What is a Home Inspection And Do I Really Need One?

As new and potential home buyers search for their dream home, we find many new home seekers asking “What is a home inspection, and do I really need one?” In this article, we’ll explain what a home inspection is, what it is not, and why it’s important to have a home inspection performed before buying, selling, and even to properly maintain a property.

What is a Home Inspection?

A home inspection is a simple non-invasive procedure where a qualified home inspection company or individual performs a basic visual examination of a property.

Inspection Types

The most common home inspections are typically performed in connection with the following:

  • The sale of a home. This is known as a Pre-Listing Inspection.
    Inspection costs are paid for by the current homeowner.
  • The purchase of a home. This is known as a Pre-Sale Inspection.
    Inspections costs are paid for by the buyer.
  • Maintenance. This is a due diligence process.
    Inspection costs are paid for by the current homeowner.

There are several other types of home inspections but they’re not as common as those typically connected with the sale or purchase of a property. These inspections include:

  • Disaster Inspection
  • Eleventh Month Inspection
  • Foreclosure Inspection 
  • Four-Point Inspection 
  • HVAC Inspection
  • Illicit Residue Inspection
  • Plumbing Inspection
  • Pre-Delivery Inspection
  • Section Eight Inspection
  • Structural Inspection
  • Thermal Imaging Inspection

Inspection Goal

The inspector’s main goal is to look for material defects with any of the property’s systems and components which make up the dwelling that may cause reasonable risk to an individual or the property itself. The inspector may also find defects that affect the property’s market value.

In addition to looking for materials defects, the inspector may also point out what is also right with the property. People do not always like hearing everything that is wrong, they also like to understand what is right.

Inspection Areas

Some of the systems and components examined include the following:

  • Roof
  • Exterior 
  • Basement/Crawlspace
  • Foundation
  • Structure
  • Heating and Cooling
  • Plumbing
  • Electrical
  • Fireplace
  • Attic/Insulation/Ventilation
  • Doors/Windows
  • Interior of Structure

Inspection Area Limitations

There are some limitations to the areas, systems, and components when a basic home inspection is performed. Septic systems, detached structures, well pumps, water testing, chimney flues, and interior wall spaces are just a few of the limitation areas.

Some inspectors are qualified to inspect some of these areas and will do so for an additional fee, they’re just not included in a basic home inspection. It would be wise when seeking out a home inspection company or individual to see what their qualifications are before having an inspection.

Inspection Report

Once a thorough examination of the property is complete, the home inspection company or individual typically provides a well-written and detailed home inspection report outlining any observations, including pictures with annotations, which were observed throughout the inspection.

Photo by Shopify Partners from Burst

The home inspection report is then shared with the individual or company that requested and paid for the home inspection.

What a Home Inspection is Not!

Home inspections are not exhaustive. This means that the home inspection will not reveal everything that is currently or could go wrong with a property.

Because the inspection process is not exhaustive, it’s also impossible to predict future conditions.

Home inspections and any observed findings reported are valid for the date of the inspection only.

Although there are State and municipality building codes and regulations that must be met, it is not within the home inspector’s Standards of Practice to determine code compliance.

Code compliance issues are the responsibility of local and State code enforcement officers.