What Does a Home Inspector Look For?

A white house with pumpkins on the front porch.

You’ve decided to sell your home. Congrats! Before you put it on the market, you want to get a head start on any minor repairs that need to be made. So, you’ve hired a home inspector. The last thing you want is for potential buyers to be turned off by a professional home inspection report full of problems.

But what is the home inspection process? They’re trained to evaluate the condition of a home and identify any major issues that need to be addressed. Here’s the full guide on what to expect from a home inspection.

What is a Home Inspection?

Home inspections are an evaluation of a home’s condition. Inspectors look at a house’s major systems and components to identify any issues that need to be repaired or replaced. This can include the roof, windows, siding, heating and cooling unit, plumbing, electrical system, and more.

Are House Inspectors Licensed?

House inspectors are not required to be licensed in all states. However, many home inspector organizations recommend that home inspectors be licensed. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) even recommends that home buyers only use licensed home inspectors.

Who Needs a Home Inspection?

Someone typically schedules an inspection when a home is being sold. As part of the home buying process, the buyer usually hires a house inspector to assess the condition of the property before making an offer. Sometimes, the sellers conduct their home inspection before putting their house on the market.

What Do Residential Building Inspectors Look For?

During a home inspection, the inspector look at the home’s primary systems and components. They also look for any safety issues, such as problems with structural components, the physical structure, and a faulty foundation. The inspector prepares a home inspection report that details their findings.

The following is a home inspection checklist covering everything from heating and cooling systems and the electrical panel to radon testing, the septic tank, and the home’s structure.

Roof:

The home inspection specialist checks for any damage to the roof, such as missing or loose shingles. They also look for signs of leaks. On average, roofs need to be replaced every 20-30 years. Even with regular care, newer materials often offer more protection and last longer.

When replacing your roof to improve your home’s sales value, look for reinforced, impact-resistant shingles. They may cost more upfront, but these last longer and could even help you save on insurance premiums.

Windows:

The inspector checks the condition of the windows and looks for any signs of leaks. They also look for missing or cracked glass and broken window seals. Age is another factor—most windows must be replaced every 15-20 years.

If you need to replace your home’s windows, the best replacements are typically Energy Star-rated windows. Although it’s an expensive renovation, it’s an excellent selling point for your home.

Siding:

The inspector checks the condition of the siding and looks for any signs of damage, such as cracks, holes, or loose boards. Siding typically needs to be replaced every 15-20 years.

When it’s time to replace your home’s siding, look for a durable and easy-to-maintain material. Vinyl siding is popular because it is low-maintenance and comes in various colors and styles.

HVAC System:

They check the condition of the heating and air conditioning system and look for any signs of wear or tear. Also, the inspection includes a test to see if it works properly. The average lifespan of a heating and cooling system is 15-20 years.

Look for an energy-efficient unit if you need to replace your house’s current one. This can help you save money on your energy bills while making your home more appealing to potential buyers.

Plumbing:

The inspector looks at the condition of the plumbing and looks for any signs of leaks. They also test the water pressure to make sure it is within a normal range. The average lifespan of plumbing fixtures is 15-20 years.

When you’re ready to replace all or part of your house’s plumbing, search for low-flow or energy-efficient fixtures. While saving money on water bills helps you save on closing costs, making your property more appealing to potential buyers is an added benefit.

Electrical System:

The inspector checks the electrical system’s condition and looks for any signs of wear or tear. They will also test the outlets to make sure they are working correctly. The average lifespan of electrical systems is 15-20 years.

Upgrade to an energy-efficient electrical system if you need to replace your home’s current one. This helps you save money on your energy bills while making your home more appealing to potential buyers.

Home Foundation:

The inspector checks the foundation’s condition and looks for any signs of cracks, leaks, or other damage. The average lifespan of a home foundation is 15-20 years. Foundation issues may require additional inspections and can lower the purchase price.

Problems with the foundation can make it very difficult to sell a home. If you need to repair or replace your foundation, look for a contractor specializing in this work.

Insects and Pests:

The inspector look for any signs of insects or pests, such as holes in the walls or floors, droppings, or nests. They also check for damage caused by these pests, such as chewing on wires or wood.

If you find that your home has an infestation, it’s essential to get rid of the problem right away. Not only can this make your home more appealing to potential buyers, but it will also help you avoid any health hazards that come with having pests in your home.

Water Heater:

The inspector checks the water heater’s condition and looks for any signs of leaks or other damage. The average lifespan of a water heater is 15-20 years.

Look for an energy-efficient water heater if you need to replace your home’s current one. This helps you save money on your energy bills while making your home more appealing to potential buyers.

Grounds/Yard:

The inspector checks the condition of the grounds, including the lawn, landscaping, and any outbuildings. Some inspections look at the scope of the land for future water issues, such as flooding or drainage problems.

Well-maintained grounds can make your home more appealing to potential buyers and help you get a higher price for your property. If you’re selling your home, hire a professional landscaper to help you get the most out of your yard.

This is a small snapshot of what a house inspector looks for during an inspection, but it’s not an exhaustive list.

According to Claude McGavic, executive director of the National Association of Home Inspectors, in a Realtor.com interview

“We’ve got 1,600 items on our list that home inspectors are supposed to look at.”

As you can see, a lot goes into a home inspection.

Skip the Visual Inspection With a Cash Sale

It’s a tough real estate market. Rising rates are causing sales to stall, and many homeowners are stuck with properties they can’t unload.

If you’re unsuccessful, consider We Buy Houses RVA. We’re a local home buying company that makes cash offers on properties as-is. You don’t have to worry about a home inspection contingency with us. Our purchase agreement is a cash payment for your home without changes. Instead, sell to an investor and use the money to buy your dream home.

What Are Cash Home Sales?

A cash home sale is a real estate transaction in which the buyer pays for the property in full with cash. This sale type can help you avoid the hassle and expense of a traditional home sale, which often involves getting a mortgage, making major repairs, and paying commissions and other fees.

The primary advantage of a cash home sale is that it simplifies the home selling process and can help you close on your property more quickly.

Other advantages include:

  • No real estate agent or fees
  • No renovations
  • No open houses or showings
  • No need to stage your home
  • Fast cash
  • Quick closing

Many homeowners find that a cash home sale is the best way to unload their property in today’s market.

If you’re interested in learning more about cash home sales, contact We Buy Houses RVA today. We’ll be happy to answer any of your questions and provide you with a free, no-obligation cash offer for your home.

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