Whether you’re buying or selling a home, the home inspection is a critical element in the process. The home inspection is an opportunity to get a professional inspector’s unbiased view of the exact condition of the property There are some basic tips that can help you understand a home inspection report more effectively. By taking a few minutes to familiarize yourself with these tips, you will be able to get the most out of your inspection and be able to speak freely about it with your home inspector.
Do a walk-through of the inspected property with your inspector. Most inspectors will most likely have completed an inspection and then ask you and or your realtor to join them on a walk-through of the property. By doing an inspection and then a walk-through with clients the inspector will have, in essence, done the inspection twice. You should feel free to ask questions if, at any point, you don’t understand what the inspector’s looking at or talking about. Most professional home inspectors will be more than happy to explain things as they go along and answer any questions you may have.
Although inspections will cover most aspects of the house from the shingles on the roof to the basement/foundation and everything in between, certain sections are decidedly more important. This can be due to the cost of the repair or the fact that it could be dangerous to ignore a repair. Some of these would be:
Electrical Systems: This area must be up to code and in good condition. If your inspector is talking about things like GFCI or double lugged breakers and you have no idea what they are, ask.
Roofs: Be sure the roof has been checked for signs of damage to shingles or other roofing materials, damage to gutter systems, flashing and or chimneys.
HVAC systems: The age and functionality of heating and cooling systems should be checked. Your inspector may recommend service by an HVAC professional based on the age and available service records of the system.
Plumbing: The general home inspection should cover all interior plumbing. If the house is older, are any of the pipes made of lead? Depending on the age and location of the home you may want to have a sewer scope performed by a sewer/plumbing company to determine the condition of the pipes outside the house.
The most important thing to remember about a home inspection is never be afraid to ask questions, whether it is during the walk-through or after you receive the final report from the inspector. Often, home buyers will think of more questions after reviewing an inspection report, give your inspector a call if you do.