Do You Know What To Look For During A Property Inspection?

Home Inspection Guidelines: 5 Things Buyers Should Know

Buying a home is a high stakes decision, but as important as every step of the process is, most people go into it without much information. Instead, because of how specialized buying a home is, buyers are forced to rely on an array of professionals to guide them through the process, including real estate agents, lawyers, and lenders. Then, towards the end of the process, a new person joins the parade: the property inspector – but what exactly are they looking for?

Home inspectors evaluate your home for all kinds of potential problems. This could include anything from major damage to the property elements to hidden features like out of date wiring. And while you can’t expect to understand the process as well as the inspector, knowing what they’re looking for, and what inspectors commonly miss, can make a big difference in the process.

Turn Everything On

When the home inspector examines the property, it’s not uncommon for the previous residents to have moved out. That means that certain critical systems may be turned off. Make sure that your home inspector turns all systems on during their tour of the property, or else you could encounter unexpected costs after moving in, which should have been paid by the previous owners.

Water Worries

Certain areas are prone to flooding, but obvious water damage isn’t the only kind you need to worry about. In fact, the worst water-related issues are often hidden behind the walls. When choosing a property inspector, ask if they supplement their inspections with an infrared camera, which can detect hidden water damage.

In addition to being hidden, one of the challenges that comes with finding water damage upon pre-sale inspection is that it’s generally too involved for sellers to adequately address before closing. That doesn’t mean you should just give up on the property, though. A thorough inspection can put you in a strong negotiating position, pushing the seller to decrease the price so that you can pay for those repairs.

Electrical Exam

One of the most common problems that home inspectors discover when touring properties is out of date electrical systems. While some old electrical systems are little more than inconveniences – you might suffer more frequent blown fuses, for example – but others can be hazardous. Your home inspector will make sure all grounding and overcurrent protection devices are in place and ensure that everything is safe, properly insulated, and won’t put you at risk of electrocution or fire. They’ll also ensure that there aren’t ground fault circuits near any sinks or other wet areas.

Garage Door Function

The garage door may seem like a relatively negligible issue compared to the home’s electrical system or whether or not there’s hazardous mold hiding behind the walls, but your inspector won’t just check to make sure it goes up and down smoothly. Rather, in addition to checking all the mechanical parts, the inspector will also make sure the garage door doesn’t present a crush risk. A garage door that keeps going when it collides with something is a serious danger and needs to be fixed immediately.

The Inspection Isn’t The End

The property inspector will look at a variety of important structural and safety issues during their tour. It’s important to remember that they don’t look for all the things that could potentially make a property less desirable. For example, while they may look for termite damage, they may not check for other infestations, like rats, that don’t impact the structure. They also won’t test the property for contaminants like radon, that many people are concerned about.

Having a thorough home inspection will give you a better sense of what to expect when you move into a new home, but it won’t tell you everything, which is why you should always be prepared to deal with some leftover repairs. At the end of the day, as long as the inspector caught all of the expensive or dangerous problems, you’ll have relatively smooth sailing ahead compared to other new homeowners.