12 Tips for Getting the Most Out of a Home Inspection
A proper home inspection is your best defense against buying a property that will be a home improvement nightmare. Use these 12 tips to get the most out of your home inspection
Use someone you trust
Don’t be afraid to ask questions
Get pictures for proof
Any home inspector worth using will bring a camera along on the inspection. The inspector will also be heading into places that you won’t want to go if you don’t have to (the roof, crawl space, under decks, the attic, etc.). Ask your inspector to photograph any potential issues that arise so you can see the issue for yourself and make sure you fully understand the problem.
Infrared and thermal cameras can give you and your inspector a look behind walls and floors that you otherwise wouldn’t be able to get without ripping out drywall or flooring. Because this technology is so accessible, your home inspector should use these pieces of equipment throughout the inspection (though some home inspectors may charge an additional fee for this service).
Do your own pre-inspection
Pay attention to the roof
Look for cosmetic fixes
Look in the attic
Give the plumbing a try
Losing water pressure or dealing with a slow drain can be indicators of larger plumbing issues. Make sure bathtubs and shower pans are leak-tested. And have the home inspector inspect the water main and shutoff points (very useful knowledge if/when you take ownership of the property).
Furnace and water heater
Beyond making sure the furnace and water heater work properly, you should find out how old each one is and the last time each received service. Replacing a furnace or water heater can be pricy, so if either one is in need of replacing soon, you need to keep that in mind while putting together your offer on the property. You can also get a feel for how the furnace is cared for by checking the furnace filter. A filter that’s in obvious need of changing can hint at other postponed or ignored maintenance.
Don’t forget the basement
An unfinished basement will give a lot of clues to the condition of the house and foundation. Look for cracks, signs of repairs, and water issues. A crack in the slab or wall is not always a dealbreaker, but understanding why a crack appeared is important. Your home inspector will be able to tell you if anything needs further inspection from a structural engineer. Next, take a peek at these 100 super scary home inspector photos.