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Think you know what a property inspection involves? It may surprise you what is and what isn’t traditionally included. An inspector assesses the home’s structural integrity, determining potential problems and identifying any issues that may affect the continuation or negotiation of a sale in progress. Because they only assess what they can see with the naked eye, it’s possible something might be missed down deep, or that there’s something specific not typically included that requires another specialist’s assessment.
No matter who inspects the home, it’s always important for you to be involved and take a close look at everything yourself so you can point out anything you see or have questions about as well. Not to mention the Realtors® at Arizona Buyers Agents are right there with you every step of the way to protect your best interests.
Here’s the checklist:
What inspectors typically should inspect:
The home’s “skeleton” should be able to stand up to weather, gravity, and the earth that surrounds it. Structural components include items such as the foundation and the framing.
The roof’s age, roof draining systems, buckled shingles, and loose gutters and downspouts. Condition of any skylights and chimneys as well as the potential for pooling water.
Thorough examination of the water supply and drainage systems, water heating equipment, and fuel storage systems. Drainage pumps and sump pumps also fall under this category. Poor water pressure, banging pipes, rust spots, or corrosion can indicate larger problems.
You should be informed of the condition of service entrance wires, service panels, breakers and fuses, and disconnects. Also take note of the number of outlets in each room.
A close look at walls, ceilings and floors; steps, stairways, and railings; countertops and cabinets; and garage systems. These areas can reveal leaks, insect damage, rot, construction defects, and more.
Heating and air conditioning
The home’s vents, flues, and chimneys. Water heater’s age, its energy rating, and whether the size is adequate for the house. Description and inspection of all the central air and through-wall cooling equipment.
Fireplaces can be dangerous if they’re not properly installed. Vent and flue should be examined, and solid fuel-burning appliances described.
Inspection of adequate insulation and ventilation in the attic and in unfinished areas such as crawl spaces. Insulation should be appropriate for the climate. Without proper ventilation, excess moisture can lead to water damage and mold.
What’s usually not included:
Roof leaks, the #1 missed problem
Home inspectors usually don’t climb up onto the roof of a home to check for leaks. They’ll use binoculars to look at the roof from the ground level or from a higher window.
If you think that was a cockroach you saw crawling by or other insect flying past you during a walkthrough, and you weren’t outdoors, hiring an exterminator is a good idea to take a closer look.
Most home inspectors don’t have the qualifications to look at plumbing and can only call out visible issues like a leak or outdated plumbing. This means they may not take an in-depth look at wall or under-sink plumbing pipes, swimming pools, and septic tanks.
Dead spots in the yard, potential pests, sprinkler issues, etc. are typically not on a home inspector’s radar. That sick looking tree in the yard is most likely your responsibility, and probably won’t impact your negotiations in the final price of the home.
Home inspectors check only that washers, dryers, dishwashers, refrigerators, and stoves are working properly. They usually don’t perform systemic checks, so ifyou think there’s a major problem, you should have an appliance technician perform diagnostics and necessary repairs.
Home inspectors may or may not touch your heating or air conditioning system, depending on the climate conditions at that time of your inspection. They don’t want to cause damage by putting too much pressure on the system. In fact, in your home inspection report, there may be a liability disclaimer relieving your inspector of any responsibility for your HVAC system. Depending on the conditions at the time of purchase or sale, you may need to have it separately inspected.
What they don’t see
It boils down to what the inspector can see with the naked eye. Issues that may not be addressed in an inspection include:
Sheds or wells
Areas behind the walls
Mold, asbestos, radon, etc.
Problems in these areas could cost you hundreds to thousands of dollars in repairs or replacements — especially if you don’t catch them early. The team at Arizona Buyers Agents recommends being safe and performing a specialized inspection rather than blindsided by unexpected repairs.
The more you know, the better your home buying experience will be. Arizona Buyers Agents is dedicate to keeping you informed every step of the way, and ensuring premium service, protection, and results. Contact us today.