What Happens During a Home Inspection?

Lauren Wellbank
Written by Lauren Wellbank
Updated March 24, 2022
An inspector checking the AC unit in the kitchen
Photo: maruco / iStock / Getty Images Plus / Getty Images

Highlights

  • A home inspection costs between $200 and $500.

  • Your payment will be due the day of your home inspection.

  • A full inspection report is sent to home buyers and owners in the following days or weeks.

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A local home inspector is someone you can hire to examine every nook and cranny of your home before you buy or sell it. They can offer a professional assessment and identify any problem areas that may turn your dream home into a money pit. 

Not sure what to expect from your upcoming home inspection? Here’s what your home inspector will (and won’t) do when they take a closer look at the home. 

1. Inspect the Property

As the name of their profession indicates, your inspector will investigate every area of the home’s exterior and interior. They will cover a lot of ground, including:

  • Exterior structures: The roof, exterior foundation, chimney, and gutters

  • Interior structures: Basements, crawl spaces, and windows

  • Home systems: HVAC units, appliances, and exposed ductwork

  • Utilities: Electrical and plumbing systems

Whether you’re the current homeowner or the potential future owner of the home, it’s a good idea to be present during the inspection. This is a perfect way to see what the inspector is noting (allowing you to have a better idea of any problem areas), but you  can take the opportunity to use your inspector as a resource. 

They may be able to point out certain things around the house that aren’t problematic, but that are good to know once you live there. For example, an inspector may notice that the current homeowners are using the wrong type of filter in their HVAC unit and advise you to change that.

2. Answer Your Questions

As mentioned above, home inspectors are a wealth of home-related information, and most of them are more than happy to spread that knowledge to homeowners. If you have questions about something—like why the beams in the basement are sagging—you should ask them during the inspection. 

Your inspector can address your concerns and tell you why you should (or shouldn’t) worry about what’s giving you pause about your purchase. Keep in mind that some home inspectors might prefer to answer questions at the beginning or end of the appointment to avoid distractions.

3. Take Photos and Videos

In addition to creating a detailed report about what they’ve uncovered during your inspection, a home inspector will also take photos (and sometimes videos) of the areas in question. 

This step can be especially important when they’re discussing areas that you may not be comfortable checking yourself, such as the attic. Detailed home inspections that include photos and videos are crucial elements when it comes to negotiating repairs prior to closing.

4. Venture Into Hard-to-Reach Spots

An inspector checking a house’s roof
Photo: Imagesbybarbara / E+ / Getty Images

During the inspection process, your inspector will likely go to a few places that you’d rather not, like the attic crawl space or onto the roof. It’s okay to watch this part from afar and then ask if they discovered anything worth noting when they return. 

If they find any major issues, you may decide to tag along and take a peek into your crawl space to see what they found. Keep in mind that this step is essential to the home inspection process, so ensure that your home inspector ventures into the hard-to-reach areas.

5. Provide an Unbiased Perspective

Unfortunately, an inspector won’t give your home a pass or fail grade. Instead, they’ll give you a list of uncovered issues and any additional inspections they suggest (like an inspection and certification for your water well). They’ll also provide you with their unbiased professional opinion on the severity of any problems or damage.

While they may make some strong recommendations regarding the issues they found, home inspectors won’t tell you whether you should pull out of your contract and keep looking for a new home—no matter what they uncover. 

What Happens After the Home Inspection?

If you haven’t already paid for your inspection, expect to cut a check the day of your inspection. Home inspections typically cost between $200 and $500. Be sure to ask about payment methods and timing when you schedule your inspection, especially if you want to put the cost on your credit card. 

Then, you’ll have to wait a few days to receive the inspection report. Your inspector will cover a lot of ground, and they’ll send all of their photos, notes, and information to you in a detailed report. It’s essential to thoroughly review the home inspection report to determine next steps for your current or potential future home.

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