traditional home inspection. You may have to order additional inspections for:
- Radon, a naturally occurring element that is harmful in large doses.
- Wood-destroying insects like termites.
- The roof, especially if the seller can’t tell you when it was last replaced.