When you’re buying a house, it’s easy to feel like some of the inspection costs that come in addition to the home price are unnecessary. But that couldn’t be further from the truth!
A home inspection can mean the difference in finding thousands of dollars in repairs or not finding them at all. Good inspectors are highly skilled at finding problems and potential problems that buyers wouldn’t find on their own. This gives you negotiating power in requesting the problems be fixed or that the price of the house be adjusted to allow you the funds to fix them.
Your home inspector will examine the following items:
Grounds – Driveway, Sidewalks, Patios, Decks, Porches, Steps and Railings, Fences and Gates, Grading, Landscaping, Retaining Walls
Exterior of Structure – Foundation Walls, Basement, Crawlspace, Slabs, Exterior Finish, Siding, Brick, Stucco, Trim, Chimney, Roof System, Flashing, Gutters, Windows
Crawlspace/Basement/Slab – Joists, Piers, Foundation Vents, Insulation Type/R-Factor and Condition, Subflooring, Plumbing Penetrations, Plumbing Condition, HVAC Equipment, HVAC Ductwork, Condensation Lines, Exhaust and Venting, Crawlspace/Basement Drainage System, Sump Pumps, Wood Destroying Organisms, Unusual Fungi Growth, Electrical Branch Wiring
Attic – Attic Access, Truss Conditions, Rafter Framing, Roof Sheeting, Roof Deck Penetrations, Adequate Ventilation, Insulation Depth/R-Factor and Condition, HVAC Equipment, HVAC Ductwork, Electrical Branch Wiring
Electrical System – Service Type, Amperage, Entrance Cable Type, Proper Wiring Technique, Grounding, Subpanels, Branch Wiring, Outlets, Fixtures, GFCIs, Arc Faults
HVAC – Type, Sizing for square footage, Fuel System, Operation, Condensation Lines, Suction Line Insulation, Air Return Seal, Filters, Ductwork Type, Ductwork Condition, Distribution System
Plumbing System – Main Line Type, Supply Line Type, Water Shut-Off Location, Water Heater Type/Sizing/Location/Condition, Leaks, Adequate Flow, Waste Drain Type, Waste Drain Condition, Type of Disposal System, Septic or Public Utilities, Septic System Location, Septic System Condition
Interior – Exterior Doors, Weatherstripping, Windows, Interior Doors, Walls, Ceilings, Flooring, Fireplace Type/Condition/Operation, Flue Venting, Smoke Detectors, Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Bathrooms – Sinks, Supply Lines, Drains, Stopper Valves, Cabinets, Toilets, Tubs, Jacuzzi Operation, GFCI, Shower Enclosures, Shower Operation, Bath vent Fans, Interior Rooms and Closets
Kitchens – Range and Cooktops, Anti-tip Devices, Microwave Operation, Sinks, Ventilation, Cabinets and Counters
The inspector should report to you:
- whether the problem found is a safety issue, major defect, or minor defect.
- which items need replacement and which should be repaired or serviced
- items that are suitable for now but that should be monitored closely.
Though it is not required, a good inspector will also tell you about routine maintenance that should be performed around the house to help you keep things in tip-top shape.
The bottom line is that while a home inspection will cost you a little bit of time and money, in the long run you’ll be glad you did it. Even if no problems are found, it will give you an idea of what areas you need to be aware of as the home owner. This important step is worth every penny.
Robin Husney, Your Charlotte NC Real Estate Specialist