Download Seller's Guide

Learn to navigate the home buying process with The Real Group’s free seller’s guide.

Read more

Home Listing Tips

Presenting Your Home

Who’s Who

Inspections

What is Escrow?

Home Warranty

Appraisals

Title Insurance

Who Pays What?

A home inspection is an evaluation of the condition of a residential property’s general integrity, functionality, and overall safety. The purpose of an inspection is to ensure that a buyer knows exactly what is being purchased prior to completing the transaction.

In the course of a home inspection, the inspector will evaluate your home’s foundation, framing, roofing, site drainage, attic, plumbing, heating, electrical system, fireplaces, chimneys, pavement, fences, stairs, decks, patios, doors, windows, walls, ceilings, floors, built-in appliances, and numerous other fixtures and components. Pool and spa inspections are add-ons that buyers can inspect as well. Inspections are not intrusive (holes in the walls). An inspection will take about an hour per 1,000 square feet on average.

All pertinent findings will be detailed in a written report for the buyer’s reference and review, and the inspector will make a complete verbal presentation of these conditions for those who attend the inspection. This information enables a homebuyer to make educated decisions about a home purchase: whether to complete the transaction, whether to ask the seller to make repairs, or whether to buy the property as is. Buyers can also determine how much repair and renovation will be needed after taking possession, which problems are of major concern, which ones are minor, and what conditions compromise the safety of the premises.

WHO PAYS? Your Purchase Sale Agreement will specify who is responsible for the costs of inspections and for making any needed corrections or repairs. It is negotiable between the parties and should be considered carefully. Your agent will advise you what is customary and prudent.

STRUCTURAL PEST CONTROL INSPECTION A licensed inspector will examine the property for any active infestation by wood destroying organisms. Most pest control reports classify conditions as Section I or Section II. The inspection and the ensuing Section I repair work are usually paid for by the Seller. Section II preventative measures are generally negotiated, and not necessarily complete.

Section I Conditions are those currently causing damage to the property. These conditions generally need to be corrected before a lender will make a loan on a home.

Section II Conditions are those not currently causing damage but which are likely to, if left unattended.

HOME INSPECTION This inspection may encompass roof, plumbing, electrical, heating, appliances, water heater, furnace, exterior siding, and other visible features of the property. A detailed report will be written with recommendations and pictures which may include the
suggestion to consult a specialist (such as a structural engineer or roofing contractor). The inspection fee is usually paid by the Buyer.

GEOLOGICAL INSPECTION If requested, a soil engineer will inspect the soil conditions and the stability of the ground beneath the structure, as well as research past geological activity in the area. You may also elect to go to the city and research the property’s proximity to known earthquake fault lines. Typically, the Buyer pays for this inspection.

Some Sellers opt to do a house inspection when they list their property to determine in advance which items might be challenges to selling and to address issues that positively impact the sell ability and competitive marketability of a home. Properly maintained homes typically go into escrow faster.

Common Defects Found During A Home Inspection

The majority of home inspection findings tend to be routine in nature but some uncover construction defects and common safety violations.

BUILDING VIOLATIONS Building violations are often identified where additions and alterations were constructed without a permit.

ROOFING DEFECTS Problems with roofing material resulting from age, wear, or improper installation warranting maintenance, repair, or in some cases, replacement.

CEILING STAINS Some stains are merely the residual effects of leaks that have been repaired but others can indicate an unresolved issue. Inspectors will determine if a leak is active.

ELECTRICAL SAFETY HAZARDS Electrical safety hazards such as ungrounded outlets, lack of ground fault interrupters (shock protection devices), faulty wiring conditions in electrical panels can be identified.

BUILDING VIOLATIONS Groundwater conditions can result in water intrusion into basements or crawlspaces. Correction can be as simple as regrading the exterior grounds or adding roof gutters or as major as French drains designed by experts.

ROTTEN WOOD Rotted wood is can be found in places where wood stays wet for long periods such as roof eaves, exterior trim, decks, around tubs and showers, or below loose toilets.

MINOR PLUMBING DEFECTS Loose toilets, dripping faucets, slow drains, leaking drains, and hot water at the right faucet are most commonly found during inspections.

UNSAFE FIREPLACE & CHIMNEY CONDITIONS A lack of maintenance or faulty installation of fixtures is often found. Unsafe conditions are often attributed to a lack of spark arrestors and involve insufficient clearance between hot metal surfaces and combustible materials within the property.

FIREWALL VIOLATIONS IN GARAGES Special fire-resistive construction is required for walls and doors that separate a garage from a dwelling. Violations are common, either due to faulty construction, damage or alterations to the garage interior, or changes in code requirements since the home was built.

FAULTY INSTALLATION OF WATER HEATERS Check to make sure your water heater is installed in full compliance with plumbing code requirements. Violations can include inadequate strapping, improperly installed overflow piping, unsafe flue conditions, or faulty gas piping.

HAZARDOUS CONDITIONS INVOLVING GAS HEATERS Most gas-fueled heaters are in need of some maintenance if only the changing of an air filter while others might be in need of a long-overdue review by the gas company.

Learn About The Selling Process