Why Should I Hire a Professional Home Inspection? 

 December 10, 2020

By Scott Teesdale  

minutes read time

Whether you’re a home buyer or a home seller, a professional home inspection is useful for providing you with crucial details about a home. The home inspector can help you identify any problems that may exist, which is useful for both buyers and sellers. For buyers, knowing how the home’s pre-existing damage can help you negotiate a better price for the house. And for sellers, using the official inspection report (given to you from the inspection expert) will be an excellent guide to learning where to make improvements.

Professional home inspection checklist: What to look for in the report

While there are different types of home inspections used to indicate problems, opting for a professional job is the best option as the expert will provide you with what is called a home inspection report that lists out all the areas that need improvement and recommendations for repair.

The inspection professional should provide you with an report that contains the following checklist items:

  • The home’s foundation: The inspector should ensure structural integrity is intact, indicating any problems regarding cracks or shifting, as well as potential water damage. 
  • General construction: The home’s foundation and general structure can impact the longevity and stability of the home, so it’s essential to check the quality.
  • Exterior of the home: The exterior of the home includes walls, stucco, awnings, patios, decks, etc.
  • Interior of the home: Water damage can impact the interior of a home, as well as other issues that need to be checked, including doors, windows, flooring, and more.
  • Plumbing: Plumbing impacts the entire home, and ensuring the system is good throughout means checking everywhere the plumbing passes. Checking the plumbing means looking for clogged drains, water pressure issues, and softening. 
  • Electrical: Electrical issues can lead to problems throughout the home and physical well-being. The inspector should check for code violations, defective wiring, etc.
  • HVAC: An inspector should check to ensure the heating and cooling system has been maintained and is working correctly. Inspection should include the age of the system and whether it’s sufficient for the size of the home. 
  • Kitchen: Kitchen inspection should include a check of the plumbing and any included appliances to ensure everything is working properly.
  • Bath: The inspection of the bathroom can detail the quality of the flooring, as well as check for plumbing issues or any evidence of water damage. If a bathroom has been remodeled, it’s important to check the quality.
  • Roof: Roof inspection is one of the more important aspects to ensure the age of the roof, how long it should last, if there are any leaks, and if there’s damage to the structure or materials.
  • Other structures: Inspection can include checks into sheds, garages, and carports. 

Benefits of a home inspection

A home inspection is not a legal requirement for buyers or sellers, but it is highly recommended. It can help you have a clear idea of issues that may exist regarding the home. Both buyers and sellers benefit from the knowledge they receive in a home inspection.

  • Benefits for buyers: A home inspection helps buyers recognize what issues may exist with a home before they make a purchase. For instance, a home inspector can identify a small leak in the home’s roof that may not be noticeable without the inspection. In these situations, the potential buyer can request that the seller fix any issue uncovered by the inspection before signing anything and making a large investment. 
  • Benefits for sellers: For a seller, getting a home pre-list inspection done before they start the selling process means identifying issues and providing clear details of areas that must be fixed or that can be added to. A previously-completed home inspection also gives the buyer a peace of mind. It also helps sellers in the event an unhappy buyer tries to sue the seller despite the full disclosure.

Performing a personal inspection can be helpful to recognize any obvious and noticeable deficiencies, but detecting some of the more detailed issues and problems require professional help.

Questions to ask a professional home inspector

Because a home inspection is an essential step in the process of buying or selling a home, it’s vital to ask specific questions to ensure the right hire. Anybody looking to hire a professional home inspector should be asking these questions and looking for the right answers that make them feel comfortable with their decision:

  • What is the inspector’s experience? Experience matters when it comes to such a large investment. It’s vital to ensure the inspector not only has many years of inspection experience but also that they’re performing multiple inspections within a year and can adequately find things wrong with a home.
  • How much is a home inspection? Most inspectors can charge upwards of $400, but the overall price depends on the size of the home and if any additional inspections are necessary. 
  • Does the inspector exclusively do inspections? Some inspectors are not exclusively in the business of providing home inspections. Others may be contractors who are using the inspection process to tell homeowners or potential buyers that work needs to be done so they can promote their other business and secure some income for themselves outside of the inspection.
  • What type of report does the inspector provide? The home inspection report the inspector provides is vital, especially for those who need to make fixes and upgrades. An oral report is not acceptable, as insurance won’t cover this for errors and omissions, so both an oral and written report to explain the issues can be the most helpful. Also, it’s vital to recognize if the report will detail their recommendations to fix any problems. 
  • How long does the inspection take? The length of a professional home inspection is dependent on the size of the home. It could last anywhere from 2 to 5 hours to ensure the inspector inspects every aspect of the house. Buyers and sellers should be wary if the inspection is much shorter than this because it may not be a thorough inspection. 
  • Is the inspector insured for errors and omissions? Errors and omissions insurance can provide sellers or buyers additional protection should the inspector miss a potential problem. Never hire a home inspector without this type of insurance, and make sure to ask for a copy of the policy to ensure the coverage exists.

What are home inspectors not allowed to do?

Home inspectors cannot do these things: 

  • Give a pass or fail grade
  • Perform invasive testing
  • Condemn a home
  • Enforce code violations
  • Determine the value of a home
  • Perform repairs on the home if they’ve inspected it
  • Detail indoor air quality issues
  • Perform inspection on decor or cosmetic aspects

Most importantly, make sure the home inspector has no conflict of interest by asking them if they own or partner with any home improvement companies.

Further reading

An inspection is a necessary part of home buying or selling, and ensuring peace of mind can go a long way towards making a decision on a long-term investment. Check out our site to learn more about buying, selling, mortgages, ownership, and much more.

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I use data and technology to help Millennials navigate the ins-and-outs of buying or selling a home in today's market. From appraisals to mortgages to zoning, I cover it all with the goal to teach others. Connect with me on social via the icons above.