Shaun MacDonald Premier Realtor
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An In-depth Look at Home Inspections

Everything you need to know about home inspections


The Hidden Value of Home Inspections

Congratulations, future homeowner! Your quest for the perfect abode begins with a treasure trove of information—home inspections. This comprehensive guide will navigate you through the intricate world of home inspections, covering why they are essential, how to select the right inspector, decoding the cost, what inspectors meticulously examine, and the various specialized inspections available, including pest, radon, septic, and water inspections.


The Crucial Role of Home Inspections

Imagine purchasing a locked treasure chest without ever checking its contents. Skipping a home inspection is akin to this reckless endeavor. These meticulous examinations unveil the home's well-kept secrets, ranging from concealed defects to vital safety concerns. It is your vital tool in ensuring your dream home doesn't harbor unpleasant surprises.


Choosing the Perfect Home Inspector

Inspector Credentials and Licenses

Begin your quest by seeking an inspector with the necessary credentials and a valid license. This assurance ensures they possess the knowledge and expertise to perform a thorough evaluation.

Experience Matters

Just as seasoned explorers find the most treasures, experienced inspectors bring wisdom to the table. Opt for someone with a proven track record, as they are more likely to uncover even the most hidden issues.

Seek Referrals and Read Reviews

Unearth your inspector's history by asking for referrals from friends, family, or your real estate agent. Delve into online reviews to gauge past customers' experiences and determine if the inspector aligns with your needs.


Decoding Home Inspection Costs

The Investment in Assurance

Home inspection costs can vary based on factors like location, size, and the inspector's expertise. Expect to invest around $300 to $500 for the average inspection. While it may seem like an additional expense, consider it a form of insurance against unforeseen financial burdens in the future.


Specialized Inspections

In addition to a general home inspection, there are several specialized inspections available:

Pest Inspection

Pest inspections focus on identifying any infestations or damage caused by pests like termites, rodents, or insects. The cost typically ranges from $75 to $150. In NH & MA these are typically included in the cost of the general home inspection.

Radon Inspection

Radon is a radioactive gas that can seep into homes. It comes from the decay of granite. It is especially prevalent in, you guessed it, the Granite State (NH). Radon inspections measure radon levels, and if high levels are detected, mitigation measures can be taken. The cost varies but averages around $150 to $300.

Septic Inspection

For homes with septic systems, a septic inspection is crucial to ensure it functions correctly. This inspection costs around $300 to $600.

Water Inspection

Water quality inspections assess the safety and potability of your drinking water. Costs can range from $150 to $500, depending on the extent of testing required.


The In-Depth Inspection Process

Structural Components

Inspectors leave no stone unturned when examining structural elements. From foundations to roofs, they meticulously assess the integrity of these vital components.

Mechanical Systems

Your home's inner workings, including plumbing, electrical systems, and heating/cooling systems, undergo a thorough examination. This ensures everything operates smoothly and safely.

Safety Hazards

Identifying potential safety hazards is a top priority. Inspectors search for issues like faulty wiring, gas leaks, or structural problems that could pose risks to you and your loved ones.

Cosmetic Concerns

While not deal-breakers, cosmetic issues like chipped paint, minor cracks, or loose fixtures are noted in the inspection report. This information can be valuable for future renovations or negotiations with the seller.


Common Discoveries During Home Inspections

The Usual Suspects

While each home is a unique treasure trove of surprises, some issues frequently emerge during inspections:

  • Electrical Problems: Outdated wiring, overloaded circuits, and faulty outlets are common culprits. These issues can range from minor inconveniences to severe safety hazards.
  • Plumbing Woes: Leaky faucets, clogged drains, and faulty water heaters often make an appearance. More severe problems may involve hidden pipe leaks or drainage issues.
  • Roofing and Gutter Concerns: Inspectors often uncover damaged or missing shingles, deteriorating gutters, and signs of water intrusion. Addressing roof-related issues is crucial to prevent costly water damage.
  • HVAC System Challenges: Inefficient heating or cooling systems, improper ventilation, and dirty filters can impact indoor comfort and energy efficiency.
  • Foundation Flaws: Cracks in the foundation or basement walls are common findings. While minor cracks may not be a cause for concern, significant structural issues require immediate attention.
  • Mold and Mildew: Inspectors may encounter mold or mildew in damp areas like basements,  bathrooms and attics. Proper ventilation and moisture control can mitigate these problems.
  • Insulation and Energy Inefficiency: Poor insulation, drafty windows, and inadequate sealing can lead to higher energy bills. Addressing these issues improves energy efficiency and comfort.
  • Pest Infestations: Signs of pests, such as termites, rodents, or insects, can be unsettling discoveries. Pest inspections are crucial to identify and address these issues promptly.

Handling Common Issues

While these issues may appear daunting, remember that most problems have solutions. Work closely with your inspector and, if needed, specialists to address any concerns. Negotiate with the seller to determine who should be responsible for repairs or adjustments, ensuring a smooth transition into your new home.


The Inspection Report - Your Treasure Map

The Unveiling of Secrets

Upon completing the inspection, you'll receive a comprehensive report—a treasure map of sorts. This invaluable document outlines every discovery made during the inspection process.

Negotiation and Decision-Making

Use the report to negotiate repairs or adjustments with the seller. In some cases, the findings may prompt you to reconsider your investment. It's a powerful tool that empowers you to make informed decisions.


Your Home Inspection Adventure Begins

Armed with this comprehensive guide, you're ready to embark on your home inspection adventure. With the right inspector and a keen eye, you'll unlock the secrets of your potential new home, ensuring a smooth transition into the realm of homeownership. Happy treasure hunting!


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Home Inspections

What is a home inspection, and why is it important?

A home inspection is a comprehensive assessment of a property's condition, including its structural and mechanical systems. It's essential because it provides valuable insights into the home's overall health and can help you make informed decisions about purchasing or selling a property.

How much does a home inspection cost?

The cost of a home inspection varies depending on factors such as the location, size of the home, and additional services like pest, radon, or septic inspections. On average, a general home inspection can range from $300 to $500, while specialized inspections may incur extra fees.

How long does a home inspection take?

A typical home inspection can take between 2 to 4 hours, but this can vary based on the property's size and condition. Larger or older homes may require more time for a thorough examination.

What do home inspectors look for during an inspection?

Home inspectors assess various aspects of a property, including its structure, foundation, roofing, electrical systems, plumbing, HVAC systems, insulation, and more. They look for issues, safety concerns, and areas that may need maintenance or repair.

Should I be present during the inspection?

Yes, it's advisable to be present during the inspection. This allows you to ask questions, seek clarifications, and gain a better understanding of the inspector's findings. It's also an opportunity to learn about the home's systems and maintenance needs.

What if the inspection reveals issues with the property?

If the inspection uncovers problems, you have several options. You can negotiate with the seller to address the issues, request repairs or credits, or, in severe cases, decide not to proceed with the purchase. Your real estate agent can guide you through this process.

Are there different types of home inspections?

Yes, several specialized inspections exist, including pest inspections, radon testing, septic system inspections, and water quality assessments. The need for these additional inspections may depend on factors like the property's location and local regulations.

What are some common issues found during home inspections?

Common issues include electrical problems, plumbing leaks, roofing and gutter concerns, HVAC system inefficiencies, foundation cracks, mold and mildew, insulation and energy inefficiency, and pest infestations. Addressing these issues promptly is essential for the home's safety and value.

Can a home inspection uncover hidden problems?

While home inspections are thorough, some issues may remain hidden, especially if they're concealed behind walls or in inaccessible areas. However, experienced inspectors use various tools and techniques to identify potential hidden problems.

When should I schedule a home inspection?

Home inspections typically occur after you've made an offer on a property, and it's been accepted by the seller. It's an important step in the home-buying process, allowing you to assess the property's condition before finalizing the sale.