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If you’re planning to buy a home, an inspection is crucial to make sure you’re getting a great deal and a safe, high-quality property.

When your inspector arrives, you’ll receive a home inspection report at the end of the process to help you determine if there are any issues with the home.

Read on to learn what to look for and how to understand your report to help you make a sound decision.

Home Inspection Report Basics

While it’s not mandatory, every buyer should opt to get a home inspection. You’ll pay for this cost out of pocket, but the price is fairly low considering the information you’ll receive. Costs will vary depending on your location, the size of the home, and other factors.

The inspector will take a close look at the major components of the home. They’ll take photos and detailed notes about any issues or potential problems they see.

Most home inspections take just a few hours, and then an hour or two more to complete the report. Prepare to wait a full business day for the inspection and report to be completed.

Once the inspector is done, you’ll receive the detailed report. Use this information to help you negotiate with the seller, request repairs, or to be aware of any problems that could occur with the home in the future.

Deciphering Your Report

When you receive your report, there will be several items that you’ll need to examine closely. The home inspector uses coded letters to indicate the status of each part of the home.

The letter I means the item was inspected, NI means it was “not inspected.” NP means that the item was either unable to be found or it could not be accessed by the inspector.

If you see the letter S, it indicates that a specific item is a safety concern. Make sure you address these items immediately before you move forward with your purchase.

The letter R indicates that something needs general repair, but it shouldn’t pose a safety risk or cause damage to the home. If you see the letter D, it indicates that something is defective and non-functioning. This indicates that the item should be repaired or replaced.

Thankfully, you’ll get more than just coded letters on your home inspection report. The inspector should also include detailed notes that specify exactly why these items are coded this way.

Interpreting Notes and Photos

A home inspection involves checking things like the roof, the HVAC system, the plumbing, and the electrical components of the home. Your inspector should also look for signs of infestation from pests like termites and other wood-destroying insects or rodents.

Keep in mind that it’s the inspector’s job to point out defects and problems, but they’re not a licensed repair professional. They will simply point out things they observe that may indicate a safety concern or problem in the future.

In addition to their notes, you should also receive photos in your home inspection report. You can use these photos to make negotiations with the seller for repair or even to make a decision that the property isn’t right for you.

Everything from broken appliances to moisture damages and roof issues should be notated on the report. Make sure you show this report to your real estate agent before you sign a contract. They will work with you to determine which items you should ask the seller to fix before you purchase the home.

If something presents itself as a safety concern, these items should be addressed as soon as possible. If certain items need repair, you can address those individually with the seller. Most sellers will at least agree to correct items that could be a potential safety hazard.

The last page of your report should be a quick summary of everything the home inspector has found. Use this page to quickly refer to items that need to be addressed.

Important Information for Buyers

It’s important to note that your home inspector’s job is to make a quick assessment of issues with the home. Things like the roof or foundation should be inspected further by a specialist if those items are a serious concern.

You don’t have to give the seller a copy of your home inspection report. However, you can use specific line items to use as leverage when you make your offer.

Work closely with your real estate agent to decide which things you want the seller to fix. Then, use a qualified contractor to get estimates for repair that you can give to the seller when they make a decision.

The home seller can say yes to all repairs, no to all repairs, or yes to just a few specific repairs. It’s up to you to decide which are the most important, and which ones could be a dealbreaker.

You are allowed to be present during a home inspection if you choose. Feel free to ask questions or observe things with the inspector so you can get a better idea of the condition of the home.

Make Your Inspection Report Work for You

Once you understand what’s involved in a home inspection report, you can use this information to help you make a smart buying decision. Ask questions and make sure you fully understand every item in the report so you know you’re getting a good deal for your money.

For more information about our services or to schedule an inspection, visit our website, or contact us today.