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What Does a Home Inspection Cover?

By Conrad Bastable

Whether you are buying or selling your home, a home inspection provides you with the knowledge to make informed decisions about the property's quality ? and therefore how much money you should seek to pay or receive. The benefit of an inspection report for a buyer should be obvious ? it gives you a detailed analysis of the current state of your potential home, letting you factor in necessary and possible adjustments to your expenses and get the best price possible. Sellers too can benefit for exactly the same reasons ? avoiding surprises and fixing problems before they come up.

No matter what state your home, or potential home, is in, an inspection report will be beneficial to your process. But how is it compiled, what's inside, and how can you best take advantage of this report?

  • A basic inspection report should cover the home's heating system, central air conditioning system, interior plumbing, electrical systems, roof, attic, visible insulation, walls, ceilings, floors, windows, doors, foundation, basement, and visible structure.
  • If you can, it's highly recommended you follow your inspector while he goes through the property. Not only will you get to see exactly where everything is, but you can ask questions as they come up to get a better understanding of the house.
  • Different inspectors use different formats for their reports, so ask beforehand so that you know what to expect. The description given for items in the report will help you understand the property, so it's important to get the most detail possible. If you aren't sure of the specifics ? and what you can do to fix things ? ask your inspector for more information.
  • Inspectors aren't held to any regulations by federal law, so standards differ by state and inspector. Ask your inspector, visit their website, and don't be afraid to shop around to find an inspector suited to your needs.
  • Put together a list of questions and concerns beforehand that you might have about the home to help your inspector give you a better insight into his report
  • To distinguish themselves, most inspectors also offer additional services that are useful to home buyers, such as mold testing, radon testing, water testing, thermal imagery, energy audits, and more. If you can, try to take advantage of these extra services.
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