What Should You Expect From A Home Inspection?
The goal of a Home Inspection is not to make a purchase recommendation, but to provide you with useful, accurate information that will be helpful in making an informed purchase decision. A property does not “Pass” or “Fail” a General Home Inspection. An inspection is designed to reflect the visual condition of the home at the time of the inspection.
A home inspection is supposed to give you peace of mind, but some people find that it has the opposite effect: the large amount of information in an Inspection Report can be overwhelming.
It’s important to keep in mind that most of your report will include maintenance recommendations, life expectancies for various systems and components, and minor imperfections. These are useful to know about. The issues that really matter will fall into four categories:
- major defects. An example of this would be a structural failure;
- things that lead to major defects, such as a small roof-flashing leak, for example;
- things that may hinder your ability to finance, legally occupy, or insure the home; and
- safety hazards, such as an exposed, live buss bar at the electrical panel.
Anything in these categories should be addressed. Often, a serious problem can be corrected inexpensively to protect both life and property (especially in categories 2 and 4). For your safety and liability purposes, we recommend that licensed contractors or qualified professionals evaluate and repair any critical concerns and defects.
The Home Inspection is a visual inspection and will investigate the home’s major components. Home inspectors are not hired to point out cosmetic defects. Below is an example of a home’s components and the questions and issues identified:
- ROOF:What is the condition of the roof coverings? Were any major defects discovered while inspecting the roof? What is the condition of the chimney?
- EXTERIOR: How is the deck attached to the house? Are the electric receptacles protected by a GFCI? Are the downspouts diverting water away from the house?
- HEATING/COOLING: What type of heating system is it? How does the heating/cooling system operate? Are there any visible defects?
- FOUNDATION/STRUCTURE: Are there any signs of water penetration? Are there any visible defects in the structure?
- PLUMBING: What is the source for the hot water in the house? Are there any active leaks found at any fixtures today? Have you seen any stains or water marks on ceilings to indicate leaks?
- ELECTRICAL: What is the size of the electrical service to the house? Are the breakers labeled well? Are there any visible electrical hazards at the panel or wiring?
- ATTIC: Is there any flooring in the attic? Were any defects discovered while inspecting the attic space? How thick is the insulation seen from the attic space?
To read more about what a Home Inspection covers read the Standards of Practice. A Home Inspection is a non-invasive examination. Inspectors may not open up walls for example, and so it’s possible that some issues may not be discovered.
After the inspection, read the report and talk with your inspector about any questions or concerns you may have. To avoid a conflict of interest, home inspectors are not allowed to perform repairs to the home or provide a quote for the cost of repairs. They’re also not allowed to speculate on the value of a home or whether or not to purchase it. However, they can provide valuable advice about the condition of the home to help you and your agent make this decision.
How Do I Get Started?
- You will send the home’s details to Ridgeline Inspections to get your quote. You can do this via the linked form, email, or over the phone.
- Approve the quote and work with the inspector on availability.
- Sign the Pre-Inspection Agreement electronically–we’ll give you the link. View a Sample.
- Receive your invoice electronically and make a payment online or at the inspection with a check.
- Attend the inspection (not necessary but helpful to you). Sometimes it’s best to show up toward the end of the inspection so that the inspector can walk you through the pertinent details. This avoids waiting around while the inspector inputs lots of info on their tablet.
- Receive your report within 24-48 hours and review. View a sample report.
- Call your inspector with any questions.