Dan Green

Dan Green

Since 2003, Dan Green has been a leading mortgage lender and respected industry authority. His unwavering commitment to first-time home buyers and home buyer education has established him as a trusted voice among his colleagues, his peers, and the media. Dan founded Homebuyer.com to expand the American Dream of Homeownership to all who want it. .

Boston Home - Home Inspection

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What is a Home Inspection?

A home inspection is a thorough examination of a property’s condition, typically conducted by a qualified professional.

A Longer Definition: Home Inspection

A home inspection is an objective assessment of a property’s structure, systems, and overall condition. Conducted by a licensed professional, home inspections identify potential issues in a property’s physical structure and various systems, such as plumbing, electrical, roofing, and HVAC.

Home inspections uncover minor and major problems that could require home repairs, or affect a home’s fair market value.

Home inspections are different from home appraisals, which find a home’s fair market value.

A home inspection can take up to 6 hours while the inspector examines various aspects of the property, including its structural elements, roof, foundation, windows, doors, and insulation, as well as systems like heating, air conditioning, plumbing, and electrical.

A home inspection also checks for safety issues, including the presence of radon gas, mold, and carbon monoxide. The inspector is expected to produce a detailed report of the property’s condition, including any repairs or maintenance that may be needed.

The home inspection clause of a real estate contract gives the buyer the right to have their future home inspected as part of the sales agreement. If significant issues are found, the buyer may re-negotiate the contract to have the repairs made before closing, to adjust the sale price lower to reflect the home’s updated value, or, in some cases, to back out of the purchase and receive their earnest money back.

Home Inspection: A Real-World Example

First-Time Home Buyer Stories: Flipped Home

Imagine a first-time home buyer who makes an offer on a home, and it’s accepted. The sale contract contains a home inspection clause, so the buyer hires a licensed home inspector to assess the property.

During the home inspection, the inspector methodically examines each part of the house. In the basement, the inspector identifies a series of sizable cracks in the home’s foundation.

The inspector explains the defect to the buyer and calls attention to other structural damage that may be present in the home. The buyer is faced with a tough decision. Their real estate contract includes a home inspection clause, which stipulates that the purchase is contingent on a satisfactory home inspection.

Given the severity of the foundation issues, the buyer asks the seller if they’re willing to make foundation repairs before closing. The seller refuses, so the buyer withdraws their offer without penalty.

Common Questions About Home Inspection

What should I expect during a home inspection?

During a home inspection, expect the inspector to thoroughly examine the property’s interior and exterior. They will check structural elements, plumbing, electrical systems, and more, and provide a detailed report of their findings.

How long does a home inspection take?

A standard home inspection typically takes a few hours, depending on the size and condition of the property. For very large homes, it can take a full business day.

Can I attend the home inspection?

Yes, it’s recommended for home buyers to attend the home inspection. Being there lets you see the issues firsthand and ask questions directly to the inspector.

What happens if the home inspection reveals problems?

Home inspectors usually find at least one problem during an inspection, but not all problems are major. If significant problems are found, you can negotiate with the seller for repairs, for a lower sale price, or decide to back out of the purchase if your contract includes a home inspection clause.

Does a clean home inspection mean the house is perfect?

Not necessarily. While a clean inspection report is a good sign, it doesn’t guarantee that there won’t be future issues. Regular maintenance is still essential.

What are examples of major home inspection issues?

Major home inspection issues include: a cracked foundation, severe roof damage, outdated or faulty electrical wiring, plumbing issues leading to major leaks, significant mold problems, or pest infestations. These issues often require extensive and costly repairs.

What are examples of minor home inspection issues?

Minor home inspection issues include: minor plumbing leaks, small cracks in walls or ceilings, peeling paint, loose fixtures or tiles, and minor electrical issues like a faulty switch. These issues typically don’t pose immediate risks to the home’s safety or integrity.

       A home inspection is a thorough examination of a property's condition, typically conducted by a qualified professional.

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