Home Inspection 101: A breakdown of what to expect during a home inspection and how to interpret the results

Whether you are preparing to sell your home or looking to set out on the market to buy a new one, you’ll need a home inspection to determine if the property is in good shape. A home inspection is a safety and quality assessment on a house involved in a sale. Before you’re able to close, the condition of the home has to be assessed internally and externally to make sure there are no damages or potential safety issues.

What happens during a home inspection?

The exterior inspection involves scanning the roof, foundation, windows, doors and landscaping. The inspection will check the roof for signs of damage, as well as looking into the condition of tiles or shingles and integrity of the home. When the foundation is being inspected, the inspector will look for cracks, water damage or any shifts in the structure.

The interior inspection will consist of plumbing, electrical, HVAC, appliances and the attic. The plumbing will be inspected for leaks, water pressure and the condition of the pipes. Wiring, outlets and electrical panels will be examined for safety and code compliance. HVAC systems must be inspected to test the whether it has malfunctioning parts, electrical problems or gas leaks, and appliances are checked to ensure they are working properly. Attics will be examined to check for insulation, signs of water damage or pests.

How much does a home inspection cost?

A home inspection varies in cost based on the kind of home, size of home, where it is located and types of inspections completed. It will usually fall between $300 and $600. The buyer schedules the inspection, so they are typically in charge of covering the costs. Different types of inspections include, but not limited to, general home inspection, pool inspection, air quality inspection, wind mitigation report, and 4-point inspection. Buyers, try to schedule your inspections as soon as possible! In areas with busy markets, these appointments could take weeks to schedule.

What happens if the inspection fails?

If a home inspection finds serious problems and depending on the terms of the contract, buyers can request a price decrease, ask the seller to make repairs or back out of the purchase. Asking for a price adjustment is common because it allows for buyers to use that extra cash to make repairs themselves rather than asking the seller to. Depending on the repairs, a buyer might ask the owner to fix the issues. With a FAR-BAR AS-IS contract, buyers can also choose to walk away from the purchase because there might be other homes on the market in better shape.

Interpreting the results

The report for a home inspection can be lengthy depending on the size of the home.  Each page is full of information that can affect the outcome of your sale. The inspector will provide information to help the buyer understand what each element of the report means. They will give a key with symbols to identify how severe each issue is. Most home inspections codes look something like this:

I = Inspected

NI = Not inspected

NP = Not present

S = Safety concern

R = General repair

The evaluation will also mention a detailed assessment of each issue, why it’s an issue and the recommendation to address it.

The home inspection process may seem intimidating for first-time sellers or buyers, but don’t let it discourage you! Working with a Realtor will ease your worries and help you find the right inspector to guide you through the process.

If you’re looking for a trustworthy partner or have any questions on the home inspection process, contact me at AmyChapman@michaelsaunders.com or 941-225-1500.