If you’re in the market for a new home you might not be thinking all that much about inspections. Sure, you know about them and you know you should do them, but do you know how many there are?
If you are at the stage of the buying process you might be thinking “Where do I begin?”
There’s more than just the home inspection and roof inspection. Your real estate agent should be able to provide a list of the area’s common inspections, but you don’t want to go into this blind if you can avoid it. Your real estate agent will also tell you at what point in the process the inspections occur, most probably it is a contingency of the Sales Agreement and they occur during the first few weeks after your offer has been accepted.
Depending on where your potential new home is located and even how old it is, here are some of the home inspections you’ll want to know about and may want to consider.
This is a good place to start. A general home inspection is a visual assessment of the house, the inspector will point out material defects of the property, but may report that a system or item in the home requires further evaluation and then you would get a specialist in to determine if the system is functioning properly.
For example, a home inspector might notice a problem with insects, but cannot make a diagnosis. They can recommend that a specialist is hired to get the job done to further make sure the home is safe to live in.
But this is just the beginning. Where do you go from there if they recommend other inspections? It helps to know a little about ones you may be investing in. Let’s break it down to interior inspections and exterior inspections.
The last thing you want to experience in a new home is a problem with the septic system.
There are different types of septic inspections, from a simple dye test to a more extensive inspection with the use of a camera. With the latter, inspectors send a camera through the main line to look for any damage or potential issues. Talk to your agent to determine what is customary for your area, and talk to your sewage enforcement officer for the municipality you will be living in to determine which test is best for you.
A specialist will take apart your heating/cooling units to further diagnose an exact problem and determine how to fix it.
If the general home inspector suggests an electrical inspection, be sure to listen. This inspection will make sure that electrical panel is working properly.
This will also make sure that everything is up to city code and that nothing has been recalled or is out of date.
If the home you are buying was built before 1978 there’s a chance that the paint on the walls, doors, and windows might contain lead.
Depending on the age of the home, you might want to consider this inspection. And, if it’s determined that the paint does contain lead, you’ll have to hire a contractor certified in lead abatement.
If your potential home has a chimney, getting an inspection on it will ensure that it is working properly. What does this mean? That smoke is ventilated and expelled from the home.
This inspection will also make sure that the structure of the chimney is strong and that it isn’t falling apart as well.
Many gasses are tasteless, odorless, and colorless, so testing is the only way to determine their presence. Acceptable levels for Radon gas is anything below 4.0 picocuries.
If the initial inspection determines a problem with the roof, this inspection will diagnose the problem and the inspector will offer recommendations on next steps to take to improve your roof.
TIP: Hire an inspector who does not also replace roofs. You might just save some money.
If you’re purchasing a home that draws drinking water from a well, you’ll need to get a basic test that makes sure there is no bacteria. An in-depth test will ensure that the water doesn’t carry any harmful materials including arsenic, lead, E. coli and more.
You can learn more information about safe drinking water here.
Because this inspection looks for any structural damage that insects might cause, and insects come from outside, I’m plugging this under exterior inspections. The truth is, this really can be classified under both interior and exterior.
One aspect of this inspection pays attention to wood that might be in direct contact with soil. There, insects have easier access to the wood and can cause damage to the home’s structure that way.
If a pool and/or spa are included with the home you’re looking to purchase, lucky you!
However, you want to make sure those are safe to use. Have them inspected to make sure heaters and other necessary equipment are working properly. If you purchase your home in the winter months, you may need your Real Estate Agent to prepare a pool addendum, escrowing money from the seller in case the inspection after the pool is opened reveals any repairs.
Of course, this isn’t a complete list of home inspections. For that, you can consult with your real estate agent, who will also give you recommendations as to which ones you should consider having done.
Whenever you look to hire an inspector of any kind, you need to make sure that they are properly certified. You can check to see if they are members of any state-run agencies and/or of a nationally recognized organization. Be sure to ask them and confirm with the organization’s website, they should also carry errors and omissions insurance in case they make a mistake.
Most importantly—enjoy the moment. If you’ve reached the step of getting inspections done on a home you’ve come pretty far in the home buying process
Congratulations! We wish you the best of luck on your journey.
Kayleigh is a content writer with a BA in technical writing/literature and an MA in creative writing. When she’s not at work writing, she’s at home writing, reading, or binge-watching television shows… for research, of course. A big do-it-yourselfer and crafter, Kayleigh loves testing out projects and gifting them to friends and family—all in preparation for when she owns her own home one day and decorates with her own personal creations. Her work has appeared on The Writing Cooperative and as an Honorable Mention in East Meets West American Writers Review.