What to Know About Home Inspections
March 29, 2022
Even before you endeavor to purchase a home, you probably have some knowledge about having a home inspected before you move in. Over the course of the last year or two, you may have heard talk of waiving house inspections altogether to secure a resale home in an incredibly competitive housing market. But if you’ve never purchased a home before, or even if it’s just been a while, you might have some questions about what’s included on a house inspection checklist, or you might be asking yourself “How much does a home inspection cost?”
We answer those questions and more in this blog so that you’ll feel prepared for the home inspection portion of your home purchase.
WHAT IS A HOME INSPECTION?
After a house is purchased, a home inspection is conducted by a professional home inspector, who is typically hired by the buyer. The home inspector will go through a house inspection checklist to carefully evaluate the condition of the home. The home inspector generates a formal report for the buyer, and this report is intended to give the buyer an unbiased accounting of any identifiable issues with the home being purchased. When it comes to what does a home inspector look for, you don’t need to be familiar with every item on the list, your home inspector will know what items to include in the report.
HOW MUCH DOES A HOME INSPECTION COST?
In our area, home inspections can cost anywhere between $300 and $500. The answer to “How much does a home inspection cost?” varies a bit from state to state and from one home inspector to the next. However, this is a cost that homebuyers in the resale market should budget for in addition to the down payment and closing costs.
WHEN DOES A HOME INSPECTION TAKE PLACE?
Once an offer has been accepted on a house, the home is considered “under contract,” and a home inspection can be scheduled. Purchase agreements normally outline that the buyer has a set period of time to arrange a home inspection. This window can vary, but often it’s somewhere between seven to ten days from the offer being accepted. In many resale purchase agreements, there is a protection for buyers if the house inspection report reveals costly repairs or issues with the home. However, in the resale housing market we’ve seen over the past couple of years, there have been many offers made that don’t include a home inspection contingency. That means that the buyers have waived the option to leave the contract if an issue with the home is discovered after the offer has been accepted — or waived the inspection entirely.
At StyleCraft Homes we operate according to the phrase: “Don’t expect what you don’t inspect.” Buyers purchasing new construction StyleCraft homes benefit from our rigorous inspection process that we conduct automatically at three different phases in the home building process. Our Project Manager and Construction Manager conduct Quality Assurance Inspections to make sure your home meets our high expectations, and yours, from the ground up. Once the foundation is in place, the Foundation Inspection verifies that the dimensions of your home are accurate and that the yard is graded properly for drainage. During the Pre-Drywall Inspection, we inspect the framing and mechanical systems. This is something that home inspectors are not usually able to do during resale home inspections because at that point the drywall is already installed. And finally, we conduct a Pre-Settlement Inspection. In this inspection, our house inspection checklist includes all the finishes, from the doors to the cabinets, to insure they’ve been installed properly. You won’t be left wondering “what does a home inspector look for?” when you purchase a StyleCraft home. We’re so confident in the quality of our homes and the thoroughness of our process that we share reports from inspections with you.
WHAT DOES A HOME INSPECTOR LOOK FOR?
Fortunately, you don’t have to be the expert and you don’t have to be able to answer the question “what does a home inspector look for?” Reputable home inspectors will have a thorough house inspection checklist that they use to evaluate a home. As a rule, the answer to “what does a home inspector look for?” falls into six primary categories: foundation, structure, exterior, interior, HVAC/plumbing, and electrical. The home inspector will assess both the home’s foundation and structure to identify any issues like cracks or settling that may pose a threat to the structural integrity of the home. On the exterior of the home, your home inspector will look at the roof, siding, porches, and other exterior fixtures. Inside, the house inspection checklist includes flooring, walls, ceilings, stairways, and interior doors and windows. For the heating system, cooling system, and plumbing, a home inspector will make sure the systems are in good working order by putting them through the paces. For the electrical components, inspectors will test outlets, switches, and breakers, but won’t be able to consider anything happening behind walls or underground. This is not an exhaustive house inspection checklist, and why it is so important to get a qualified set of eyes looking over a home before you purchase it. An inspection report covers crucial safety information and defects so that you have the full story about your new home.
WHAT DOES A HOME INSPECTION NOT INCLUDE?
The “home” portion of “home inspection” is key here. That means that your house inspector will be focused on the physical components of the home itself, that we outlined already. Many exterior fixtures and components likely won’t be on their radar. Trees and landscaping (even ones that might be leaning at an alarming angle) won’t be discussed in the final inspection report. Exterior plumbing, including a lawn sprinkler system, swimming pool equipment, and drainage don’t fall into typical house inspection checklists either. If your home has a fireplace and chimney, you might be surprised that many home inspectors won’t examine this feature, though you can order a separate inspection for the fireplace for peace of mind. A home inspector also does not consider undesirable odors, like those from pets, mold, or smoke.
HOW LONG DOES A HOME INSPECTION TAKE?
The time that the actual on-site inspection takes can vary a bit based on the size and condition of the home that you’re purchasing. The home inspector you hire should be able to give you an idea of the timeframe when you ask them “How long does a home inspection take?” based on their individual house inspection checklist. However, somewhere between two and four hours can be expected. Whenever possible, being on-site for the home inspection can provide you with valuable insight about the home you’re preparing to purchase. Even if the answer to “How long does a home inspection take?” was longer than you expected, it can often be worth every minute.
WHAT DO YOU DO AFTER RECEIVING A HOME INSPECTION REPORT?
Once the home inspector writes up their findings from their house inspection checklist, you’ll have a chance to review their findings. If the house is filled with major issues, or even more minor issues than you expected, you might find yourself reconsidering purchasing it. You can discuss the severity of the issues with your home inspector and your realtor, and they’ll help you consider your options. You can decide to proceed with the purchase of the home, you can go back to the seller and ask them to fix issues that were uncovered as part of the report, or you can renegotiate your offer so that you have room in your budget to address the concerns after the sale is finalized.
It's not uncommon for new construction homes to be sold without a home inspection altogether. Everything is brand new so it must be perfect right? At StyleCraft Homes, we don’t subscribe to that philosophy and we put as many sets of eyes on each step of your home-building process as possible. It’s rare for new construction homes to benefit from the three-inspection Quality Assurance protocol that our houses undergo. But then again, the quality of our new construction homes is rare too. When you purchase a StyleCraft home, you don’t have to stress about tracking down home inspectors on a short time limit, we take care of that for you. We even share our findings with you so that you have the reports in case you want to sell your home in the future.
SO, ARE HOME INSPECTIONS WORTH THE TROUBLE?
A resounding yes! Your new home is a significant investment, and you want to ensure there aren’t unforeseen issues that can cause a burden on you in the coming months and years. When determining the costs of buying a home, budgeting for the range of prices we listed under “How much does a home inspection cost?” is crucial for protecting yourself when you purchase a home in the resale market.
And when you purchase a StyleCraft home, it’s no trouble at all. We include Quality Assurance Inspections at multiple points throughout your building process to ensure we’re building quality into your home, long before a typical inspection would be conducted.