Home Inspections: What to Look For

If you are buying residential property, you are probably aware that you should get a home inspection.  This means you should hire a licensed home inspector to check out the house for you.  Typically this is done within the first 5 days after the contract is signed by the seller.  If you are not happy with the way the inspection turns out, your attorney can cancel the transaction or try to negotiate the repairs or a credit for you.

Keep in mind, however, that a typical home inspection is not meant to cover cosmetic items.  If you are walking through the house and notice chipped tiles or peeling paint, take all of that into account when you make your initial offer.  The purpose of the inspection is to make sure that the home’s structure and systems are in good condition, not to find peeling wallpaper or dirty carpets.

Make sure your home inspector focuses on the following:

1)  Roof condition and water-tightness
2)  Foundation condition and water seepage
3)  Mechanicals and HVAC
4)  Plumbing and internal water damage
5)  Electrical panel and system
6)  Exterior walls
7)  Exterior slope

If you are concerned that there might be mold that is not visible, or radon, you may have to ask your inspector to run specialized tests.  Not all inspectors are able to do mold and radon testing, however, and you might need to contact someone else for assistance.

If your inspection reveals conditions that are unacceptable to you, or will cost too much to fix, you can back out as long as you do it in a timely manner.  If the flaws are manageable, you can move forward.