What Inspections Should I Have Done on a Home I Want to Buy?

Scheduling a home inspection with a local, licensed home inspection company is a top priority when buying a home. While homeowners are supposed to disclose anything amiss with the home’s condition, there is plenty they are unaware of without a home inspector’s assessment.

Pre-Purchase Home Inspections Provide Peace of Mind

Professional inspection before the close of escrow ensures you know exactly what you’re getting into and any priority red flags that should be addressed ASAP.

Inspection results help real estate agents, home buyers, and sellers agree on the final sales price, including any potential repair or escrow credits. In some cases, an inspection report protects buyers from purchasing a money pit, allowing them to look for a home in better shape.

Four-Point Home Inspections Are a Real Estate Standard

In most cases, a 4 point inspection is all a prospective buyer needs to determine whether or not it’s the right home for them and whether or not they’ll ask the seller for credits.

The 4 point inspection gets its name because it focuses on four main structural and home systems.

  1. Roof
  2. Electrical
  3. HVAC
  4. Plumbing

These are the four systems that prospective homeowner’s insurance carriers want to know about because they are the most costly to replace. And when they malfunction, they’re the most likely to cause expensive structural damage and destroy interior home contents via flood, fire, or plumbing-related water damage.

A Roof Inspection

During the roof inspection, we’ll walk on top of the roof, identifying any damage or lack of maintenance; we’ll also inspect the attic and crawl spaces. We take pictures as we go so you have proof of any red flag findings.

The roof inspection section of the report lists the condition of:

  • Surface roofing materials
  • Penetrations
  • Fasteners (roof to wall, wall to foundation, etc.)
  • Flashing and drainage systems
  • Signs of water damage or historic leaks
  • Roof deck
  • Waterproofing
  • Additional wind mitigation features

You need a report that the roof system is “acceptable” if you want the home to be insured. Here in Florida, that means the roof is ten years old or less (insurers won’t insure homes with roofs 15 years old or more) and in good repair.

Electrical Panels and Wiring

We’ll also look at the electrical system. Outdated, faulty, or overloaded electrical systems cause the large majority of house fires. So not only do you want to know where your prospective home’s electrical system stands, but verifying the system’s condition helps keep home occupants safe.

During the inspection, we take a close look at the following:

The final report indicates the status of the electrical system, including whether it meets current building code requirements.

HVAC System

HVAC systems are another expensive home system that is not only responsible for comfortable living environments but also plays a vital role in energy efficiency, moisture control, and maintaining healthy indoor air quality.

During HVAC system inspections, we evaluate:

  • Thermostat(s)
  • Duct system
  • Furnace, heaters, air conditioning, and other HVAC components
  • Fireplace and chimney

Outdated, incorrectly installed, or poorly maintained HVAC and duct systems must be updated or replaced to protect your home and its contents. Likewise, an old or poorly installed system should be replaced. If your HVAC and/or duct systems are in questionable shape and you move forward with the home purchase, it’s worth scheduling a complete HVAC inspection with a local, licensed HVAC technician to determine your next steps.

The Plumbing Works

Finally, homebuyers and their homeowner’s insurance carriers want to know about the status of the plumbing system. Issues in this system can lead to slow and unnoticeable leaks under the foundation or in interior wall spaces that cause damage behind the scenes or put your home at risk for flooding.

During the inspection of your plumbing system, we assess:

  • Age and condition of pipes and other plumbing fixtures.
  • Whether water runs and drains property in sinks, showers, and tubs.
  • Condition of the water heater (old water heaters are one of the most common causes of issues, such as undetected leaks, mold growth, and carbon monoxide poisoning).
  • Whether there are obvious signs of sewer or septic systems.

Based on what we find during the 4 point inspection, you may add additional specialty inspections for further verification.

Additional Beneficial Home Inspections

There are a few other home inspections worth knowing about before purchasing a home.

New Construction Inspection

Are you buying a brand-new home? Forgo the urge to pass on an inspection of your own. Contractors are only human, and during these critical new construction inspections, we almost always uncover punch-list items (or full-blown warranty issues) that need to be repaired or replaced before the one-year builder warranty expires.

Sewer Scope Inspection

On the flip side of the coin, we recommend buyers purchasing a significantly older home (built before the 1980s) invest in a sewer scope inspection. This is especially true if the house hasn’t been cosmetically updated.

While we look for signs of sewer or septic system issues, we can’t verify the system’s condition in its entirety without performing a sewer scope inspection.

Infrared Inspection

An infrared inspection uses thermal photography to see into the invisible spectrum and spot problems that otherwise might go unnoticed. We equate an infrared inspection of a home to a clinical test of the body. For example, your doctor may suspect you have a throat infection, but it requires testing and lab analysis to determine whether it needs antibiotics.

So, during the 4 point inspection, we may see common signs of latent water leaks or moisture issues. Still, the technology used during an infrared inspection verifies whether or not the leak is ongoing or not.

Whole Home Inspection

As noted, 4 point home inspections are the standard for real estate purchases. However, some buyers prefer to upgrade that to a whole home inspection. These inspections look at the home in greater detail, including all of the four major home systems but extending that to include the foundation and exterior of the house, pest inspection, review of safety features, room-by-room walk-thrus, insulation and ventilation assessments, etc.

Whole home inspections are highly recommended for clients buying a home sight unseen, who plan to rent a home to tenants, or who need a 100% turnkey home because they don’t have the budget for extra upgrades or repair work once the sale is complete.

Schedule Your Home Inspection With SIP

Super Inspection Pros (SIP) guarantees a 24-hour turnaround on our home inspections and detailed reports. Contact us to schedule an inspection for a home you want to buy or ask us more about which inspections make the most sense based on the age and condition of the building.

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