How to read a home inspection report?
A home inspection report, especially on an older home can be quite extensive. It usually carefully designed to be clear, easy to understand and helpful to the buyer.
The home inspection report is an overview of conditions observed. A report can be 50+ pages long depending on the age, size and condition of the property.
- Review the Summary Page – The first few pages following the cover page (which includes an image of the property and basic information) should be a Report Summary. Before you go into the specifics of every part of the house, we suggest beginning with this synopsis. Here are the primary sources of concern and recommended fixes. These pages are likely the focal point of any repair conversations between you and your realtor.
- Proceed to the Specifics – Each item listed will receive a new page number on the summary pages. This extra page number indicates where you may find further information on the repair, including images if necessary. An experienced real estate agent will be able to guide you through each item and how to proceed.
- Consider the Scope – This is reiterated throughout the report, however it is crucial to highlight that any inspection report “is a summary of the potentially major changes that should be planned for in the near future. Additional major improvements may be required outside the scope of this examination.
- Take Your Time and Read Thoroughly – After the major tasks have been completed, make sure to read the report from beginning to end. Make sure you have a comprehensive understanding of the property’s condition. You and your real estate agent will be able to ask the home inspector for clarifications.
- Ask Questions – Ask your home inspector if you have issues regarding the results or how they were stated. Home inspectors will gladly review the results with you so that you may confidently go forward.
There can be several symbols included in the report. A warning symbol signifies it could be a potentially serious issue that needs to be addressed. An upgrade symbol which recommends remediation but is not required and doesn’t affect the functionality of a home.
What does a home inspector inspect?
Introductory notes stipulate what home inspectors cover and do not cover and other limited liabilities when inspecting properties. For instance, they do not review permits, plans, municipal documents, recalled appliances, etc.
- Exterior/ Site/ Ground: They inspect the site grading, topography, driveway, walkways, exterior finishes, balconies, railings and exterior window conditions, etc. And provide condition, type, style, and functionality assessment for each of the points listed above.
- Structure: This includes foundation, footings support framings, wall framing and roof framing assessments.
- Garage / Vehicle Storage: Main items inspected are electrical receptacles, GFCI protection, electrical garage door opener (forward and reverse mechanisms), concrete slab, and safety features.
- Roofing: They give the basic information of slope, materials used, flashing, chimney flues, skylights, roof drainage and what type of inspection method was used. He will only inspect the accessible areas of the roof and provide an inspection method
- Electrical Systems: The examine the exposed and accessible conductors, circuitry, panels and random sampling of outlets. They check for adverse conditions such as improper installation, exposed wires, etc.
- Plumbing: They are limited to visible faucets, fixtures, valves, drains, traps, exposed fittings and checked for proper function, unusual wear and tear, leakage and general state of repair. Their inspection doesn’t include landscape watering, fire suppression systems, and private water/ waste disposal systems.
- Water Heater: This inspection includes the tank, water and gas connections, electrical connections, venting and safety valves. It is examined for proper functionality, leakage and general state of repair. Tankless on-demand systems typically require a specialist due to the hidden nature of the piping and venting.
- Heat: The inspector will examine heating equipment, operating and safety controls, venting and the means of distribution. They do not dismantle or uncover any part of the system but conduct a noninvasive functional review only.
- Bedroom and Baths/ Laundry Room: Washer dryer hookups, electrical outlets, surface ceilings, floor coverings, and surface cabinets and walls, windows, all plumbing, surfaces, enclosures for all the toilet and baths, ventilation and countertops are assessed.
- Kitchen: The dishwasher is inspected, sink, plumbing and gas supply, electrical, walls, floors, cabinets, countertops and appliance functionality.
- Locations of Emergency Controls: In case you need to know where to shut off the gas, water or electrical systems. They provide you with the location for your convenience.
The inspection report is a “snapshot” of the property on that date of inspection, along with the home inspector’s comments on conditions observed. Contact the inspector for any questions and clarifications to protect yourself as the buyer. Remember, he works for you.
Your real estate agent will help you understand the steps after you read and review the home inspection report.