In your excitement to buy a home, it's easy to miss a small crack in the foundation, some leaky pipes under the house, or a roof that needs to be replaced.
The sellers worked hard to make the home look as desirable as possible, but looks don't tell the whole story. That's where your home inspection comes in.
What about inspections for sellers?
For sellers, a home inspection is also a good idea prior to listing the home for sale. An inspection can help you turn up issues ahead of time so there will be no surprises when serious buyers start inquiring. Knowing in advance means you'll be able to consider all your options – either making repairs before listing or pricing your home to account for anything you're not going to fix.
For more information about inspections for home sellers, see the Tips on Selling a House.
What does a home inspection include?
A general home inspection will evaluate the house and adjoining structures from top to bottom, inside and out, including but not limited to:
Roof, porches, driveways, garage, drainage, retaining walls, grading, and plants or vegetation that may impact the home's condition
Electrical and plumbing systems; foundation; heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems; water heater, septic system, electrical system, windows, doors, floors, ceilings and walls
What a home inspection doesn't cover
The home inspector can't make any alterations in the course of inspecting a home – so there’s no digging up the ground, lifting carpets, knocking out walls, etc.
Also consider that a home comprises tens of thousands of parts, pieces, nooks and crannies. An inspector will look at a representative sampling, but there's simply no way to check every single element.
RE/MAX Home Inspection Tip: Many home inspectors know about major appliance recalls, but do your own research by noting model numbers and then checking for trouble online.
RE/MAX Home Inspection Tip:If an area of the house is not accessible because of barricades, such as boxes piled in front of a door, request that the seller remove these to allow for a thorough inspection.
Specialized Inspections –
When Do You Need One?
Some states and cities require additional inspections on top of a general inspection. Beyond that, you may just want a specialized inspection due to a special circumstance or particular concern you or your general inspector may have.
Examples of specialized inspections:
• Sewer inspection
• Chimney inspection
• Mold inspection
• Lead inspection
• Asbestos inspection
• Pest inspection
• Inspection of a special feature such as swimming pool or hot tub
RE/MAX Home Inspection Tip: Check with your agent to see which inspections are required in your area and which may not be required, but are standard.
RE/MAX Home Inspection Tip: If a home inspector tells you not to attend the inspection, find someone else. This is a classic red flag.