Buying a home can be a stressful process. A home inspection is supposed to give you peace of mind, but often has the opposite effect. You will have to absorb a lot of information in a short time. Reports, checklists, pictures all of these things plus whatever the seller and agents tell you can make you go into information overload and panic a little!
Relax. Most of your inspection will be maintenance recommendations, life expectancies and minor imperfections. While those items are nice to know about, the issues that really matter will fall into 3 categories:
1. Major defects, e.g. a structural failure.
2. Conditions that lead to major defects, e.g. a small roof-flashing leak.
3. Safety hazards, such as an exposed live wires in the electric panel.
Anything in these categories should be addressed. Often a serious problem can be corrected inexpensively to protect your safety and property. No home is perfect. Keep things in perspective. Do not kill your deal over things that do not matter!
A home inspection is an in-depth, visual examination and evaluation of the accessible structure (inside and out) and all major systems of the house. It also identifies structural problems or other defects, and notes any repairs that may be needed and what the associated costs will most likely be.
The main items examined in a home inspection are:
- Exterior of the home’s site/lot
- Building’s foundation
- Exterior walls of the home
- Roof coverings, flashings and gutters
- Roof support structure
- Electrical system
- Plumbing system
- Central air and heating system
Items normally not included in a home inspection include:
- The cosmetic or aesthetic features of a home
- Swimming pools and spas
- Fireplaces and other wood burning devices
- Systems such as the telephone, cable TV, alarm systems and lawn sprinklers
There are services that will inspect some of the above, so it is worthwhile asking an inspector beforehand if you want any of them to be included. Pricing can vary depending on the type, size and age of the home and if any specialty services are added.