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Home Inspection Tips for Buyers

How To | September 11, 2015

Home Inspection Tips
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Getting a home inspection is part of the home purchasing process. It is very important to get an inspection because it helps find undetected problems that could potentially cost a home buyer a lot of money in repairs. According to the American Society of Home Inspectors, a home inspection is a visual assessment of a home’s structure and systems. Home inspections should be more than just structural, it should be operational as well.

Tips for Hiring a Home Inspector

Hiring a home inspector is the most important aspect to having a good home inspection.  A home buyer’s real estate agent will make recommendations for home inspectors they may have used in the past, however a home owner can go with other home inspectors.

  • If you are choosing your own inspector, do research on the home inspection services in your area. Check for reviews on Yelp, Angie’s List and Google.
  • Ask the home inspector what is included i and excluded in the inspection. A good inspector will be able to go into crawl spaces, on the roof and in the attic.
  • Ask for accreditations from home inspector organizations such as American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) or National Association of Home Inspectors (NAHI).
  • Make sure to get an experienced inspector for an older home or a fixer-upper. The inspectors will be able to look for things in the older homes that a newer inspector might not catch.
  • The inspector should be accessible for questions during and after the inspection.
  • Ask the inspector how long the inspection should last. The average duration of home inspections is between 2 to 4 hours.
  • Inspections will vary by cost depending on the location and accreditation of the inspector. Most inspections range from $300 to $600.  A good inspector is worth the money.
  • It is advised for the homeowner to be at the home during the inspection.
  • Book a home inspector as soon as you sign the real estate contract.  Inspectors can be very busy and will be booked out sometimes up to 2 weeks.
  • Inspectors will usually deliver the inspection report within 24 to 48 hours. However, they can tell home buyers if there are major repairs needed at the time of the inspection. As the inspector is doing their work, the home owner can also start compiling a list of what needs to be repaired, painted or improved.
  • After the inspection report is completed, the home owner should get estimates for costs for repairs that can be worked into a new contract for the home.

Home Inspection Checklist

There are specific things in a home that home inspection services look for ranging from cracks in the foundation to leaky faucets. The inspectors should follow a home inspection checklist when they walk through the home. Most inspections do not include fences and outbuildings. Knowing specific home inspection tips for buyers will help the inspection process go smoother. Home owners should know what the home inspectors will be looking for during home the inspection process.

  • Structural – Home inspectors will check to see if the foundation of the home is sound. They will also look for rot or insect damage and cracks in the walls.
  • Exterior & Roofing – Home inspectors will examine balconies, decks and porches to make sure that they are in good shape. Inspectors need to take a good look at the roof to see if there is damage that could add cost for the new home owners. Inspectors will also look at chimneys, gutters and skylights. Some inspectors will climb up to the roof, while others will visually examine the area via binoculars.
  • Plumbing & Electrical Systems – The home inspector will test the interior water supply and piping systems. They will check the water heater, water pressure and look for leaks around the toilet, tubs and sinks. The inspection checklist includes looking at the wiring in the home, checking to see if the systems are grounded correctly and if there are proper working smoke detectors in the home.
  • Heating & Air Conditioning – A home inspector can test the heating system of the home, but the air conditioning can only be tested when it is above 65 degrees. If the home is heated by oil, the home inspector will check on the heating oil tanks for damage.
  • Home Interior & Appliances – The home inspection checklist includes a visual scan of floors, walls and ceilings for water intrusion. It also includes checking on safety code compliance for stairs, railings, windows and doors. It also includes inspection of major appliances that convey with the home.
  • Fireplaces – If the home has a fireplace, the home inspector should check the integrity of the flue and look for any blockage or damage to the chimney.

Once the inspection and the sale of the home is complete, it is time to start planning for moving into the new home. Part of the moving process is to determine what you will need to move and what you will need to store. ezStorage has 46 self storage locations in the Baltimore, Northern Virginia and Washington D.C. area that will help with homeowners storage needs.

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