A home inspection is a limited, non-invasive visual exam of the structure and systems of a house. The home inspection report details the problems with the property so a Buyer can evaluate if the issues are serious enough to prevent the sale. The three main points of an inspection are physical condition, items in need of repair or replacement, and the remaining useful life of major systems.
It’s a good idea to be present during the inspection: you can ask the inspector questions, and the inspector can point out areas of potential trouble and may offer maintenance tips. Expect an inspection to take 2-5 hours (old homes may take longer), and expect charges of $200-$500 depending on size/square footage of the home.
After the inspection, a home inspection report is released. Keep in mind, the report won’t cover defects that are not visible, inoperable systems (e.g., A/C during the winter), or code violations.
A Buyer can submit a repair request to the Seller outlining exactly what repairs they want completed in order to move forward with the sale. The Seller is not required to make repairs, but the Buyer can use the report in negotiating (e.g., if a repair is made, the buyer will offer to pay more, otherwise the buyer will bid lower).
To hire an inspector, we can recommend those who we find reliable, thorough, trustworthy and affordable. You can also talk to friends and family who have been through the process and might have recommendations. Be sure to ask about references, memberships in professional associations, professional training and experience.