Home Inspection 101

Home Inspection 101 - Realtor Nick Rogers

As a home buyer, it's a good thing for you to take a close look at the ins and outs of the property you're interested in. Some people who are especially skilled in-home maintenance and repairs might even notice immediate issues with the house after looking around. When it comes to a true, thorough home inspection however, you're going to want to hire a professional.

Many homeowners know enough to take care of their homes and keep up to date with simple repairs, but the underlying foundation and systems that make up their home are a different story. Similar to how you would hire a professional electrician to wire a new house or a plumber for laying new piping, you need to hire a home inspector to look at the property you'd like to purchase. The professionals who conduct home inspections have specialized training and know exactly where to look, what to look for, and will give you all the information you need in a final report.

Having an understanding of the home inspection process as well as knowing what to keep an eye out for yourself will put you in the best position as a home buyer. Whether you end up purchasing the house or not, the inspection will give you peace of mind knowing that you're making an informed decision. Here is generally what you can expect during the typical home inspection process.

Start by hiring a professional home inspector

The first step to hiring a home inspector is to do your research. Look for a reputable company that has positive online reviews. Take a look at their inspection services and how they approach the process. Pricing is an important factor and you don't want to overpay for the work, but it also might not be in your best interest to find the cheapest company either. You should find a place that has transparent pricing and offers free consultations. For most homes, a decent home inspection will run about $300-$600 depending on the size of the property — it is more than worth the price for what you're getting.

It's also helpful to check with the home inspectors about how they will deliver their findings to you. Usually it's in a report format, but you should make sure it will be written in plain language so it's easy for you to understand. Another question to ask is, will they be available for follow-up questions after the inspection is complete? And, do they offer any guarantees? Brining a home up to code can be an involved task so making sure the inspection company is open to questions you might have later on is beneficial.

It's important to note that a home inspection is not always a required step in the purchase contract. It's up to you, as the buyer, to make it a point to hire an inspector who can identify problematic aspects of the structure whether it's a house, townhome, or condo. Set up your future self for success by taking advantage of conducting the inspection prior to signing the final paperwork. If you have an experienced realtor, they should be able to give you a referral to home inspectors they've worked with in the past.

You also have the option of negotiating that the seller pays for the inspection, and your realtor can help you with this if it applies to your home purchase. It's to your advantage to pick the home inspection company yourself rather than leave it up to the seller because you will want to find a place that you trust. The professional inspection serves the purpose of protecting you and the residents of the home by finding anything that will affect your health and safety.

What happens during a home inspection?

During a home inspection, you can expect a few things. First and foremost, the job of the inspector is to conduct an in-depth examination of the property for any issues. Essentially, an inspector's job is to make a list of the potential concerns and organize the problems in a report that is easy for you to follow.

The major areas that inspectors look for include problems with moisture that could lead to mold, potential fire hazards, electrical issues, and carbon monoxide or gas leaks. The inspection should also include things that, if broken, require expensive repairs such as the roof, appliances, plumbing, the water heater, and the furnace as well.

Here is a list of what the average home inspection addresses:

  • Moisture problems
  • Mold assessment
  • HVAC and gas leaks
  • Smoke/CO detectors
  • Electrical panels
  • Water pressure
  • Hot water temperature
  • Garage door safety
  • Proper drainage
  • Pool safety
  • Improper modifications of space
  • Walking hazards
  • Crawl space hazards
  • Chimney issues
  • Evidence of pests
  • Security gaps
  • Insulation
  • Appliances
  • Foundation issues
  • Plumbing

What happens after a home inspection?

The inspection itself takes about two to four hours, and then the inspector will go over their findings with you. They should be able to walk you through any of the defects, things that might require future repairs, and the functioning items in the home so that you have a good idea about where the home's condition currently stands.

Hopefully there are no issues or only a few to address, but if there are any concerns, it's important to work it out with the seller. One option is to have the seller cover more of your closing costs that would make up for the cost of repairs, but if the home is in need of expensive repairs, it could be best to have the seller make the repairs themselves. It depends on the exact situation though and can vary from case to case.

Before signing on the dotted line for purchasing your new home, it's also a smart idea to do your own version of inspecting. Take a walk through the neighborhood at different times during the day. Drive by the home at night time. Are the streets quiet? See who your potential new neighbors will be. Conduct your own lightweight research in the community by going out to eat at some of the local restaurants to get a feel for the environment. Ask yourself if this is the place that feels like it could be home.

With the data from the home inspection and your own inspecting of the neighborhood, you and your realtor should have sufficient information in order to feel comfortable making any decisions. Your realtor should also be able to help you strategize around how to address any concerns that arose from the inspection. Rest assured in your new home that you're moving into it without any worries because it has been inspected by a professional.

If you're looking for a top realtor in San Diego, contact Nick Rogers today!

Real estate agents affiliated with Coldwell Banker are independent contractor sales associates and are not employees of the company. Coldwell Banker and the Coldwell Banker Logo are registered service marks owned by Coldwell Banker Real Estate. While some properties on this site may not be Coldwell Banker's exclusive listings, Coldwell Banker has ongoing relationships with agents in those markets. Please contact Coldwell Banker for assistance. All information on this site is deemed reliable, but not guaranteed. All information should be independently verified.

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