You’re planning to buy a house — maybe its your first home, or maybe its a property you plan to renovate. Regardless, you want to know exactly what the condition of the building is so you don’t have any unpleasant surprises once the property title is in your name.
Knowing the actual condition of the property you’re about to buy can also help when it comes to setting a final purchase price. If you’ll need to make big repairs, you’ll expect the selling cost to reflect that. Or, if the property has some significant structural damage, you might decide that the purchase is not right for you.
But you may not know exactly what a home inspection covers and what you’re paying for. Trademark Home Inspection has put together answers to frequently asked questions that you and other home buyers are likely to have regarding the home inspection process.
What does a home inspection include?
The home inspector is looking for structural problems that need repairs. By informing you about these issues, you can make an informed decision about whether to buy. An inspection includes checking:
- Roof. Learn about any leaks or damage to the roof bed and when the existing roof may need to be replaced. The check includes sky lights, chimney, vents and gutters.
- Exterior. You’ll know whether there is dry rot or other damage to siding, trim, porch, patio or deck. The home inspector will also examine windows and doors for leaks. Retaining walls, sidewalk, driveway, and more on the property will be checked for drainage issues and any needed repairs.
- Interior. Your inspector will ensure that the ceiling, walls and floors are sound and even. The doors and windows will get another check from the inside, along with countertops and other built-in items.
- The garage. In addition to the doors and windows, the home inspector will look over the floor for soundness. The garage door and any garage door operating system will be tested.
- Kitchen appliances. Anything that is built into the kitchen, including the dishwasher, oven, trash compactor, food disposal, sink, microwave and refrigerator will be examined.
- Plumbing and electrical. You’ll want to know whether the structure’s pipes and electrical systems are up to code for your area.
- Heating & cooling elements. Checking your furnace, ac, boiler, etc. is very important to ensure they are in working order.
- Attic, basement and crawl space. Make sure there are no leaks or apparent water damage.
- Foundation. Cracks or unevenness could indicate a major structural issue.
What does a home inspection NOT include?
The home inspector isn’t responsible for every potential problem in a structure, and it’s important to know what won’t get checked or what you’ll need to pay more for. A standard home inspection also does not cover anything the inspector can’t easily get access to, like insulation; it’s not reasonable for the inspector to cut into the wall to see if there’s insulation present.
Here’s what else isn’t part of a standard home inspection:
- Mold testing. Testing for the types of mold that can cause health problems is usually part of a premium inspection package.
- Radon testing. Radon is an odorless, colorless gas that can lead to health problems, including lung cancer, but tests for it are part of a premium inspection.
- Asbestos. A home inspector won’t analyze the attic insulation or other areas that may have asbestos.
- Lead. Older homes may have lead paint, but the inspector won’t scrape off paint to try and find or test for lead.
- Pest inspection. Termites, carpenter ants and animal pests are usually not part of the standard home inspection unless their damage obviously impacts the structure.
*Trademark Home Inspection offers most of the extra inspection services listed above.
What does a home inspection cost?
The cost of a home inspection in the greater Ann Arbor area (includes Canton, Westland, Plymouth) varies depending on the square footage of the home you want to have inspected. The typical costs around $300, but can run higher for especially large or older homes.
What does a home inspector look for?
There are few typical issues that impact nearly every house, and a home inspector will be on the lookout for. These include:
- Roof problems. Curling or missing shingles, leaks around vents and skylights and clogged or bent gutters are common.
- Faulty plumbing or wiring. Older homes may have some patched together pipes or wires that need to be upgraded for safety.
- Foundation cracks. Small cracks are usually not a major problem, and many homes have them due to settling over time.
- Heating or cooling issues. The furnace may be dirty, old or need a new filter; the air conditioner may have these issues too. Fireplaces are also a common problem as they may not be sealed correctly.
- Poor drainage. Water may be pooling around foundations and the ground around the home may be mucky.
What does the home inspection report look like?
Your report should be very thorough, yet easy to read through. Issues should be highlighted and easy to understand. Recommendations for updates or repairs should be summarized on one page. Trademark’s home inspection reports are highly visual with filters so you can easily see the most important issue. See a Trademark sample home inspection report.
Almost every home inspection uncovers some issues, and many are minor. In most cases, there is no reason to be panic or be overly concerned. Many of the fixes can be done yourself. The home inspection simply helps you to be fully informed on the state of the house before you buy. Contact us if you have any questions on the process or how we can help!