Simple Real Estate Definitions : Home Inspection
A home inspection is a complete, top-to-bottom, visual check-up of the structure and systems of a house. It is meant to be an objective determination of a home's condition. A home inspection usually takes 2-6 hours to complete, depending on the size of the home. During the inspection process, the inspector will examine all of the following components of a home:
- Home exterior including doors, decks, and vegetation
- Heating and cooling systems for leaks and efficiency
- Electrical systems for safety and soundness of design
- Plumbing systems for venting, distribution, and drainage
In addition, the inspector will review the roofing system, the home's interior, and several other parts of the property. A home inspection may be ordered by a home owner or by a home buyer. For a home owner, an inspection can detail a home's shortcomings and provide a roadmap for repairs. This can help a person prepare his home for sale because 'major issues' can be addressed in advance of listing.
For a home buyer, a home inspection physically reviews a home under contract, identifying structural flaws that may impact the home's desirability. This is essential for the negotiation process because no home is 'perfect' -- even new ones!
A home inspection highlights potential long-term trouble spots and the likelihood for expensive home repairs. This is why real estate professionals often recommend inspecting a home immediately after signing a purchase contract.
To find a qualified home inspector in your area, ask your real estate agent for a referral, visit the American Society of Home Inspectors Web site or the National Association of Certified Home Inspectors.