What to Expect from a Certified Home Inspector: A Comprehensive Guide

a home inspector

Buying a home is one of the most significant investments you will ever make in your lifetime, which is why it’s important to have as much information as possible before closing on that deal.

One crucial step in the home-buying process is hiring a qualified home inspector. A thorough inspection can uncover hidden problems that could potentially cost you thousands of dollars down the road.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll provide an overview of what to expect from a professional home inspector. From what they check during their evaluation to how long it takes and what certifications they should possess – we’ve got you covered.

What Does a Home Inspector Do?

a home inspection

A home inspector, such as a professional home inspection service in Brampton, ON, evaluates the condition of various aspects and areas inside and outside of a property to identify any potential safety hazards or significant repair issues that could affect its value, safety, or overall livability.

Examples include:

  1. Roofing: The Brampton home inspector will examine the roof’s shingles, flashing points, and chimney for visible damage or signs indicating water leaks.
  2. Foundation: Check both interior basement walls and exterior siding for cracks, bowing, or other signs showing signs of structural damage.
  3. Electrical Systems: They’ll test parts such as outlets, light switches, and breakers from GFCI protectors for any electrical faults like outdated wiring systems.
  4. Plumbing System:  Inspect supply lines’ materials (copper vs. plastic), drainage pipes that meet building codes, water heaters with good functionality, and toilets that are properly mounted.
  5. HVAC Units: Assess heating and air conditioning systems by looking at ventilation networks and sizing suggestions, in addition to verifying filters are being changed regularly. 

Home inspectors conduct these evaluations by using visual examination techniques blended with some specialized tools such as infrared cameras/natural gas detectors for identifying previously concealed issues around your potential new house.

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How Long Does a Home Inspection Take?

A typical home inspection takes around two to three hours, after which a comprehensive report is generated. You will need to contact your inspector after the test is done to understand the repairs and maintenance required in the long run.

Before the Inspection: Preparing Your Home

a sage green kitchen

Preparing your home for an inspection will help the process go smoothly and ensure that the inspector can access and evaluate all necessary areas. Here’s a guide to getting your home ready; 

  1. Ensure that all entrances and exits are unblocked, including the basement, attic, and crawl spaces.
  2. Unlock all doors, especially to areas like sheds, garages, or storage units.
  3. Make sure all utilities (electricity, water, gas) are turned on.
  4. Ensure that all appliances are functioning and accessible.
  5. Replace any burnt-out light bulbs to avoid a false “non-functional” report.
  6. Clear space around water heaters, furnaces, and air conditioning units.
  7. Remove items blocking access to the HVAC, especially in utility rooms.
  8. Ensure that sinks and tubs drain properly. Address any noticeable clogs.
  9. Replace batteries if needed and make sure each unit functions correctly.
  10. Move any items that might block the inspector’s access to siding, ground-level windows, or the foundation.

By addressing these tasks, homeowners can facilitate a smoother inspection process, ensure a more accurate report, and demonstrate diligence and care for their property.

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During the Inspection: The Process

The home inspection process is a comprehensive review of the property to identify any potential issues, structural concerns, and safety hazards. They will then inspect the exterior of the property, looking for signs of cracks, settlement, or movement.

Other areas include the roof, siding, windows and doors, driveways, patios, and exterior structures. 

The home inspector will then move on to an interior inspection where they will check; 

  • Plumbing, electrical systems, heating, ventilation and HVAC
  • Walls, ceilings and floors
  • Doors and windows
  • Attics and basements
  • Appliances and safety devices
  • Fireplaces

They can also check additional services such as pest inspection, mold testing, and thermal imaging. However, this might incur additional fees. 

Certifications to Look for of Home Inspectors

paperwork

Professional inspectors need adequate experience before performing evaluations on their own; therefore, a great qualification will be required from associations such as the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI) or the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI).

Being ASHI certified means, they must comply with inspecting standards required by their industry association, including mandatory continuing education yearly.

Another certification you should look out for when hiring an inspector is one particular to your state area that would focus on appropriate licensing when needed.

What Does a Home Inspection Report Include?

Once the examination is completed, the inspector will create quite high-profile documentation letting you know what has been discovered during the inspection period. While the exact format and depth can vary depending on the inspector and the specific inspection carried out, most reports share common elements.

This may vary based on different states, but generally, there are two categories of ratings “Major Issues” that need speedy attention, while “Minor Issues” can probably use delayed treatment without further causing many problems.

Some common listings on home inspection reports include;

  1. Structural issues: Includes numerous points such as wall cracks, foundation damage, and roof displacement.
  2. Landscaping: How land grading affects the home, condition of driveways, walkways, decks, patios, etc.
  3. Detached Structures: Findings related to garages, sheds, or other separate buildings.
  4. Electrical Problems: Outdated systems, Loose wires, and incomplete GFCI protection
  5. Plumbing: any water leaks within the pipeline or faucets not securely mounted.
  6. Walls, Floors, & Ceilings: Any noticeable damages, stains, or structural concerns.
  7. Basements & Attics: Inspection results related to insulation, ventilation, signs of mold, pests, or water damage.

It’s important to remember that some inspections can unearth smaller concerns not included in this infographic as well like pest infestations, namely termites or radon gas levels in structures present, regardless of whether they are new.

Post-Inspection and Taking Action

Major concerns (such as structural issues, major water damage, or plumbing) typically involve significant safety risks, the potential for substantial financial cost, or issues that could seriously compromise the structural integrity or livability of the home. Addressing these concerns is often urgent.

Minor repairs (such as peeling paint, dripping faucets, and minor drafts) are those that don’t pose immediate safety risks and aren’t likely to cause immediate significant damage or cost. While they may not require urgent attention, addressing them can prevent larger problems in the future.

When the inspection reveals issues, especially major ones, buyers have several options in terms of how they can proceed. Your agent will have experience in these negotiations and can provide insights on which requests are reasonable and how sellers might respond.

a kitchen with navy blue island and parquet flooring

The above guide simplifies what happens during a professional home inspection by outlining some “To-Do” actions homeowners should expect.

These include finding an InterNACHI/ASHI certified inspector who has met specified education thresholds along with possessing licenses necessary based upon your specific location.

Finally, do remember that a home inspection report should be well-detailed in identifying any observed issue. Any informed homeowner who takes advantage of these tips will be better able to make sound investments in real estate properties.

Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links, meaning that at no additional cost to you, I will receive a very small commission if you click through and make a purchase. These links help to pay the editorial costs of writing a blog. For more information, please read my full affiliate disclosure here.

I also use Artificial Intelligence Image generators to create some of my images. These are to show you examples of my ideas and inspiration when I cannot produce the real images myself.

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