Home inspection checklist: What do home inspectors look for?


The home inspection gives the buyer the last chance to find any problems before buying. It’s also a chance for sellers to fix those issues and negotiate with buyers.

This is what you can expect from a home inspector as a buyer or seller. Find out what the inspector is looking for and how to handle any issues found during the inspection.

What is a Home Inspection?

The home inspection is your last chance as a buyer to find any defects in the property and possibly get the seller to fix them before you close the deal.

Potential buyers may also be able to renegotiate or withdraw from a home purchase if there are serious issues with the property. This is provided that they include a home inspection clause in their purchase agreement.

A home buyer’s contract will often include an inspection clause. This allows buyers to inspect the property and identify any problems before they close on it.

You, as a seller, want to be able to anticipate what the inspector will find so that you are prepared and can make sure everything goes smoothly.

What to Expect During a Home Inspection:

  • The home inspector will inspect the interior and exterior of the home such as the foundation, structural elements, roof, plumbing, and electrical system. After that, he will provide a written report detailing the results.
  • A home inspection usually takes between two and four hours. However, it may take longer depending on how large the house is. The home inspector in Jefferson LA might take up to a few days to complete the written report after the physical inspection.
  • Buyers are encouraged to attend the inspection in order to tour their new home and ask any questions. This inspection can provide you with more information than the standard report.

Do not be alarmed at the number of defects in your report. Many will be minor and you won’t bother fixing them.

Instead, focus on the seriousness of your home’s problems. Deal-breakers can sometimes be caused by certain problems.

Talk to your real estate agent and your home inspector if serious problems occur.

What are the main things home inspectors look out for?

The American Society of Home Inspectors, (ASHI) has compiled a complete list of the things a home inspector will inspect.

  1. Heating system
  2. Central air conditioning system (temperature permitting)
  3. Interior plumbing and electrical systems
  4. Roof and rain gutters
  5. Attic, including visible insulation
  6. Walls
  7. Ceilings
  8. Floors
  9. Doors and windows
  10. Foundation
  11. Basement
  12. Structural components

The inspector won’t take apart your house to check wiring and piping. The inspector will have more information if he can access the interior and exterior of your home.

Who pays for a home inspector?

A professional home inspection is usually paid for by the buyer. Some buyers insist that the seller pay after they make an offer. This is an item that can be negotiated.

Sellers may want to have their home inspected before they list their houses. This can help potential buyers feel more confident. It can also give the owner a chance to address issues before the property is advertised.

Not all buyers will accept reports paid for by the seller. Experts recommend that buyers select their own inspector, one who is not connected to the seller or his Realtor.

What is the cost of a home inspection?

HomeAdvisor publishes a regular report on the national average cost of home inspections.

According to the report, an average house inspection will cost $340. However, it can vary depending on your location and the size of your home from $280 up to $401.

The cheapest inspector may not always be the best, especially if the state does not license them. You should ensure that your inspector is qualified and experienced enough to do a great job.

An ASHI member can provide some assurance about the competence and ethics of your inspector.

Are there any follow-up fees?

Buyers who are careful or alerted by an inspector to possible problems may wish to have additional home inspection reports done by specialists about the possible presence:

  • Radon
  • Termite infestations
  • Asbestos
  • Lead piping and paint
  • Mold
  • Water damage
  • Safety issues

Safety concerns aside, asbestos and lead were used frequently in older homes. However, they are now banned in newer homes.

Potential buyers might also need to inspect the plumbing system including sewer lines using a camera service.

Certified home inspectors may also offer additional services, such as radon testing. They will recommend asbestos testing to homes they believe are at risk.

What is the average time it takes to inspect a house?

A home inspection usually takes between 2 and 4 hours, except in exceptional circumstances.

The length of an inspection may vary depending on:

  • Size of your home
  • Numerous defects
  • The inspector must be thorough
  • The owner’s helpfulness in preparing for inspection

Buyers should attend the inspection

Why not? Ask your inspector if you’d like to come along. Most inspectors will not object.

This will give you the opportunity to tour your new home and ask questions of your inspector.

The home inspection process itself can provide a lot more information than just reading the report. It can also give you an idea of how serious or minor each issue might be.

What can sellers expect from a home inspector?

As a home seller, it is in your best interest to make sure that you have quick and easy access all the information on the home inspection checklist. These are just a few ways that you can help:

  • For example, keys for an electrical panel. Label the area where they can be found by the inspector.
  • For inspection purposes, make sure that all pilot lights for furnaces and fireplaces are turned on, even in the summer.
  • Make sure your basement is tidy. You must have a clear path down the steps to get to your furnace/HVAC/water heater, or any other items that need inspecting.
  • Make sure your attic is as tidy as your basement
  • Clear out any shady areas of your yard so that the inspector can easily reach your crawl space, drainage access points or septic tank.
  • Make sure the utilities are reconnected if the house is empty and vacant.
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Although being helpful doesn’t guarantee a better report or a higher quality product, professionals appreciate your thoughtfulness.

Do sellers need to make repairs prior to the inspection?

A home inspection checklist is a useful tool for selling a property. You can avoid minor problems by knowing what the inspector will be looking for.

Nobody can expect perfection. It is rare to find a home inspection report that is clean and clear. It could be that you have already resolved some issues and the price has been adjusted accordingly.

Cherry-picking small, simple, and affordable problems can dramatically reduce the number of defects found in a report. The shorter the list, the greater your chances of closing the sale without any issues.

How to get a better report on your home inspection

Home inspectors who are certified are also people. They associate a clean, pleasant-smelling home with those who take care of their property, just as everyone else. This will make the inspection go smoothly.

You have probably just recently decorated your home to show it and it is in near-perfect condition. You should be looking for any new problems. Get them fixed as soon as possible if a shingle or pane of glass have cracked.

Also, take your furnace or HVAC to a professional if it is acting up or needs maintenance.

You don’t have the funds to invest in expensive projects at this time. You might consider any quick wins. Your buyer will likely try to get a lower price by leveraging any inspection reports that have negative marks. You never know what you might find. You may even be able to save some money.

The next steps following a home inspection

If there are no obvious or minor problems with the home inspection report, you can continue the home-buying process as normal.

The seller or their Realtor may be willing to provide a list with minor problems to fix. After moving in, you can reduce your list by asking the seller to fix a leaky faucet or replace a missing doorstop.

You may wish to inspect the repairs after they are completed to ensure that all items on your checklist have been fixed.

Serious issues must be addressed

If the home inspector finds safety or structural problems, you will need to decide whether you should buy the house.

You will need the following to make a move.

  • Additional inspections Home inspectors do not have to be experts in all aspects of home construction. To assess the condition and determine the cost of repairs, a specialist like a structural engineer will need to inspect the house.
  • Negotiating the price: You will need to make repairs before you can purchase the home. If you are willing to buy the home as it is, the seller might agree to lower the price. The seller might agree to correct the problem before closing
  • Follow up: If your home needs major repairs, such as foundation lifting or water diverting, call the expert who diagnosed it to return out and inspect the quality of the repairs

Use the home inspection to guide your home improvements

You can get valuable information from a home inspection before buying a house. They can also help you make the right decisions after closing. The home inspection report can be used as a guide for scheduling and planning future repairs.

If, for example, the HVAC system is 15 years old with an inefficient blower and was noted in the report, it’s time to plan ahead for the replacement of the HVAC system within the next few years.

Your home inspection can help you determine the level of protection you need to purchase a home warranty. You can choose which parts of your home you want to be protected by some warranties. The most dangerous systems in your home should be inspected.

There are many defects in my inspection report! What should I do?

Many reports list many defects. Some lists of defects can reach three figures. This is because there is no perfect home, especially when the property is only a few decades old.

Do not worry about how long the inspector’s list is; instead, focus on the severity of the problem.

Many problems, such as cracks in the driveway or loose doorknobs, are so minor that you don’t bother to fix them immediately, even though they are there.

However, there are some issues that can prove to be a deal breaker: issues with the home’s physical structure, safety issues like lead pipes, improper installation of furnaces or water heaters, and others.

If you find these issues, talk to your real estate agent and home inspector about the best way forward.

Home inspection vs. home appraisal

To assess the property’s value, mortgage lenders will require a home appraisal. A home appraisal is required as part of any borrowing process.

However, this appraisal won’t reveal any specific information about the home’s condition. Home appraisals will focus more on the location, size, and general condition of the home.

The appraiser is not like a home inspector and will not climb on the roof to look for problems.

Need help buying a house?

A professional home inspection is a great idea, regardless of whether you are a first-time homeowner or an experienced one.

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