A home inspection is a visual inspection of a specific piece of real estate, usually a house, to determine its condition, including the roof, plumbing, electrical work, foundation, water and sewage, and fire and safety issues. They will also check for damage caused to the house by fire, water or insect/rodent action.
It is usually conducted by a qualified home inspector. It is a check of the functionality of the house, not its aesthetics. It is usually conducted at the behest of someone who wants to purchase a certain property, to determine if the property is safe and properly functioning. This is not to say that such an inspection is not to be carried out any other time. The homeowner may also ask for an inspection at any time, either because they want to know the condition of their house – and conduct the necessary repairs.
The home inspector is a qualified professional who provides a written report after conducting a visual examination of each of the following:
- Structure – checking for sag or bows, window alignment
- Grounds – septic tank leakages, drainage, condition of driveways, fences
- Roof – condition of shingles, chimneys, gutters,
- Electrical system – working condition of appliances, wiring, outlets, circuit breakers, light fixtures, fans
- Heating and air conditioning system
- Plumbing – check for leaking pipes, functioning of toilets, sinks, showers, tubs
- Insulation and vapor barriers
- Basement – water damage, foundation
- Attic – insulation and ventilation
- Exteriors – condition of paint, proper working of lights etc
- Garage – condition of foundation, ceiling, walls, electrical system, working of doors
It typically does not include an examination of:
- Swimming pool
- Spa area if any
- Specialized equipment like lawn sprinklers
- Alarm systems
You need to bear in mind that a home inspection report is a written report of the condition of the house and the performance of the installed systems at a certain point of time after conducting a visual examination. It is primarily used to identify if any of the components of the house are unsafe, worn down or deficient in any manner. It is not intended as a warranty or insurance on the home. A home inspection is not intended to discover design issues or concealed defects.
If you are in the market for an existing property, it is an excellent idea to have a professional home inspection conducted to help determine the performance of the home and avoid a potential disaster when you move in.