A home inspection is a standard review of the condition of a house during the selling process. The inspector looks at the roof for damage, wear, leaks, and age. They look at siding and foundations for noticeable issues like cracks, dry rot, termite damage, and water damage. Note that in some cases, a separate termite inspection by a termite specialist may be required. Inside they check out the attic, walls, flooring, ceiling, doors, and windows. They aren’t concerned about whether the paint color is wrong or that the shag carpeting is out dated. Inspectors are looking for problems, like cracks or leaks. They are concerned about structure, so they notice if the house has shifted a lot, creating a big crack in the ceiling. They will note items that may need repair or replacement.
The home review also includes plumbing, electrical components, heating, and the air conditioning units. Again, they are making sure things work. Are there leaks? Does something look dangerous with wiring? Does the AC cool?
At the end, they file a large report, with all the details of their findings. The report is not a pass or fail document. It simply states condition.
As a home buyer, you want to know that the house you are buying is in good condition. If it has some problems, you want to know how extensive they may be. You may be fine fixing up some things. However, a failing foundation is a major issue few want to fix. If you want move-in condition, you won’t want anything to fix. Finally, issues on the inspection report become points of negotiation on price and terms. For example, you will accept that the roof needs to be replaced, but you want $10,000 off the price.
As a seller, you also want to know the house you are selling is in good condition. Making some repairs can boost the price of your home. If you have things you can’t or won’t fix, the extent of the repair will indicate how much you should adjust your cost. For example, if the roof needs a small patch, that may be a $500 job, not $10,000.
The cost for an inspection is rolled up into all the buying costs, so you aren’t paying it out of pocket. Depending on market conditions, these costs may be moved to the seller, but most of the time, the buyer incurs this fee. It is included with all the other closing costs associated with the purchase of the home. The cost itself varies by area, but the range is $300 to $500. The buyer typically pays for it because the biggest benefit of the inspection is to the buyer.
A realtor or the seller may be at the house to provide access for the inspector. They will need to get into any locked spaces. It is useful for the buyer to be there because they can ask questions as the inspection occurs to get advice on any problems the inspector encounters. Of course, safety is a must, so an inspector probably won’t let you walk on the roof with them!