What Should Your Home Inspection Cover?

Your Guide to Home InspectionsHome inspections are meant to stop buyers from buying a home in need of extensive repairs, making them one of the most popular buying contingencies. But it's common for buyers to have misconceptions about what a home inspection actually covers, and the confusion can sometimes lead to issues. Learn more about how home inspections work, and what to look for should you need to hire one.

Exterior/Structural Components

The home inspector is looking for signs of major damage on the exterior of the home, including the roof, porch, and walls. They'll look at the stability of the joists, floor sills, and foundation, and note the amount of wear and tear on each component. It's not uncommon for homes to lean or shift over time, so an inspector is looking at the lines of the Beacon Hill home as much as they're looking for potential leaks or water damage. They'll also note cosmetic information, such as flaking paint or dents in the side of the home.

Internal Components

From the fireplace to the sinks, inspectors will be evaluating the full interior of the home. This includes both the distribution piping and the insulation of the home. The goal is to determine how well the home can separate the indoor and outdoor elements on a long-term basis. Inspectors will also take a look at the plumbing fixtures to see if the supply lines and drainage can support the increased activity once the owner moves in. Finally, they'll also be checking the circuits, wiring, and panels. Both new and old homes alike may fall prey to faulty electrical work, so this is one of the more important aspects of a home inspection.

What It Doesn't Cover

Home inspections may comment on a variety of aspects of the home, but even the most thorough inspection won't be able to catch everything. A home inspector isn't allowed to make any changes to the home, which means they can only tell a buyer what they see. They'll check the pipes, but in many may not inspect water quality or the septic tank system as that would require its own inspection. They'll look at the insulation, but they won't be able to tunnel into the walls to get the full picture. The best thing to do is to ask questions and get their professional opinions, even if they can't give the straight facts.

Setting Expectations

It typically can take 2.5 and 3 hours for a home inspector to cover all major areas of the home. The quality of the inspector will make a huge difference when it comes to the details in their report. When hiring an inspector, make sure to pay attention to their background. Inspectors are regulated in certain provinces (e.g., Alberta and B.C.), but unregulated in others (e.g., Ontario.) In unregulated areas especially, owners will need to pay attention to the reviews of the person they hire.

Home inspections are necessary for buyers to have a better idea of what they're getting into. However, buyers also need to be careful of using their report as hard-and-fast truths. The nature of home inspections can make it easy for even the best professional to miss a thing or two. Doing your homework before hiring an inspector can be a good way to reduce the chances of ending up with a money pit.

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