A home inspection is a report on the overall condition of a home. A thorough home inspection gives the buyer details about a home’s structure, foundation, electrical, plumbing, and more. A home inspector checks the areas of a home beyond what a buyer can see on the surface. Getting a home inspection is important because it helps the buyer know if a home may need costly repairs. What is uncovered during an inspection can become part of a sales negotiation between buyer and seller, and their respective real estate agents.
What Does a Home Inspection Cover?
Each home is unique, so what is inspected during a home inspection will vary. The American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) recommends that its certified home inspectors thoroughly inspect these areas:
- Attic, including condition of insulation
- Basement or crawl space
- Ceilings and interior walls (general condition)
- Doors and door frames (general condition)
- Floors (general condition)
- Heating and cooling systems
- Interior electrical systems, including wiring
- Interior plumbing systems
- Structure, interior and exterior
- Windows (general condition)
What a Home Inspection Does Not Cover
There are limits to what an inspector checks. According to ASHI standards, certified inspectors do not generally check these areas of a home:
- Additional structures separate from home, such as sheds, barns, and so on
- Interior wall spaces
- Septic tank
- Water testing
- Well pump
Just because an inspector doesn't check some areas of a home doesn’t mean you can't have those areas inspected. Often, the inspector you hire may be able to perform additional inspections. Just ask, and check about the additional cost. For certain areas, you may have to hire a different professional to do an inspection, such as for a well or septic system. If you are concerned about any aspect of a home, talk to your agent about what to do. Additional inspections can potentially save you a lot of money and give you added peace of mind.
Why a Home Inspection Matters
When you are serious about a specific home for sale, an inspection can help give you the confidence you need to buy it. A home inspection also gives you knowledge about any potential home repairs. Armed with your report, you can either negotiate needed repairs as part of the sale, or plan how to budget to make the repairs yourself after close. And remember, you can and should attend a home inspection. Buying a home is potentially the biggest investment of your life. The inspection step is your opportunity to watch and learn about your purchase first-hand.
More Home Buyer Resources
If you are a first-time home buyer, these articles can also provide you with helpful information on the process. Many terms and steps in the process will be new to you and understanding them can help you be ready when you find the home you want.