So you’ve selected a home inspector and scheduled a date for your inspection. Now what?
It’s important to know what to expect from your inspection; I’ve heard other agents liken it to a checkup from your doctor, and I think that’s a great comparison. A home inspection is intended to be an overview of the major structures and systems of your home, to alert you to any issues that may need to be looked into more carefully by a specialist. The American Society of Home Inspectors states on their website that a standard home inspection should cover heating and cooling systems (temperature permitting); plumbing and electrical systems; the roof, attic, and visible insulation; the basement and foundation; and the condition of walls, floors, ceilings, windows, and doors. Most inspectors will also do a radon test for a small additional fee, but if you’re concerned about lead paint, you should work with a licensed lead specialist to perform a separate inspection. In Massachusetts, you can contact any of the lead inspectors listed here.
Keep in mind that inspectors go by what’s visible. They aren’t authorized or trained to open up walls to look for problems that may be lurking inside, so for example, if your inspector notes a water stain on a ceiling, you may need to have a licensed plumber and/or contractor take a more in-depth look. Most inspectors also won’t go up on the roof to examine it in detail, but will let you know if they see any issues from the ground that suggest a roofer should take a closer look.
Once the inspection is complete, your inspector will issue you a full report based on his or her inspection of the home. These reports are often lengthy, but it’s important to read through the report carefully; a good inspector will note all of the visible issues with the home, no matter how minor. Your next step will be to discuss the report with your Realtor, so tomorrow, I’ll give you some tips on where to go from there…