Essential Home Inspection: Must-Knows for Buyers!

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In this article, you will read the main points of inspection.

When Should You Schedule a Home Inspection?

Home inspector doing home inspections

Once you have made an offer on a home and it has been accepted, you typically have a window of time during which you can schedule and conduct a home inspection of the property. This time period is known as the inspection contingency period, and it varies depending on the location and the conditions of the contract.

During this period, it is essential that you act quickly to ensure that you are able to inspect the property as soon as possible. For example, if you are purchasing a home in California, the inspection contingency period is typically 17 days, but in other states, it may be as short as 7 days.

There should be at least a few hours required for an inspection, such as 3 to 4 hours. Ideally, you should be present during the inspection so you will be able to find out as much as possible about the home’s condition, take your own notes and photographs, and ask any questions that might concern you.

The importance of choosing a qualified home inspector

Choosing a reputable home inspector is one of the most important decisions you will make. Look for professionals with a good track record of conducting thorough inspections and who are licensed or certified to conduct these inspections. You can usually find a list of experienced inspectors through your real estate agent.

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Get a quote for a home inspection

The first thing you need to do is find an inspection company or licensed home inspector, then you need to get in touch with them and ask for a quote. Make sure to ask about the inclusions and exclusions of the inspection. Ask about any additional services you may need and the cost of those. Finally, ask about the timeframe for completing the inspection and how long it will take to receive the report.

What services do you need in-home inspection?

man writing home inspections outcomes

Home inspection services typically encompass a thorough examination of various aspects of a residential property to assess its condition and identify any issues or potential concerns. Here are the key services and areas that home inspectors typically cover during a home inspection:

  1. Structural Inspection: This involves assessing the structural integrity of the home, including the foundation, walls, roof, ceilings, floors, and structural components like beams and columns.
  2. Roof Inspection: The inspector examines the roof’s condition, looking for signs of damage, leaks, missing or damaged shingles, and the overall integrity of the roofing system.
  3. Exterior Inspection: This includes an assessment of the exterior features, such as siding, windows, doors, trim, gutters, downspouts, and the overall condition of the home’s exterior walls.
  4. Plumbing Inspection: The inspector checks the plumbing system for leaks, proper functionality, water pressure, and the condition of pipes, fixtures, and drainage systems.
  5. Electrical Inspection: This involves evaluating the electrical system, including the main electrical panel, circuit breakers, wiring, outlets, switches, and the presence of any electrical safety hazards.
  6. HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) Inspection: The inspector examines the HVAC systems to ensure they are in good working order, including heating and cooling equipment, ductwork, and ventilation systems.
  7. Interior Inspection: The interior assessment includes an examination of the walls, ceilings, floors, doors, windows, staircases, and other interior components. Inspectors may also check for signs of water damage, mold, or other indoor air quality issues.
  8. Appliance Inspection: Inspectors may assess the condition and functionality of major appliances such as the stove, oven, dishwasher, refrigerator, and HVAC equipment.
  9. Attic and Crawlspace Inspection: If accessible, inspectors will examine the attic and crawlspace areas for insulation, ventilation, moisture issues, and signs of pests or structural concerns.
  10. Insulation and Ventilation Inspection: The inspector evaluates the insulation in walls and attics and checks the adequacy of ventilation in the home.
  11. Fireplace and Chimney Inspection: If applicable, the inspector assesses the condition and safety of the fireplace, chimney, and associated components.
  12. Pest and Mold Inspection: While not always included, some inspectors offer pest and mold inspections as additional services to identify infestations or mold-related concerns.
  13. Termite Inspection: Termites and other wood-destroying insects (WDI) are not just annoying pests; they pose a grave threat to the very structure of your home. Recognizing and addressing their presence, whether current or historical, is a mission of paramount importance. Inspection can help you by detecting the current or previous activity of termites, carpenter ants, wood-boring beetles, and carpenter bees. Home Inspectors will also note past treatments and make recommendations if further action is required.
  14. Environmental Testing (Specific Radon testing): In some cases, homeowners or buyers may request specific environmental tests, such as radon testing, lead paint testing, or asbestos inspection, which may be offered as additional services. It’s important when you buy old property or have a basement on the property. It is important to know that radon, a radioactive gas, is present in most soils due to the natural decay of uranium. This gas tends to move upwards through the soil and can seep through cracks and holes in the foundation of your home without producing any odor. Unfortunately, high levels of radon can accumulate in your house without you ever noticing. Shockingly, over 25% of homes tested for radon in the Greater Cincinnati area have shown higher than acceptable levels. It is worth noting that any property, regardless of age, level of sealing, or draftiness, can have a radon problem. It is alarming to know that radon is the second leading cause of cancer, just behind smoking. Read more about Radon at
  15. Infrared Thermography Testing: When you hire home inspection services, you can ask them if are they using a thermography testing technique. Infrared thermography, often referred to simply as thermography or thermal imaging, is a sophisticated technology that empowers us to see beyond what the naked eye can perceive. This powerful tool allows us to detect and assess variations in temperature, revealing critical information in a wide range of applications. Whether used in building diagnostics, electrical inspections, mechanical maintenance, or other fields, infrared thermography testing provides valuable insights by capturing thermal patterns and anomalies that may indicate hidden problems.

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Documentation and reporting after home inspection

man and woman watching home inspection report

After a home inspection, the inspector typically provides a detailed report that serves as a valuable document in the home-buying process. Here’s what you can expect from a home inspection report and how it is valuable:

1. Comprehensive Assessment: The home inspection report offers a comprehensive assessment of the property’s condition. It details the findings of the inspection, including both positive aspects and any issues or concerns discovered during the inspection.

2. Written Documentation: The report is a written document that provides a clear and organized summary of the inspector’s observations. It typically includes descriptions of each component or system inspected, along with any defects, deficiencies, or areas of concern.

3. Photographs: In many cases, the report includes photographs that illustrate specific issues or areas of interest. These visual aids can help you better understand the nature and extent of any problems.

4. Categorization of Issues: Issues are often categorized based on their severity. Common categories may include:

  • Safety Hazards: Issues that pose an immediate safety risk.
  • Major Defects: Significant problems that require attention and repair.
  • Minor Defects: Relatively minor issues that may need addressing but are not critical.
  • General Maintenance Recommendations: Suggestions for routine upkeep and maintenance.

5. Recommendations: The report may include recommendations for addressing the identified issues. These recommendations can help you prioritize repairs and maintenance tasks.

6. Educational Tool: Home inspection reports serve as educational tools. They help buyers understand the condition of the property they are purchasing, which is especially valuable for first-time buyers or those unfamiliar with construction and home maintenance.

7. Negotiation Tool: The report can be a valuable negotiation tool during the home buying process. If significant issues are identified, buyers can use the report to request repairs, request a reduction in the purchase price, or negotiate other terms with the seller.

8. Future Planning: Even if you decide to move forward with the purchase, the report provides valuable information for future planning. It allows you to budget for necessary repairs or improvements and develop a long-term maintenance plan for the property.

9. Peace of Mind: Ultimately, the home inspection report offers peace of mind. It helps you make an informed decision about the property and ensures that you are aware of any potential issues or costs associated with the home.

In summary, a home inspection report is a comprehensive document that outlines the condition of a property and provides valuable information for buyers. It serves as a tool for negotiation, future planning, and peace of mind, helping buyers make well-informed decisions in the home-buying process. It’s crucial to thoroughly review the report, ask questions if needed, and consider its findings when making your final decision.

If you are living in the Mason or Cincinnati area, here are some certified home inspector companies:

  • American Verified Home Inspections: (513) 871-7800
  • A-Pro Home Inspections Cincinnati: (513) 657-1367
  • Best Choice Home Inspections: (513) 886-1560
  • Cincinnati Certified Home Inspections: (513) 745-0045
  • Gerard Home Inspection: (513) 387-9173
  • High Bar Home Inspections: (513) 782-1712
  • Guardian Inspections: 513-573-0272

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