Home Inspections – A Question & Answer Guide

A home inspection involves assessing the system and components visible and accessible to a home. This includes plumbing, heating and cooling as well as electrical, structure, roof, and other aspects. It is designed to provide a better understanding of the general condition of the home for the buyer, seller or homeowner. It is usually a buyer asking for an inspection of the house they are interested in purchasing. Home inspections are useful in confirming or questioning purchase decisions. They can also uncover costly and/or difficult to fix defects that the seller/owner might not have known about. It does not give an estimate of the property’s worth or the cost of repairs. It doesn’t guarantee compliance with local building codes, nor does it protect the client in the unlikely event that an item is damaged in the future. You can purchase warranties that cover multiple items. A home inspection is not meant to be a comprehensive evaluation. It’s merely a review of the property as it stands on the day. This includes normal wear and tear due to the age and the location. For an additional fee, a home inspection may include Radon gas testing, water tests, energy audits and pest inspections. A home inspection is also useful for sellers before listing a property. This allows them to discover hidden problems and homeowners who simply want to take care of their homes and prevent any surprises.

These are the most important results of a home inspection:

1. Major defects include large, differential cracks in the foundation, structure that is not level or plumb, decks that aren’t properly installed or supported, and so on. These items are costly to repair and are classified as items costing more than 2% of their purchase price.

2. These could lead to major defects, such as a roof flashing that is getting larger, damaged downspouts, which could cause backups and water intrusion, and a support beam not properly connected to the structure.

3. Safety hazards include exposed electrical wiring, lack GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Inrupters) in bathrooms and kitchens, as well as safety railing on decks higher than 30 inches above the ground.

These problems will be addressed by your inspector. Your inspector may recommend that you have the problem areas evaluated by licensed or certified specialists. If they notice any areas of the house that are not in alignment, your inspector may recommend calling a licensed engineer. This could be a sign of a serious structural problem.