Once you’ve discovered a home you are potentially interested in, you should then proceed to the next step – the home inspection.

While the home you are about to purchase may fit all of your requirements, it is necessary to make sure that it is structurally sound as well. Licensed professional engineers will be able to tell you if the home you are about to buy is as perfect as it looks, or if repairs are needed. They will identify any major defects you should be aware of before making your offer.

A buyer should know the full condition of the home, and this includes knowing about any safety issues that may be present.

Who Should Perform the Inspection?

Your home inspection should be performed by a licensed professional engineer. Also, make sure that their report is stamped with the home inspector’s licensed professional engineer seal, as state government regulates the practice of engineering. The professional engineer seal on the home inspection is the key to your protection. Buyers who opt to utilize a home inspector who is not a professional engineer may possibly be required to pay for a second home inspection if a problem is uncovered, such as a structural defect.

Be sure that the home inspection company has professional affiliations, such as the National Academy of Building Inspection Engineers (NABIE) and the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE). The reason for this is that these two organizations only accept licensed professional engineers as members and must adhere to a strict code of ethics when performing their duties.

Buyers should make sure that they will receive a detailed written report, and not merely a checklist. The reason for this is that a checklist may not provide all of the information or specific engineering aspects you may need to know.

The Home Inspection

Buyers should make sure to be present during the home inspection. This will allow you to see what the inspector uncovers first hand. Make sure to follow them around and ask questions. Remember, the more questions you ask the more you will learn about your potential new home.

During the home inspection the structural, plumbing, electrical, heating, and air-conditioning systems should be thoroughly evaluated. The inspector should inspect the doors, windows, exterior facades, and the condition of the roof as well. The land around the home should be examined, as well as any decks, patios, porches, driveways and sidewalks.

The home inspection engineer should make sure to determine whether or not your home is susceptible to water intrusion, in both the upper and lower levels of the home. They should make sure to examine for damage by wood destroying insects (such as termites), as well as any asbestos containing materials. The inspector should also make note whether or not there is any evidence of past problems.

All electrical and mechanical components of the home should be thoroughly evaluated. Any systems that are not adequate for modern use; lead and galvanized steel water supply pipes, aged or inefficient heating & cooling systems, aluminum electrical distribution wires, etc. should be noted.

Buyers should consider optional tests such as testing paint and the drinking water for lead, testing the water supply for bacteria, testing for radon gas in the air, testing for urea formaldehyde foam insulation, and possibly testing of underground storage tanks.

After Your Inspection

Your home inspection engineer should summarize their findings and give you a full verbal report at the conclusion of their inspection. Their home inspection engineering report should be available the next working day after the home inspection has taken place.

At this point you will know the condition of the home you are purchasing, what repairs are needed, the urgency of the repairs, and most importantly – the significance of the repair costs. You should know if there are any unsafe conditions, and whether there are any hidden risks.

Remember, a good engineer may always find some defects. However, your REALTOR knows that there are always many variables to consider and will advise you accordingly. After your home inspection you may be able to negotiate for a better price on the home based on items discovered by the engineer; additionally some faults may fall under the seller’s responsibility to address in regards to the property transaction.

Home inspections are crucial, because they will either give you peace of mind on your potential purchase or they will bring defects to your attention that you may not have previously have realized.