A home inspection, also known as a building inspection or a property inspection, is a thorough visual assessment of a home or building conducted by a certified professionally trained inspector at a specific point in time when a purchase is being considered. While a home may be inspected for many reasons, most inspections occur before a home is sold. The purpose is to reveal any issues that might become problems for the buyer in the short or long term. A home/building seller may also choose to have an inspection done prior to listing a property in order to avoid any unpleasant surprises during negotiations. An inspection will typically include a walk-through tour of the building, in which the condition of the property is closely scrutinized, any defects and deficiencies are noted, and recommendations for repair are made. During the inspection, the inspector will look for any problems that could have a significant impact from a health and safety perspective or purely from a financial standpoint.
Home Inspection Process Explained
A typical inspection takes two to three hours depending on size and layout. During this time, the house is examined from the ground up and from the outside in. A good inspection should include observation and, when appropriate, operation of the plumbing, heating, air conditioning, electrical, and appliance systems, as well as observation of structural components: roof, foundation, basement, exterior and interior walls, chimney, doors, and windows. In Florida, a wind mitigation report is typically created for the insurance company and also for the general knowledge of the homeowner. Wind mitigation looks at roof, windows, doors, walls and other important structural considerations to determine their resistance to hurricane force wind. Findings should be provided in the form of a comprehensive inspection report which includes an objective evaluation of the condition the home, clearly outlining any existing defects and potential problems.
An inspection is particularly important when purchasing a home. Buying a house is likely one of the largest purchases a person will ever make. But few buyers are experienced in building construction, and overlooking a serious problem could result in a costly problem down the road. As a result, many buyers choose to have a property inspection conducted prior to closing the sale. The inspection can identify any issues, which the buyer can discuss with the seller during negotiations.
We encourage our clients to accompany the home inspection. This gives you the buyer a chance to ask questions and get detailed information about maintaining the home and its systems once you take possession. For homeowners, this allows them an opportunity to answer any questions the inspector may have. In either case, accompanying an inspector can help a client get the most value from a home inspection.
To summarize, an inspection is a visual examination of a house, property or building. When performed by a licensed inspector, it includes:
- A thorough visual inspection of the structure (inside and out, from foundation to roof).
- An examination of all major systems.
- An objective evaluation of the condition of a home.
- A printed or digital report covering all findings and identifying potential concerns.
- A high quality binder or PDF that includes: your home inspection report, full color photos, a repair and remodel cost estimate guide and home maintenance information.