Residential Home Inspections: Know The Details

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Home Inspection

What Are The Benefits of a Home Inspection?

Buying a home is a significant investment. It’s essential to take the time to find a reputable and trustworthy home inspector before you close on a property. Ever been in a situation where you’ve had to call someone for help, or you’ve been in an accident? If so, you know how terrible it can be to have to deal with those unexpected costs. Having a home inspection done by a qualified inspector can help you save thousands of dollars. It can also give you peace of mind knowing that your home does not have any expensive repairs that could surprise you after moving in.

What Does a Home Inspection Include?

A home inspection is a visual and non-invasive inspection of the interior and exterior of the home. A licensed and trained inspector will evaluate the home’s components and simulate normal operations for these components. The inspector will look at all accessible areas within the home. Furniture and personal belongings are unable to be moved. We recommend coordinating for the property to be prepared by having critical areas accessible before the inspection appointment. These areas are:

  1. Access to the HVAC System
  2. Access to the Water Heater
  3. Access to the Electrical Panel
  4. Access to the Attic Access Hatch
  5. An Empty Dishwasher
  6. An Empty Laundry Washer & Dryer
 
Upon completion of the inspection at the home, the inspector will prepare a detailed inspection report that will contain their findings. The report will include all inspected items and found to be operational and all inspected items found to require repair. There will be a summary at the beginning of the report highlighting the areas of concern.
 
Foundation –  The inspector will evaluate the foundation and grading of the home, looking for proper water discharge and any signs of moisture penetration around the home’s exterior perimeter.
Structure – The inspector will evaluate the condition of the structure of the home, including the exterior materials, looking for loose siding, or damaged bricks and mortar. 
Interior – The inspector will thoroughly evaluate the home’s interior, including everything from the basement to walls and ceilings. The inspector will carefully look at all interior areas to ensure a thorough inspection of the components.
Electrical – The inspector will evaluate the electrical systems, including the main panel looking for any safety hazards. They will also evaluate all light fixtures and electrical outlets accessible in the home.
Plumbing – The plumbing system in the home will be fully inspected, including the kitchen, bathroom, and hot water heater.
HVAC – The heating and air conditioning system will be inspected for proper function and combustion.
Roof – As part of the roof inspection, the attic will be evaluated and the exterior shingles and flashing on the roof. The inspector will look for any damage or problems that may lead to future concerns, such as clogged or dirty gutters, missing or loose shingles, or evidence of past roof leaks on the interior attic sheathing.
 
 

Attic Insulation

How Much Does a Home Inspection Cost?

In the D.C./Maryland/Virginia metro area, the typical home inspection can cost anywhere between $300 and $900 depending on the home’s size and structure. Properties like one bedroom condominiums tend to be on the lower side, whereas larger detached homes tend to price closer to the higher end of the spectrum.

Price is an important factor in the decision-making process, but keep in mind that cheaper inspections are not always better. It is often worth the investment to have a highly trained and highly qualified inspector check your future home for any defects that may come back to cost you more money in the long term.

In addition to the home inspection, you should consider scheduling additional services such as radon testing, termite inspections, and mold testing to catch any problems that may arise outside of the scope of a standard home inspection. Some inspectors have package deals that may include these additional services at a discounted rate. Ask your inspector for their best rates on additional inspection services while scheduling.

When Should You Schedule Your Home Inspection?

Make sure that you begin booking your home inspection as soon as your purchase contract ratifies. The typical contingency window ranges from 5 to 10 days from the date of signing, which gives you a limited window of time to inspect your new home. The sooner you schedule your inspection, the better. It is not uncommon for home inspectors to be fully booked 2-3 days in advance, which may present unnecessary risks for you when negotiating repairs with the seller.

On the flip side, as a seller, you should book a home inspection before listing your home to catch any issues that may arise in the negotiations before the property sells. Making repairs earlier in the transaction process can expedite your sale and avoid unnecessary delays at closing. Inspection reports offer valuable leverage for the scheduling party.

Finding The Right Home Inspector

Searching online will provide a comprehensive list of home inspectors; we recommend ensuring that your inspector is state licensed by checking your state licensing board and searching for the inspector’s name. State government licensing boards often have license lookup search engines available online to quickly verify if your home inspector is licensed and qualified to perform your inspection. Your realtor may have recommendations for home inspectors or friends and family who have had a positive experience in the past. Also, realtor associations have affiliate member databases that can be a productive area to find a home inspector near you.

Many home inspectors also list themselves on online business websites such as Yelp, Google My Business, Home Advisor, and more. Take some time to browse through the reviews of home inspectors in your area to find out what other customers thought of their services. They may reveal some insights that you would not have otherwise thought to bring up with your inspector or realtor.

Most reputable home inspectors offer sample reports available on their websites or ads online. Sample reports help you understand how thorough your inspector will be, giving you a greater understanding of the scope of the home inspection. 

Lastly, check the websites for ASHI (The American Society of Home Inspectors) and InterNACHI (The International Association of Certified Home Inspectors) for certified members who can assist you with scheduling your inspection.

What to Expect in Your Home Inspection?

Nearly all homes will have some issues, even new construction properties. When you receive your home inspection report, there will be repair items identified and recommendations for enhancing the longevity of components in the home. 

It is crucial to get a qualified home inspector to perform your inspection and that it is done comprehensively to find all defects that may exist. While scheduling your appointment, ask your inspector if they offer additional services such as termite & pest inspections, radon testing, and mold testing. You will want to be sure that any potential issues in your new home will be caught at the earliest opportunity.

With that said, it is also important to note what items may lie outside the scope of a general home inspection. While your typical home inspector is thorough and detailed to the best of their ability, certain items may not be able to be directly inspected without the assistance or equipment of a specialist. One such service may be well and septic inspections. Procedures such as this can be invasive to the property and involve significantly more specialized equipment. Likewise, a general home inspector may be unable to or refuse to cut drywall to inspect the lines within the walls. As previously noted, home inspectors perform visual and non-invasive inspections of the home, leaving as much of the property unchanged as possible.

One exception to this is in Pre-Drywall Inspections that take place during the construction of a new home. In the few days before a home builder begins to install drywall, the skeleton and utility lines of a newly built home are visible and able to be inspected. If you plan to buy a home currently under construction, it is a good idea to schedule a pre-drywall inspection before the builder installs the drywall. A pre-drywall inspection will help you avoid any costly and invasive repairs that may arise in the future due to faulty or inadequately installed lines.

Keep in mind, any reputable and legitimate home inspector will not perform repairs of any damages found in your home. An offer of repair services presents a conflict of interest. However, feel free to ask your inspector if they have any references or recommendations for repair services in your area. Your inspector may also be able to inform you on how to fix the damage on your own.

How Long Do Home Inspections Take?

The length of a home inspection is primarily affected by the size and style of the home. Depending on your area, the typical home inspection can range from 2 to 5 hours. Be ready to budget a good portion of time for your home inspection. 

When your inspector finishes the inspection, ask them about what they found. They may have critical information for you about components of your new home that need to be addressed as soon as possible. If you need it in writing, rest assured that any reputable home inspector will provide you with a written report shortly after the inspection is complete

What To Do After Your Home Inspection

Once your home inspector has delivered your report, review the findings with your agent to formulate a plan for your deal. Buyers and sellers will need to communicate on what issues will need to be repaired before the contract’s deadline. The seller may decide to repair the discovered issues or provide the buyer a concession on the home’s price to have them repair it themselves later.

Should the contract contain a home inspection contingency, then the buyer may terminate the contract based on the findings in the home. For example, if the home inspection report reveals costly or time-consuming problems, the buyer may decide against closing on the home. On the other side, the seller is not obligated to perform repairs of the property, but many sellers often will to keep the deal afloat.

Check with your home inspector if they also provide Repair Estimate Reports. These reports itemize your home inspection report into a list of line item repairs with the average cost to remedy each issue by local contractors and handymen in your area. These reports can help you assess what repair items need the most attention and assist in regular home maintenance and upkeep. Ask your inspector or search online for helpful checklists to keep yourself on top of your home maintenance needs.

As a buyer, once you have finally moved into your new home, consider scheduling a general home inspection every 3 to 4 years to keep yourself updated on the current state of your investment. These inspections can help identify damages or issues before they become major concerns over your home’s lifetime.

Looking to schedule your next home inspection? Feel free to call NextDay Inspect at (703) 450-6398 or email us at [email protected] Our scheduling staff is ready to assist you with any questions or concerns you may have. To schedule online, click here. Just shopping around for prices? Click here for a free quote.