How Does the Inspection Phase Work?

The inspection phase of a home will vary from county to county, but in general, all inspections will involve evaluating certain aspects of the home before a seller can sell their home to a prospective buyer.

Health and safety are important considerations. Basic amenities expected of a modern building should also be in place and functioning properly.

Inspections are crucial to help arrive at a final sale price as well. If there are any serious issues, the bank may determine the seller needs to fix them before the sale can go ahead. In some cases, the prospective buyer might agree to make the repairs, but would also expect to get the house for a lower price in consideration for the work and money they will be putting in.

The Required Areas of Inspection

The usual areas of inspection are:

  • Structure
  • Exterior
  • Roofing system
  • Plumbing system
  • Electrical system
  • Heating system
  • Air conditioning system
  • Interior
  • Insulation
  • Ventilation
  • Fireplaces 

They will also look for problems like radon gas, carbon monoxide, asbestos, termites and more.

Inspection Standards

The American Society of Home Inspectors, ASHI, has “Standards of Practice” which stipulate what must be inspected, and how far home inspectors need to go to report those findings. Sellers who want to get a clear idea of the state of their home and what needs to be attended to urgently can hire their own inspector, who will then give them an evaluation of all that needs to be done. Inspections usually take 2 to 3 hours depending on the size of the house.

Hiring an inspector will cost money, but it can also prevent your sale from falling through further down the road because “deal breakers” have been discovered.

Buyer Inspections

Once a buyer makes an offer on your home, they will come with an inspector to assess the property. This is bound to make most sellers nervous, but again, if youíve hired your own inspector and done all the chores on your to-do list, you should get a good evaluation.

The prospective buyer will usually walk through with the inspector. This can be very nerve-wracking, so it is probably best to leave the house while they are doing the walk-through. However, do make yourself available by mobile phone if they have any questions.

The Report

When the home inspection is complete, the inspector will write a report and give a copy to the prospective buyer detailing everything that has been found. If there are major causes for concern, they will usually require immediate attention before the sale can go through. They might also report on potential future issues, such as the boiler only having another three years under warranty. You probably wonít be required to buy a new boiler, but you will most likely have to lower the price of the house.

You will have time to fix the issues, and there will be a follow-up inspection. Once all the parties are satisfied that the house is in good condition, the sale can proceed.