florida home inspectors

One of the first questions real estate clients ask is, “What do home inspectors look for?” And to put it simply, inspectors are looking for any issue with the home that a potential buyer should know about.

After you’ve found the perfect property that checks all the boxes and you get it under contract, scheduling a home inspection is the next step. Home inspections are the easiest way for the buyer and seller to learn about notable safety issues or repairs that are present. And since no home is perfect, inspection reports almost always include at least a few notes. 

Yet, knowing what a home inspection entails is crucial information that can help any buyer, but especially first-time home buyers. Think of the home inspection as your last opportunity, as a buyer, to learn about any significant problems with the home. This is your perfect chance to walk away or address the issues and negotiate a better price with the buyer.

The upside is that there are many ways to prepare for a home inspection, regardless if you’re a buyer or seller. So, in the following article, we’ll take a deep dive into how the home inspection process works, what they cost, and, more specifically – discuss 5 very important things that are inspected in a home inspection. 

What to Expect During a Home Inspection

Awaiting a home inspection can be stressful for the seller, worried if the sale will go through, and the buyer, who just wants to buy their dream home. As humans, we’re often scared of the unknown, so perhaps if you understand what to expect during a home inspection, it will ease the stress a little. 

With that being said, a home inspector’s job is to look at the exterior and interior parts of the home, including the foundation, HVAC system, plumbing, electrical, and roof. The entire inspection will take two to four hours, but this can vary depending on the size of the property. After the visual inspection is completed, the inspector will provide a report outlining all of the findings. Just be mindful that the report can take a few days to prepare. 

As we mentioned, very few properties are perfect, so don’t get too wrapped up by the number of defects. You’ll find many of them are insignificant and not worth fixing. But do pay attention to any serious problems that arise, as some are deal-breakers for most buyers. If serious problems are found, you should speak with your real estate agent or home inspector to learn more about steps moving forward.

Should the Buyer Attend the Home Inspection?

Absolutely! This is an excellent opportunity to explore your new home more carefully and ask any questions you may have. It’s highly recommended that you ask the home inspector if you can tag along and if they agree, do so. 

In fact, most buyers prefer to attend the home inspection because they learn more than only reading the report. Additionally, you can gain more insight into how minor or severe each problem is. 

How Long Will the Home Inspection Take?

As we briefly mentioned, a home inspection usually takes two to four hours. However, the length of time can vary based on these factors:

  • Number of defects
  • Home size
  • How much the owner prepared for the inspection
  • How thorough the inspector is

How Much Does a Home Inspection Cost?

According to HomeAdvisor, the average home inspection costs around $350 but can range anywhere from $250 up to $400, depending on how large the home is and where it’s located. 

Though, remember, as with most things, cheaper isn’t always better. So, make sure the one you choose is licensed, honest, and reliable. 

Are there follow-up costs?

Experienced buyers, or those alerted by inspectors, may decide to order further inspection reports looking for the presence of: 

  • Mold
  • Radon
  • Asbestos
  • Termites
  • Lead paint or pipes
  • Water damage
  • Other safety concerns

Yet, when it comes to safety concerns such as asbestos and lead, these are primarily concerns with older homes, as these items are banned in the construction of new structures. Some potential buyers even require inspections of the sewer lines and other plumbing components using a camera service.

Who Pays for the Home Inspection?

The buyer generally pays for the home inspection. However, with some offers, the buyer will insist that the seller pays. So, this item is up for negotiation. For this reason, some buyers will contract their own home inspection before placing the home on the market. This helps to reassure potential buyers and gives the seller plenty of time to make necessary repairs. 

It is important to note that not all buyers will accept a report that was paid for by the seller. In fact, most experts recommend that buyers find their own inspector, someone who’s not tied to the seller or the seller’s real estate agent. 

What Are 5 Very Important Things That Are Inspected in a Home Inspection?

Now, for the moment you’ve all been waiting – let’s look at the five most important things that are inspected in a home inspection: 

The Roof

The quality and performance of a roof can make or break a deal. After all, the roof protects the home from wind, rain, snow, and outdoor temperatures. A high-performing roof works well to keep the home insulated and provides adequate ventilation to ensure good indoor air quality. Yet, it’s also one of the most costly items to replace on a home, so it’s at the top of every potential buyer’s list of concerns. 

What does the inspector look for?

Most inspectors simply climb on the roof and conduct a visual inspection, but others may look at it from a ladder. You may even find that an inspector will use binoculars and do it from below during severe weather. 

During this step, they are looking at every component while ensuring it’s watertight and will last another three to four years after the inspection. 

The main things inspectors look for are leaks, moss growth, and missing or damaged tiles or shingles. However, their review also includes items such as gutters, skylights, flashing, vents, and proper attic ventilation. 

How much is the average roof repair?

In general, minor repairs can cost anywhere from $150 up to $1,500, while a total replacement can average between $6,000 and $12,000. 

The Foundation

The foundation is your house’s workhorse; it must support the structure, furnishings, and occupants. Unfortunately, foundation repairs can be extremely costly and are, therefore, a deal-breaker for most buyers. 

What does the inspector look for?

Home inspectors will walk around the home’s perimeter looking for cracks, sloping, and other settlement issues. If crawlspace is present, it will receive a good look for signs of mold, warping, and moisture that can lead to problems with wood supports. If there are previous foundation repairs, the inspector will also look at those to check the workmanship. 

How much is the average foundation repair?

The cost of foundation repair can vary widely. The nationwide average is $4,500, but it can be as much as $15,000 or more in some cases. 

The HVAC System

Unless you plan to replace it, you’ll want to know if the home’s HVAC system cools, heats, and ventilates the air properly. Just please note that home inspections do not cover every detail, so when you suspect a unit is older, you should hire an HVAC expert to do a more thorough examination. 

What does the inspector look for?

Among the first things, an inspector will do is check that both heating and cooling functions operate as they should. Most inspectors leave the system running during the inspection so they can also ensure the thermostat is working. 

How much is the average HVAC repair?

Again, the cost to repair a home’s HVAC system will vary based on the problem and how complicated the repair is. Typically, it costs anywhere from $150 up to $1,200 for a furnace repair or as much as $6,000 for a replacement. Air conditioners can set you back between $200 and $500 for repairs or $3,500 to $12,500 for a complete replacement.

The Electrical Systems

Did you know that electrical systems are the third most common cause of house fires? Therefore, overlooking issues with a home’s electrical system can be dangerous, so this is a primary concern of a home inspector. 

What does the inspector look for?

The inspector will thoroughly assess the home’s electrical panel to ensure it meets code requirements and all wires are correctly placed and grounded. The inspector will also look for proper amperage ratings and corroded wires. 

Receptacles and switches must work properly, and GFIs (ground-fault circuit interrupter outlets) should be installed in most rooms to prevent injuries and the risk of electrocution.

How much is the average electrical system repair?

Minor electrical repairs can cost between $150 and $500, while whole-house rewiring or panel replacement costs from $1,200 to $2,200 or more. 

Plumbing

Plumbing is the last of our five important things that are inspected in a home inspection. And let’s face it, few things are worse than a leak. When left untreated, water problems tend to cause a domino effect and can lead to severe problems inside a home. Not only can it affect the walls and floor, but it can also damage the subfloor and foundation. 

What does the inspector look for?

The home inspector examines everything that water effects, including bathtubs, showers, piping, sinks, toilets, faucets, and spigots. They check for cracked, leaking, or rusting pipes and any evidence of do-it-yourself repairs. Finally, home inspectors check the flooring, walls, and ceilings for evidence of moisture and areas of contamination or cross-connection issues. 

The Bottom Line

It may not seem like it at the moment, but the cost and headache associated with getting a home inspection are well worth it when everything is said and done. Regardless if you are the seller or the buyer, you should always be concerned with problem areas inside of a home. And with the help of a home inspection that’s completed by someone who’s licensed, experienced, and honest, you can save yourself a great deal of money and stress down the road.