September 14, 2022

Home inspection

What is a home inspection? Do I need a home inspection when I buy or sell a property? And of course: What is the home inspector checking?

Which questions would bother you most if you were to buy or sell a house or a condominium? In this article, we will answer these and other questions on Home inspection and share some advice on preparing for the visit.

What is a Home Inspection

When you are purchasing a house it’s good to know what you are buying. It is an essential part of the process where you are doing it just for informational purposes or in order to have the current owners fix something before you sign the real estate sale and purchase agreement. The home inspection will give you a very detailed picture of the condition of the home, the condition of the roof, or the systems in the house. The home inspector’s report will give you either the idea of what needs to be urgently fixed in the house because of the unsafe condition or a violation of the code. Or you’ll have peace of mind to know that you are buying a property in good shape.

Is there such a thing as condominium inspection?

Technically, yes. The inspectors deal with the condominiums as well but in most cases that would be just an in-wall inspection. If you feel like you need to understand the condition of the building you will more than anything be offered a report on the most current “chek-up” of the building that should be regularly done by the local authorities. The in-wall inspection of the condominium does not last really long and will only show the condition of the systems inside the condo itself. That is why most of the buyers of the condominiums would rather get all info out of the general report relying on the status certificate of the building. 

How long does a home inspection usually last?

Depending on the hose's square footage, the home inspection may last for 3-5 hours because the home inspector needs to go through all the systems in the hose and check literally everything. So, as a seller, be prepared and find yourself something to be busy with for this period of time. As a buyer, we would recommend you or your realtor to follow the inspector during this process and ask them to explain things to you. You’d really want to know in what condition are things in the hose and how urgently anything needs to be fixed. Of course, you need to consult a real estate agent in your area to make sure such “supervised home inspections'' do not violate any of the domestic laws. 

What does the home inspector check on?

As you can see, the inspector will look at pretty much everything. So, let’s see what exactly and where exactly they will check.

  • Electrical issues: The inspector will test the sockets as well as all the outlets in the house to make sure they are safe and grounded. They will also look at the circuit breaker and check  that the wiring is up to code. If the inspector identifies any problems with the house’s electrical system, they will present them to you and will suggest an idea of what can be done to correct them.
  • Water system: The inspector will see if there are any visible signs of water damage, such as a crack in the wall or signs of moisture / mold or any other kinds of problems of such matter in the basement. Then angin, you will be advised on what you can do about any damage. In most cases such problems are solvable and it’s actually better to have them identified and fixed yet before you sign the contract. Otherwise you face a high chance of potential legal action as a seller and will have to deal with a lot of problems as a buyer of the property.
  • Plumbing issues: Every home inspector understands that it is impossible to cut into walls to see if pipes are leaking, they will still check the accessible areas of the house’s plumbing. The water pressure coming from the faucets will also be checked and the drain function will be evaluated. Once the pipes in the basement are checked, the inspector will make recommendations about the conditions of the piping and the location of shut-off valves.
  • Structural issues: During the inspection, the inspector will be able to detect potential structural concerns, for instance bowing on the facade of the house or the floor might not be as supported as it should be. The windows and doors are also subject to inspection. The inspector will make sure they open and shut as they should and confirm that they are straight and even.
  • The condition of the roof: The inspector will get on the roof to observe it and make comments about its condition. The state of the roof is important as much as its perceived age, this information gives the buyer an idea of what type of repair or maintenance it might need. In case the roof is declared as unusable you’ll have to negotiate changing it or cutting the cost of changing off the price.
  • The condition of the HVAC system: The inspector will test the HVAC system. No matter if the house has air conditioning and heat, only air or only heat, everything needs to be checked. They will identify and record the age of the system and its condition and will recommend changes or fixes as needed. Normally replacing the air filter or considering upgrading an older system are recommended. To be able to understand how well the systems work, during the inspection, they will turn on the heat or air conditioning. 
  • Signs of pest infestation: Pest infestation can be the reason to cancel the contract because this can totally ruin the house. That is why the inspector will look for visible signs of pest damage. The pest inspection can also be separate, such as a termite inspection, or it can be recommended as part of the home inspection process.

How much does the home inspection cost?

If you are buying an average-sized single home in Florida, your home inspection might cost between $254 and $364. An inspection of a condo will cost twice as less because of so much less to be covered during a condo inspection. Logically, the bigger the house, the more expensive the home inspection will be. A double floor more than average square footage house may cost up to $1000. The size of the household is technically the only parameter that influences the cost of a thorough home inspection. If they are trying to convince you that for a higher price you would get a more thorough inspection with more pictures attached and a more detailed report, keep looking for a different home inspector. Your inspection has to be thorough, you should get a lot of pictures of it and if a detailed written report is not given to you, you did not have any home inspection.

What should I do in the worst-case scenario?

In case the home inspector finds something during the inspection that is a deal-breaker for you, something that you are not prepared to deal with at your newly-bought house, this can be a reason to back up the contract. Then again, before making the decision here you’ll need to consult your real estate agency. In most cases, the home inspector will identify a problem, estimate just how much that is going to cost to fix it, and the seller will take it off the price. If by any means, the problem pops up after the home inspection, you can always contact a local real estate lawyer and consult on whether this can be an issue for the court trial.

This is actually a very rare case to happen because none of the people involved in the process want this to happen so they will be very meticulously doing their job, especially the home inspector.

How to find a good home inspector?

As you can see, finding a good home inspector is a very important part of a property purchasing process. In most states, including Florida, the home inspector must be licensed. A sufficient advantage would be their experience. The main source of information here would be your agency. They can even provide you with an example of the home inspection that they do. You can always be consulted on this issue by the team of real estate professionals of MyReProperty. Please, do not hesitate to contact us for updated information on all property issues and questions you might have.