Prior to buying a property, you’ll want to ensure that you hire a reputable, qualified inspector to examine the home’s overall condition. No house is perfect, but you should know what you’re getting into if you want to avoid unforeseen problems later down the road.

Home inspections can also be helpful for homeowners who wish to proactively examine their existing property, or sellers who want to learn of any problems before listing their property.

Generally, it’s recommended that your inspector be ASHI (American Society of Home Inspectors) certified. It is a highly respected non-profit organization that promotes excellence in home inspection.

What Do They Inspect?

A typical home inspection covers a handful of basic areas:

  • Exterior. The inspector will examine roofing and flashing materials, decks and chimneys, drainage conditions, etc.
  • Interior. Plumbing, electric, windows, doors, HVAC systems will all be inspected to insure they were installed correctly and are still in working order. This part of the inspection is extremely important because it could raise red flags that weren’t noticed by an untrained eye.
  • Attics and Basements. No part of the home goes unseen. The inspector will look in every accessible crawl space and floor level to examine insulation, ventilation, and ensure that everything is in working order.

Inspectors know that a home might be lived in when they come to look at it. However, it’s in your best interest to ensure that the inspector can easily navigate through the home to give the most accurate report possible.

Should I Be At the Inspection?

Sure! It’s not abnormal for the inspectors to have a homeowners, potential buyers, or even real estate agents following them throughout the inspection. In fact, it is often helpful. The listing agent can answer any questions the inspector might have about the home, and it’s the best way for buyers and their agent to ensure the inspection is done thoroughly.

You don’t want to rush through the home inspection, so plan to block off at least 3 hours, possibly more depending on the home’s size and overall condition. It’s also helpful to come prepared with any questions you had during any previous visits to the home, preferably after looking at the seller’s disclosure agreement if you’re a potential homeowner.

However, it’s also fine if you only show up at the end of his visit so he can brief you on the important parts. It’s also okay if you can’t make it. Most inspectors provide a detailed report with photos and recommendations, setting you up for success.

Keep in mind that even an inspector doesn’t have x-ray vision or psychic powers. A good inspector has the ability to look for obvious signs of hidden problems, but there may still be issues you find at a later date.