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What Your Home Inspection Will Cover

By Tabitha Naylor

Home inspections vary depending on what type of property you are looking to purchase but there are some common, basic elements that all home inspectors check.

The purpose of a home inspection is to:
  1. Identify any health or safety hazards
  2. Identify any concerns or existing conditions that could cause future problems
  3. Document the overall condition of the home
  4. Document all problem areas

Perhaps the most important thing a home inspection checks for is the structural stability of the home to make sure it can stand up to gravity, shifting of the earth and weather. The structural elements of the home that will be inspected include the foundation and the framing.

The inspector will also check the exterior of the house to check out the sidewalks, driveway, steps, windows, doors, decks, patios, porches, balconies, any siding or trim, including brick work, stone, stucco, vinyl siding, or wood for signs of damage. The inspector will also check all surface drainage.

The roof is also a part of any standard inspection. Typically all flashing is checked, all drainage systems, the condition of the shingles, the condition of the gutters and downspouts, skylights and the chimney.

Inside systems the inspector will evaluate include water heater, the water supply and internal drainage systems including drainage and sump pumps. The inspector will check for water pressure, any banging pipes, rust spots or corrosion and list any problems or potential problems in his or her report.

The inspection includes an evaluation of the heating system, ventilation system, flues and chimneys. The size of the water heater, its energy rating and its ability to recover will also be tested. Likewise, the inspector will evaluate the cooling system of the home.

An interior inspection will look for any water damage, insect damage, dry rot, construction defects, loose knobs or issues with kitchen and bathroom cabinetry and fixtures, steps, railings, counters, garage doors and garage door automated systems.

Most inspectors also check for ventilation and insulation in the attic to prevent heat loss and make sure insulation is sufficient for the area in which you live. The inspector will also check for any moisture problems.

If you have a fireplace you should check that the inspector is planning to check the system including the flue and vent.

There are things that are not included in a general home inspection. If you have any specific concerns you should always speak to the inspector in advance and verify that he or she will include what you want in the inspection. There may be an additional cost, but it is better to identify any problems before you buy the property since most sales contracts have the caveat that the house must pass inspection or any problems must be rectified for the sale to proceed.

A home inspection is a form of insurance against future problems and is a protection for the buyer. In a properly executed inspection over 2500 items are inspected. Inspections take around 2-3 hours to complete. Many inspectors welcome buyers to take part and ask questions as the inspection is being done. Check with your inspector about their rules and preferences.

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