The Nuts and Bolts of a Home Inspection

The home inspector is a generalist.

1. SELECTING YOUR HOME INSPECTOR. Your realtor will have recommendations for you on a home building inspector. Interviewing the inspectors is a must but so is doing your homework and looking at their reviews on line, website, and asking your agent what their experience has been with them.

2. THOROUGHNESS. The home inspector is a generalist. This is usually someone who has background as a builder or in a specific trade, or someone who has completed the necessary coursework to be qualified to conduct a home inspection. It is a solid first step to understanding more on the nuts and bolts of your future home. 

Even better, is supplementing the home inspector with a number of specific trades such as heating and cooling company, generator company, plumber, roofer, and engineer to review drainage plan, as well as the specialists for amenities, i.e., pool, tennis court. 

You may also want to bring in someone to look at special concerns, such as a soil specialist for a property with extensive wetlands. While bringing in supplemental trades increases the overall cost of a home inspection, the greater accuracy in information gained, and discovery of potential concerns, is well worth the added expense.

3. ENVIRONMENTAL. There are a number of tests you can have completed in the health arena, either by the inspector or specialists. Your building inspector can let you know which make the most sense for you, based upon your personal health needs/concerns, location and age of the home. Tests might include:

  • Radon
  • Water
  • Mold
  • Air

4. YOUR ROLE AT THE INSPECTION. As the future homeowner, it’s important that you have some basic knowledge about your future home. Where is the main water shut off? Where is the pilot light? What does each thermostat control? If you are lucky, the current homeowner will give you an in-person walk through of how your home works and/or leave you manuals, but don’t pass up the opportunity to learn as much as you can from the inspector.  Every inspector runs the inspection his own way—some like you to follow along for the entire inspection while others like to inspect a portion of the home and then bring you in for the recap. 

5.  WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT FROM YOUR INSPECTOR.

(1) A clear explanation verbally and in writing. If the inspector is discussing things that you don’t understand, let him know this is the case and ask him to break it down into laymen’s language.  You should also receive a thorough written report with a summary that highlights concerns/issues that the inspector has identified along with recommended action steps.

(2) Patience and time to address all of your concerns.

(3) Recommendations of specialists, should follow up be needed.

(4) Availability to answer any follow up questions.


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