What is a Home Inspection?

A home inspection is a report on the overall condition of a home. A thorough home inspection gives the buyer details about a home’s structure, foundation, electrical, plumbing, and more. A home inspector checks the areas of a home beyond what a buyer can see on the surface. Getting a home inspection is important because it helps the buyer know if a home may need costly repairs. What is uncovered during an inspection can become part of a sales negotiation between a buyer and seller, and their respective real estate agents.

What Does a Home Inspection Cover?

Each home is unique, so what is inspected during a home inspection will vary. The American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) recommends that its certified home inspectors thoroughly inspect these areas:

  • Attic, including the condition of insulation
  • Basement or crawl space
  • Ceilings and interior walls (general condition)
  • Doors and door frames (general condition)
  • Floors (general condition)
  • Foundation
  • Heating and cooling systems
  • Interior electrical systems, including wiring
  • Interior plumbing systems
  • Roof
  • Structure, interior, and exterior
  • Windows (general condition)

What a Home Inspection Does Not Cover

There are limits to what an inspector checks. According to ASHI standards, certified inspectors do not generally check these areas of a home:

  • Additional structures separate from home, such as sheds, barns, and so on
  • Chimney
  • Interior wall spaces
  • Septic tank
  • Water testing
  • Well pump

Even when a home inspector’s services do not cover some areas of a property, you, as a homebuyer, can still have those areas inspected. Often, the inspector you hire may be able to perform additional inspections. Just contact them and ask, and be sure to check about the additional cost. For certain areas, you may have to hire a different professional to do an inspection, such as for a well or septic system.

If you are concerned about any aspect of a home you are about to buy, talk to your agent about what to do and ask follow-up questions as needed. Your agent’s knowledge and local experience can be an invaluable resource that you can and should tap about home inspections and throughout the home-buying process. Importantly, additional inspections can potentially save you money and provide you with added peace of mind.

Why a Home Inspection Matters

When you are serious about buying a home for sale, an inspection can help give you the confidence you need to buy it. A home inspection also gives you knowledge about any required home repairs. Armed with your report, you can either negotiate needed repairs as part of the sale or plan how to budget to make the repairs yourself after you close.

You can and should plan to attend a home inspection. Buying a home is potentially the biggest investment of your life. The inspection step is your opportunity to ask questions and learn about your home purchase first-hand.