The basic job description of a home inspector is to determine if a home has any defects. These defects could be something small (a water tray missing from under a water heater) to something large and potentially costly (foundation issues). For a real estate transaction a home inspector will analyze just about every permanent element of a home. A home inspection can take anywhere from a couple of hours to all day depending on the size of the home. A home inspector will check:
- The condition of the core structure (are there any cracks in the floor or walls? Is there mold or rotting wood present?)
- The heating and cooling systems (including gas lines, fireplaces, wood burning stoves)
- Electrical and plumbing (up to code? fire hazards present? in danger of bursting or breaking down?)
- Interior structures of the home (door frames, window frames, walls)
- Safety devices present and working (smoke detectors, carbon monoxide monitors)
- Attic spaces, closets, and windows are in good order
- The roof and drainage is in good order (downspouts present, flashings in good shape)
- Any other outdoor buildings are in good shape and up to code (garages, sheds, porches, decks)
This is by no means an exhaustive list. A good home inspector will let you know what needs fixed immediately, soon, or doesn’t need any attention now. We recommend that every person purchasing a home get a home inspection and be present for it if at all possible so that they will get to know their new home and be immediately aware of any issues that may be present.
If you need help finding a good home inspector your Realtor will have a list of good, qualified, inspectors and will be able to recommend an inspector who specializes in the type of home you are buying.