How To Perform a Home Inspection

There are a variety of reasons and a wide range of costs that you will encounter to have your house inspected. The normal house inspection can average 4 to 5 hours but can sometimes be as short as 5 minutes. These inspections are normally conducted when either buying or selling your home.  Here are the key items to look for when arranging a house inspection.

  1. Locating a House Inspector:  You should be able to find local inspectors in your town or city through the yellow pages, Better Business Bureau (BBB), or a realtor.  You can also check with friends or someone who has had his home inspected recently.
  2. Use a Local Inspector:  A local inspector knows the local housing market, what works and what doesn’t, as well as the effects the local weather conditions have on the houses.
  3. As a Minimum: Check for water damage, cracked cement, sagging walls, and wind damage, or parts of the roof missing.
  4. All Appliances: All appliances in the house will be inspected for proper operation, noting any visible damage or misuse.
  5. Green Inspection: A relatively new inspection is for any green or environmentally friendly appliances, and potential cost savings.
  6. Separate Inspections: Each room should have its own inspection with a detailed list room by room of the results.  Ensure the inspector has measured each room independently and listed any problems in sufficient detail.
  7. Inspection Results: Some faults may be expensive to repair and the owner should be aware of the conditions and possible expenses.  It is not the responsibility of the inspector to recommend or tell you how to make any repairs.
  8. Additional Inspections: Other reasons to have your house inspected are any noticeable damage, and severe weather, such as ice storms, tornados, hurricanes and earthquakes.  A sudden increase in your utilities bills, more than normal electricity usage, or a huge water bill can be indicative of a problem that is starting to develop.  
  9. Preliminary Walk Through: You should perform a preliminary walk through of your house; note any staining on the ceiling or walls, the development of massive cracks in the foundation. Pay attention to water damage, and try to isolate the cause. Remember some flooding problems my only occur when running the water, such as for washing dishes, laundry and showers.  
  10. External Walk Around: On the outside, check the gutters, see if they are all connected and drain away from the house. Check the drainage area, it is hard to judge when not raining, but you should be able to see the ground slop away from the house and into the drains.
  11. Inspection Costs:  The time and cost to conduct a thorough inspection vary state to state and city to city and from inspector to inspector. When requesting a bid write down everything you need and let the inspector decide what should be inspected.
  12. Provide each inspector: With the same requirements list and ask them to provide a written response to your request within 3-5 workdays.
  13. Bid Responses: When reviewing the bid responses, ensure you are comparing apples to apples. Based on the quotes from each inspector, you can award your project to the company you feel is the most qualified.

What needs to be accomplished after the house inspection?  After you have received a copy of the inspection report, ensure you understand it and ask any questions you have. The inspector may know several companies that can perform the repairs, but he will not tell you how to make the repair. Use similar steps when looking for a company to complete the repairs on your house. Ask questions!


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