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What to Expect with a Home Inspection

Now that you have gotten through the back-and-forth negotiations of the residential contract agreement and your buyer has settled their finances with their bank, it is time for the home inspection. But what can you expect with a home inspection? Today's edition of's blog deals with just this.

What is a Home Inspection?

What to Expect with a Home Inspection

A home inspection is an objective visual examination of the physical structure and systems of yourhome from the roof down to the foundation. Generally, the buyer pays for the inspection and it can last for a few hours depending on the size of the home. Sometimes this inspection may include tests for radon, mold, termites and carpenter ants, and if there is a septic system on the property, that may also be tested. The inspector is limited to just readily visible and accessible items. The purpose of this home inspection is to notify the buyer of what conditions exist that they could not see during their tour of your home.

You do not need to be present while the inspection occurs, but it is highly recommended. You can observe, ask questions and learn about maintenance items regarding your home and property.

The General Checklist

All homeshave strong and weak points. Many of the items that will probably be listed may simply be cosmetic. The items of actual concern should be structural issues. The home inspector works through a long list of concerns and their report will clearly describe the problems and illustrate them. A general home inspection checklist includes:

  • Garage: walls, slab floor, garage doors, electric door openers
  • Structural elements: walls, ceilings, floors, roof, and foundation
  • Appliances: Range and oven, dishwasher, garbage disposal, built-in microwaves, frig and etc.
  • Roof and Attic: framing, ventilation, insulation, age and type of roof, flashing, evidence of leaks
  • Electrical: main panel, circuit breakers, type of wiring, exhaust fans, receptacles, ceiling fans, light fixtures
  • Plumbing: toilets, sinks, faucets, pipe material, showers, tubs, evidence of leaks and malfunctions, water pressure
  • External: grading, drainage, siding, trim, façade, windows, gutters and leaders, driveway and walkways, patios and decks
  • Systems and Components: hot water heater's age and condition, duct work, chimney and fireplace, central air, central heat.

The buyer will receive a detailed report from the inspector within just a few days. Usually, there will be a summary of the important items that were discovered. Do expect the list to be relatively long – this is completely normal since the inspector has searched the entirehome. If the items are structural in nature or otherwise troublesome to your buyer, they will discuss them with you or their attorney and/or agent to decide what is to be done and if you as the seller should be responsible for some of it.

If there is a specific issue, an expert may be called in to further evaluate and access the item in question as well as make estimates for repairs.  You may be asked to fix certain items or instead give the buyer a credit at closing for them to fix at their leisure. Ask for a copy of the home inspection to verify the issues and repairs being stated.

In summary: A home inspection is usually paid for by the buyer so that they may have a more detailed idea of what to expect from the home and property they are purchasing. They may choose to ask you to repair certain items they find troubling, or ask you for a credit at closing so that they may do it themselves after the home is officially theirs. Either way, you now know what to expect with a home inspection and will be comfortable with the change of listing status to Pending Sale and then move onto the closing.