The ABC’s of Home Inspection – What’s Included, What’s Not?
What is home inspection?
A home inspection– is a limited examination of a home’s condition and is done when a home is put on the market for sale. State Laws do not require to have a home inspection or the number of inspectors you should bring. But even if the seller has done an inspection and given you an inspection report and disclosures, it is in your best interest to get a general inspection done.
How much does home inspection cost?
General inspections are relatively inexpensive costing between $200 and $600 depending upon the house’s square footage. Specialized inspections vary widely in cost depending upon what you need to get done. Sometimes sellers have already conducted a home inspection before they put the house on the market. But mostly, a buyer has to pay for this.
What is included in a general inspection?
If you use a licensed inspector, the inspection will include all items listed on the Standard Inspection List.
Standard Inspection List Inclusions:
- Complete house and garage evaluation including foundation, electrical and plumbing systems, roof; heating, ventilation and air conditioning; water heater; waste disposal; doors, windows and floors and ceilings
- Exterior including grading, drainage, retaining walls, porches, driveways, walkways, any plants or vegetation impacting the home’s condition; insulation, smoke detectors, floor surfaces and paint; fireplaces and chimneys.
What’s not included in general inspection:
- Pool, hot tub, sauna, playground equipment, security system, seawall, break wall or dock are not included in the general inspection.
Should you be present during the general inspection?
It makes sense to be present if possible when the inspection is being done. You can see things for yourself and also ask questions. Plan to spend 2-3 hours, so make sure you dress comfortably and wear clothes you don’t mind getting dusty.
You can share the past inspection reports and any disclosures the seller shared with you with the Inspector so that he can follow up on those findings.
At the end of the inspection ask your questions and ask the inspector for a summary of his findings.
Understanding the general inspection report:
Make sure you get a copy of the inspection report. Reports given by inspectors may vary. Same may give you a very detailed report with photos, while some may just give the basics like what to repair, replace, service etc.
Whatever format you get the report, spend some time with your real estate agent in trying to understand it. Ask questions so that you understand the true condition of the home you are buying and there are no surprises later on.
The inspector should be able to give you a prioritized list of what needs to be fixed immediately and what can be done at a later date. Don’t ask him for estimates on repairs. That’s something you need to work on with a contractor.
Once you get the report, decide with the contractor the costs of the repairs that need to be done immediately. Check with the seller if he is ready to negotiate and pay for some. If not, you will need to add them to the price of the house to get the true of cost of buying. If the cost is not justified by the market value of the house, now is your chance to back out of the contract (assuming you included an inspection contingency in the contract).
If you live in an area with pest problems, it is wise to get a pest inspection done. Plan to spend $150 to $300 for the pest inspection and spend time while the inspection is being done.
Download free ebook- How to Buy Your First Home to learn the basics of home buying
Do you need specialized inspections?
You may need a specialized inspector if:
- There are electrical or plumbing issues, issues with the foundation, defect in a retaining wall, drainage etc.
- Presence of toxic substances
- Property has pool, hot tub, sauna not covered in the general inspection
For newly built homes, inspections are equally important. Get a general inspection done when the house is built you may choose to also get interim inspections done during the construction. It’s not uncommon for newly built homes to have all sorts of issues like – improper weather detailing around windows and doors, chimneys that causes leaks, roof problems like badly installed shingles, building code violations or ventilation problems.
If you are in the market for a new home, start your search by getting pre-approved.
You may also like to download our free ebook – How to Buy Your First Home.