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The Home Inspection Checklist for Buyers

Updated on November 1, 2016
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the Inspector

Is the inspector a neutral party?

Sometimes inspectors that come referred from your real estate agent can withhold information, because it is in their best interest that the home sells. Then the real estate agent can bring them more business.

Does the inspector have experience?

Is the inspector recently licensed or do they have a long history of experience and a list of qualifications apart from their title?

Is the inspector licensed?

Dumb question, right!? But, maybe not...

Did you know that many states don't require any formal education before certifying someone as a home inspector? Some don't even require that they be licensed.

Is the inspector certified by a trade association?

Trade associations are the only entity in place that hold inspectors to any form of code or standard or require testing and continued education. Make sure your inspector is a certified member of an association like the NACHI or NAHI.

Does the inspector have general liability insurance?

The last thing you want is to end up on the wrong side of a lawsuit between you, the inspector, the homeowner, or the real estate agent. Any qualified inspector should come insured against bodily injury. A lot can go wrong during an inspection.

the Inspection

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What a General Home Inspection Covers:

  • foundation
  • architectural / structural details
  • walls
  • doors
  • ceilings
  • top layers of flooring
  • appliances
  • electrical system
  • heating
  • air conditioning
  • basement
  • attic
  • ventilation / air ducts
  • visible insulation
  • roofing
  • crawlspaces
  • visible signs of mold or deterioration

What a General Home Inspection Does NOT Cover:

  • Asbestos
  • Radon Gas
  • Lead Paint
  • Toxic Mold
  • Pest Control
  • Behind walls
  • Under flooring
  • Non-visible Structural Integrity
  • Swimming Pools
  • Wells
  • Additional Structures that are not Attached

You may want to consider hiring more specialized Inspectors if you're concerned about some of these things. It will cost more, yes, but they can cost you a lot more in the long-run if you're not aware of them.

the Legal Game

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Attend the Inspection

Make sure the inspector and real estate agent do their due diligence.

  • Did they look through every room?
  • Did they report everything they saw?
  • Did they ignore signs of a potentially big problem?

You'll never know unless you're there yourself.

Read Disclosure Agreements

Make sure your real estate agent and home inspector have agreed on paper to disclose everything they find out about a home to you, and hold on to the paperwork

Read the Inspection Report

Don't rely on the inspector or real estate agent's general opinion after the inspection. Make sure you read the whole report for yourself so that you are aware of any potential money pits that the home may have.

Keep Copies of Everything

If you find something that the real estate agent, inspector, or seller missed or didn't disclose, you'll need all your paperwork in order so that you can prove negligence.

Know the Law

Make sure you're up on the important laws regarding real estate and inspection.

  • Does your state require inspectors to be licensed?
  • Do they require that they are educated?
  • Who is liable if they miss something?
  • How can you prove that something was withheld?

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    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 8 months ago from the short journey

      Thanks for this very useful look at hiring a home inspection professional and avoiding those who are not professional.