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Home inspection: Everything you should know

Home inspection

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Some people consider home inspection an additional cost in the property acquisition process. However, this process is crucial to a buyer’s decision whether to continue or withdraw from a property sale. A buyer must ensure that the property is in good condition when purchased. This article will walk you through the house inspection process, its purpose, and the cost when you get one.

What is a home inspection?

A house inspection is a safety and quality assessment of a property about to be sold. Generally, it determines the exact condition of the property and whether it has major or minor defects. It is commonly recommended for home buyers to help them decide on buying a property. In some countries, a seller must provide inspection reports before selling a property, as law mandates. These inspection reports are sometimes a requirement in property selling to certify a property’s safety and quality.

What is checked during a home inspection?

During a property inspection, several parts of the house are evaluated. A professional home inspector performs the evaluation. Although there is no formal education requirement to become a home inspector, some home inspectors attend training courses and receive certification. 

The inspector will check various components of the house, including the exterior and interior elements. The home’s structural aspects, including the heating and cooling systems, plumbing, electrical work, water, and sewage, are examined to ensure they function properly. The home inspector has a checklist of what to assess in the property in addition to the buyer’s request. The findings are summarized in a report showing the property’s habitability, safety, and current condition.

What does a home inspection process look like?

There are several steps in a house inspection process to visually assess the property’s overall condition. Here are the four steps:

Step 1

Select a professional and experienced home inspector to ensure the reliability and accuracy of the assessment.

Step 2

After choosing a professional home inspector, schedule the inspection and make sure everyone is available on the scheduled inspection date. 

Step 3

A thorough house inspection will be conducted on the scheduled inspection date. Make sure to accompany the home inspector during the assessment so you know what is being assessed.

Step 4

After the thorough inspection, the inspector will submit a comprehensive report. Review and discuss the report with the inspector to ask questions and raise concerns about the property if necessary. 

How long does a home inspection take?

If you consider the beginning of the property inspection up to the reporting, the whole inspection process will take a few days to complete. The actual inspection of the property will typically take two to two and a half hours to complete. Depending on the size and complexity of the property, this duration can increase.

How much does a house inspection cost?

The average cost of a house inspection in the US ranges between $280 and $400. This amount can be lower or higher depending on where you live, the property’s condition, what the inspection covers, and the inspector’s experience. 

Home inspection checklist

A home inspector has a checklist of what needs to be inspected during a house inspection. This checklist includes the following elements of the property:

  1. Exterior: The yards, gutters, downspouts, windows & screens, foundation, and doors.
  2. Grounds: Driveways, walkways, porches, patios, decks, steps, railings, fences, landscaping, retaining walls, outbuildings, drainage, and grading.
  3. Roof: The roofing material, flashing, gutters, vent pipe covers, caulking, and other components.
  4. Interior: The walls, ceiling, floors, doors, windows, plumbing and electrical systems, heating and cooling systems, ventilation, fireplaces and chimneys, appliances, and furniture.
  5. Additional considerations: Moisture problems, molds, and pest infestation.

Countries where house inspection is required

House inspection is not mandatory but highly recommended in most countries, including the US. However, countries like France and Germany have indirect requirements for property inspection. In France, the house owner is legally obliged to provide mandatory diagnostic reports, like an energy performance certificate (EPC) and asbestos diagnostics.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is a home inspection required for a mortgage?

No, a home inspection is not required for a mortgage.

What is included in the home inspection?

The home inspection includes assessing the house’s physical properties, safety, and quality. It will require assessing the exterior and interior elements of the house and other considerations that need to be checked to determine the current state of the property.

How does a home inspector work?

A home inspector works as a professional examiner of a home. They conduct thorough assessments of a property’s quality and safety and are usually hired by home buyers to provide them with reliable information on the current status of a property they plan to buy.  

Do new homes need a new property inspection?

Yes, new homes need a new property inspection because they are not guaranteed to be defects-free. 

Can you fail a home inspection?

No, you cannot fail a home inspection because it will never result in a pass or fail. The home inspector will just assess the house’s current status and provide a report on the quality and safety of the property.

What is a property inspection?

A property inspection is another term often used as an alternative term for home or house inspection. A house inspection is a safety and quality assessment of a property about to be sold. Generally, it determines the exact condition of the property and whether it has major or minor defects. 

Written by Emmanuel Jason Casas

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