A home inspection is an important part of any agreement to purchase a home, especially if the property is older. Having an inspection done by a certified inspector can help give you some peace of mind knowing that the home you’re buying is in relatively good condition. However, a home inspection only goes so far – it’s mainly just a visual inspection, and not necessarily an in-depth one.
Factors a Home Inspector Covers
Condition of interior walls, floors, doors and windows – Your inspector will be able to identify any suspicious cracks, water damage, and any warping on such interior features, and make recommendations on how to rectify such issues.
Plumbing and electrical fixtures - The pipes in all your sinks, tubs and showers will be visually inspected for proper water flow and any rusting. Electrical outlets and breakers will also be looked at to make sure there isn’t any knob-and-tubing, or if the amps are adequate for all the appliances in your home.
Heating and cooling systems - These systems will be visually inspected to gauge their age, and to inform you if they’ll need replacement any time in the near future.
Attic – Your inspector will crawl through the attic to check for proper insulation and ventilation.
Exterior features – The exterior walls, foundation and roof will be inspected to check for cracks and other potentially significant issues, and to identify if anything requires replacement.
Factors a Home Inspector Will Not Cover
What’s lurking (or lacking) behind the walls – Don’t expect your inspector to start tearing down walls looking for poor insulation or any mould.
Termite infestation – Your home inspector is more like an “expert generalist”, so if termites are a concern for you, hiring a pest control expert might be called for.
Septic tank gunk – If the home you’re buying has a septic tank, you’ll need to get an expert in such systems to thoroughly check out the state of the tank. An inspector might check the pipes, but the system itself will most likely be disregarded.
Heating duct surprises - There could be any number of unpleasant surprises hiding in the heating ducts that your inspector won’t be able to find, especially if they’re sitting deep in the ductwork.
Landscaping health – Your inspector will not do an in-depth inspection of the health of your landscaping. Anything like soil contamination or insect infestation will go unnoticed for the most part.
Home buyers can expect to pay anywhere between $250 to $500 on average for a home inspection, depending on the size and condition of the home. Always make sure that the inspector you hire is certified, and has no underlying interest in the actual sale of the property.