Would you ever buy a used car without an inspection? Obviously not, right? Everyone knows that. Why then, are so many people willing to skip a home inspection?
Realtors see as many as 60 percent of buyers skip home inspections. People don’t think inspections are worth the time, money, and effort. What’s more, even the people who do demand an inspection don’t know how to interpret the results.
That leads to a real problem; people getting home inspections don’t know what they’re worth. Naive home buyers are leaving themselves open to potential problems that could not only become a financial disaster but a safety concern as well.
Interpreting your home inspecting is equivalent to opening a carton of eggs before you buy them. You wouldn’t want to take home cracked eggs, and you don’t want to buy a home with a cracked foundation.
So today, we want to help you with understanding the different parts of your home inspection report. Let’s get started.
First Thing’s First: Meet Your Inspector
Shadowing your inspector is the best way to understand a house inspection report. Watch what they’re inspecting, ask questions, and write down anything you want to research on your own.
Home inspectors are usually happy to tell you what they’re inspecting. This holds especially true if the inspector is working on your behalf.
Reading the Home Inspection Report
Reading your home inspection report depends on the report format. Inspectors commonly use two different formats, each with benefits and drawbacks.
Narrative inspection reports look like a book report. They’re long-winded reports that are often broken down into sections based on what the inspector is inspecting.
These reports are nice in that they’re detailed. You’ll get an entire synopsis of each thing inspected. This means detailed descriptions about the roof, foundation, plumbing, electrical systems, etc.
However, narrative reports are often unorganized and rely on the inspector’s writing skills. Sometimes inspection details aren’t clear.
Sectioned-off home inspection reports are written in, you guessed it, sections. Each section contains details about each specific inspection topic. You’ll have one section for the roof, one for the foundations, etc.
Each section uses short, to the point deceptions of what the inspector finds and any recommendations. Inspectors often include pictures to highlight problems they find.
You’ll get fewer details than the narrative reports, but sectioned reports are easier to skim and usually offer a visual component.
Things to Focus On
Regardless of which type of report you’re reading, you’ll want to focus on the important parts of your home inspection. While the fact you need new windows is important, it’s more important to check…
Bad plumbing can cause serious damage to your home. Leaks, drips, and other water-related hazards can cause not only wet basements but structural problems as well.
Plumbing repairs are also expensive. You don’t want to end up responsible for problems that the previous owner created.
Like plumbing, faulty electrical wiring can cause catastrophe. Faulty wiring can cause shorts, and shorts can cause fires. Both old and faulty wiring are a leading cause of house fires.
Always check the inspection report for things like exposed wires, old wiring, or any indication that the last homeowner played amateur electrician.
Beyond fires, you’ll also want to check your potential home’s electrical capacity. Older wiring can’t handle heavy electrical loads. Make sure to find out if plugging in your toaster, microwave, dryer, smart plugs, etc., won’t constantly trip the breaker.
Roof and Chimney
Your roof is the first line of defense against the elements. And roofs age, just like anything else. Read through the report and look for the roof’s age and the roofing materials. Different types of shingles last longer than others.
Also pay close attention to ensure the report doesn’t mention roof leaking, blistering, curling, crimping, listing, splitting, cracking, rotting or anything else that might indicate damage.
Worn roofs make for costly repairs.
The inspection report will include information the details how your home drains. First, look through the report to ensure the gutters and roof are properly pitched. The correct pitch helps water drain from your roof and eaves.
Next, look for the lot grade. Lots without the proper grade might allow water to pool around your foundation. Water seeping under the foundation can cause foundation cracks, pitches, and other damage.
Your foundation it quite literally what keeps your house from collapsing. Always check the inspection report to ensure the foundation is sound. Large cracks or even small amount of shifting can call for costly repairs.
Mold and Mildew
The inspection report should contain a mold information section. Mold and mildew often grow unnoticed in the basement or in the walls. Certain kinds of mold can cause serious health effects.
Choosing Your Home Inspector
Choosing your home inspector can seem intimidating. Realtors have their favorite companies and often push for you to use their friends. You need to ensure you’re using a trustworthy inspector who’s looking out for your best interests on your home inspection report.
That’s where we come in. Our home inspectors want to ensure the home of your dreams doesn’t become the home of your nightmares.
You need trustworthy professionals who genuinely care about protecting your assets. We believe that we are those people, but don’t take our word for it. We’re more than happy to discuss your questions and concerns.
Let us help you protect yourself from health hazards, expensive repairs, and more.