When buying (or selling) a home, it’s a good idea to have a home inspection done to make sure there aren’t any costly surprises lurking in the house. Most buyers require a home inspection and can make the sale contingent upon the findings. At its core, a home inspection is a protection that prevents new homeowners from uncovering a problem with the house that will need fixing or replaced.
Every state has different requirements for home inspectors, and Idaho doesn’t require home inspectors to have any formal training or certifications. As a result, using an inspection company that is a member of the American Society of Home Inspectors can provide peace of mind about the professionalism of the home inspector. You can also rely on referrals from friends, family, or your REALTOR® for home inspection services in your area.
Items Home Inspectors Should Evaluate
Home inspectors should look at a variety of things in and around a house including:
- Electrical system
- Plumbing system
- Heating and cooling systems
- Walls, ceiling, and flooring
- Windows and doors
- Basement / Crawlspace
In addition to evaluating the physical structure, the inspector will identify issues with the systems and areas listed above. A home inspection will not generally uncover mold or pest issues (unless there’s apparent evidence to indicate a problem). Additional investigations by other specialists may be required (e.g., septic tank inspection or pest control).
Buyers are usually encouraged with their agents to attend the home inspection so they can ask questions of the inspector.
Within a few days of the inspection, the buyer will receive a copy of the report card identifying issues. Most home inspections will find problems, many of which will be minor. However, anything significant that’s discovered can mean requesting concessions from the seller (e.g., having them fix the problems, or lowering the price) or walking away entirely.
Home Inspections for Sellers
Sellers can also have a home inspection done before listing their house. This shows buyers that they’re serious about selling their home but also allows them to fix any problems before selling the house.
One other thing of note is that a home inspection is not the same as an appraisal. An appraisal is usually a quick walkthrough of the home to understand the value of the house. An appraiser is not looking for any issues that need to be repaired. In contrast, a home inspector will spend at least a couple of hours exploring the house.
The Last Word
Buying a home is a significant investment, and whether it’s a resale home or a newly constructed home, having a home inspection done provides peace of mind of a quality investment.
Ask a REALTOR® is a bi-weekly feature on The Mike Brown Group website blog.