What Should a Buyer Look For at a Home Inspection?

Kyle Hiscock

Kyle Hiscock | Greater Rochester NY Real Estate | Pittsford NY Realtor at RE/MAX Realty Group

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When you view a home, you can learn more about the property than you think. There are numerous reasons to have an inspection. The most obvious is to understand the condition and ensure you’re not buying a property you’ll regret.

If you use a home inspection checklist, you might find things to mention to your home inspector.

This can also be used to ask better questions during the inspection to understand the home’s condition better.

Having a checklist for home inspections ensures you do not miss any potential problems. An inspector may also recommend additional checks besides what they will be covering.

These are some of the specialty home inspections that a professional inspector could recommend outside of their expertise.

What Should Buyers Look At During Inspections
What Should Buyers Look At During Inspections

Home Inspection Checklist

If you notice anything out of place when being shown the home, take note of it for the home inspection. Instead of writing down what you find, you might find it easier to take a quick photo with your phone.

Certain areas of the home need more attention than others. Pay particular attention to the following parts of the home:

Outside The Home

  • Foundations: Are there any apparent cracks? How close are trees to the home? And can you see any sign of water pooling around the foundations?
  • Exterior: What is the condition of the siding? Is the guttering correctly attached to the home, preventing water from running down the walls?
  • Windows and doorways: Are window and door frames correctly aligned? If windows and doors stick, it could be a sign of structural issues. Look for moisture trapped between window panes or around the frame.
  • Roof: Ask the Realtor if they know when the roof was last replaced. Are any of the shingles or tiles missing? Can you see any signs of problems or damage to the roof?

Inside The House

  • Appliances: What is their condition if major appliances are included in the purchase?
  • Electrical: Does the wiring in the home look outdated? Is the electrical panel older and uses fuses? Do the light switches work? Are all the outlets in the house ground, or are some two-prong outlets?
  • Heating and cooling: Do HVAC systems function correctly? How old are these systems?
  • Plumbing: Is there any indication of leaks? How good is the water pressure? Does the water heater look old?
  • Odors: Can you smell mold or mildew?
  • Attic or basement: Look for signs of water leaking into the attic or basement. If these rooms are unfinished, check the quality and condition of the insulation.

The Importance of Home Inspections

It is vital to have a home inspection even if you found nothing concerning when going through this checklist.

The home inspection protects you from buying a house with hidden problems that will cost you later. There could be serious structural issues that go unnoticed if you don’t hire a professional inspector.

If the home meets your expectations and you make an offer, your property inspection checklist can be used when you hire a home inspector.

You can ask questions about concerns you might have with the home.

Include a Home Inspection Contingency

Waiving Home Inspection Could Be A Big Mistake
Waiving Home Inspection Could Be A Big Mistake

The inspection contingency is essential to avoid buying a home you will later regret. Even if the seller pressures you to waive this contingency, doing so could be an expensive mistake.

Some buyers have waived their home inspections over the last few years and have regretted it.

The purchase contract will include the contingency when the seller accepts your offer. This contingency allows the buyer to hire an inspector and receive their report.

There will be some issues with every home, even new properties, so don’t expect the inspector not to find something.

You can’t expect the seller to fix minor wear and tear issues before closing. Other problems could be more severe and require a resolution.

It is essential to focus on the issues that can be significant problems and overlook the items that aren’t a big deal.

If the inspection finds significant problems, your Realtor can negotiate for the seller to make repairs, request a credit, or lower the price.

If an agreement isn’t reached, you can back out of the purchase with your earnest money returned, thanks to the inspection contingency.

Seller’s Disclosures

Sellers usually are required to disclose known problems with the property.

The exact details that need to be disclosed and the penalties for not doing this vary widely between states. If the seller fails to provide a disclosure statement, it may be acceptable in some states.

In states where disclosure is not required, it is called Caveat Empor or “let the buyer beware.” When buying a home under these circumstances, proper due diligence is crucial.

When you receive a seller’s disclosure, read it carefully, as there could be some areas in the home that need more attention during the inspection. Do your research as well.

Lean on your buyer’s agent for assistance. It is part of their job.

Final Thoughts on Inspections For Homes

A home inspection is a vital part of most real estate transactions. Skipping an inspection or not paying careful attention to significant problems can worsen things in the future.

Avoiding home inspection mistakes will ensure you have a property you’ll be proud of for years. Take your time finding a home inspector who does a thorough job. It will be worth your time and effort.

About the author: The above article on “What Should a Buyer Look For at a Home Inspection? was written by Bill Gassett. Bill has been working in the real estate industry for the past thirty-seven years. He works for RE/MAX Executive Realty in Hopkinton Massachusetts. Bill loves providing trustworthy information to buyers, sellers, and fellow real estate agents to make the best possible decisions. His writing has been featured on RIS Media, National Association of Realtors, Inman News, Placester, Today.com, Credit Sesame, and others.

About Rochester’s Real Estate Blog: Rochester’s Real Estate Blog is owned and operated by Kyle Hiscock of the Hiscock Sold Team at RE/MAX Realty Group.

Since being launched in 2013, Kyle has published more than 150 quality, in-depth, and unique real estate related articles on the Rochester Real Estate Blog pertaining to topics varying from home selling to mortgages and everything in between!  In addition to quality real estate related content, there are also many quality articles pertaining to the Greater Rochester NY area.

The Rochester Real Estate Blog has been recognized by many reputable websites as one of the best real estate blogs to visit and follow!  In addition to being recognized as one of the best real estate blogs, Kyle has been recognized as one of the top Realtors on social media by several organizations and websites.

The Hiscock Sold Team has almost 50 years of combined experience, so if you’re thinking of selling or buying, we’d love to share our knowledge and expertise.

We service the following Greater Rochester NY areas: Irondequoit, Webster, Penfield, Pittsford, Fairport, Brighton, Greece, Gates, Hilton, Brockport, Mendon, Henrietta, Perinton, Churchville, Scottsville, East Rochester, Rush, Honeoye Falls, Chili, and Victor NY.

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