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5 Types Of Home Inspections For Buyers

June 10, 2022

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At Key Title and Escrow we know buying a home is one of the biggest investments you'll ever make. So we understand how important it is for you to take every precaution necessary to ensure there's little to no risk in your purchase.

Apart from the range of title and escrow services we can offer to make your closing as smooth, safe, and stress-free as can be, —judgment and lien searches, record owner searches, and tailored homeowner's insurance, among many others— we highly recommend that all necessary home inspections be performed. By doing so, you will be able to know if the property you're planning to buy requires extensive repairs and decide whether to ask the seller to cover the repairs, counteroffer so you can make them yourself, or back out entirely if the damages make the purchase no longer feasible.

home needs repairs
To help determine what's right for your case, our Key Title & Escrow has outlined what to expect from a general home inspection and 4 other types of inspections you might want to consider.

1. General Home Inspection

According to the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI), a general home inspection is an objective visual examination of the physical structure and systems of a house, from the roof to the foundation. In other words, it is a standard inspection where a generalist reports on the home's interior and exterior condition after performing basic tests and keeping an eye out for any signs of problems.

Below is a list of what home inspectors look at when performing a general home inspection:

Exterior

  • Foundation
  • Grading
  • Exterior walls
  • Coverings
  • Roof
  • Attic
  • Chimneys and stoves
  • Yard and landscaping
  • Porch, decks, and patio
  • Water drainage and disbursement
  • Waste disposal
  • And other details, such as water wells and septic systems, that may or not be applicable to your home

Interior

  • Floors, interior walls, windows, doors, and ceilings
  • HVAC
  • Interior plumbing
  • Appliances
  • Electrical System
  • Bathrooms
  • Basements and crawl space
  • Fire and other safety components
  • Interior water drainage and disbursement
  • Signs of asbestos, lead paint, and noxious gases
  • And other details, depending on your home's complexity

Inspecting Home with Magnifying Glass
Although a general home inspection covers most of the home's physical structure and systems, it does so only on a superficial level. There are certain instances where a visual examination won't be enough to detect a problem or, in the best-case scenario, may only detect signs of the existence of a deeper and more complex problem.

Also, most home inspectors are generalists. Even though they may be able to tell the signs of a specialized problem, they won't be able to determine the extent of the issue, recommend proper fixes or give you an estimate of the costs of repairs.

General home inspectors won't include checking inside walls, pipes or sewer lines, chimneys, under tiles, or behind electrical panels. They do not specifically check for termite damage, site contamination, mold or mildew, asbestos, or an array of other more specific and specialized problems.

Another important factor to consider is that general home inspections are not infallible. They will only report on the home's current condition, and there's always the possibility of an unforeseen issue popping up after.

2. Pest Inspection

Pests can be a nightmare for homeowners. While evidence of rodents and raccoons can be worrying, wood-destroying pests such as termites, carpenter ants, and powder post beetles can cause lots of damage by literally eating away your potential new home's structure.

If pests are common in the area or if you or your general home inspector detect signs of infestation, a pest inspection or a wood-destroying organism inspection (WDO) is advisable.

3. Mold Inspection

Mold is a problem that not only can cause damage to your property but can also pose health risks for children and the elderly, especially for those with respiratory problems or a compromised immune system.

If water leaks or areas with high humidity are found during the general home inspection, you should definitely consider having a mold inspection. As mold likes to grow in dark, damp, and poorly ventilated places, it's commonly found under flooring, behind walls, under sinks and bathtubs, and other hard-to-reach places, that are often inaccessible or overlooked by general home inspectors.

Looking at Home
Only a mold inspector will be able to find and identify the type of mold growing on the property, recommend the proper method to get rid of it, and may even give you an estimate of the costs. He will also be qualified to test the home's interior air quality and tell if any other areas could be compromised due to migrating spores.

4. Radon Inspection

Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that is formed by the breakdown of uranium in soil, rock and water. It cannot be seen or smelled and has no taste. It is completely harmless outdoors in low concentrations but can be very harmful to people when it accumulates in enclosed spaces.

Radon is a Class A carcinogen, and the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking, causing more than 21 thousand lung cancer deaths every year.

This gas enters a building through openings where the structure meets the soil, such as cracks in foundation walls and in floor slabs, construction joints, gaps around service pipes, support posts, window wells, floor drains, sumps or cavities inside walls.

According to Florida's Department of Health Bureau of Environmental Health, Florida's Department of Health Bureau of Environmental Health elevated radon levels have been found in all types of buildings, including manufactured homes, schools, and high-rise condominiums. They also state that 1 in every 5 homes tested in the region has elevated radon levels above the action level of 4pCi/L.

Some general home inspectors tend to include radon testing at an extra fee, but if yours doesn't cover it, we highly recommend you hire a qualified tester as testing is easy and inexpensive. At the very least, we urge you to request a free radon test kit like those offered on Florida's Department of Health Bureau of Environmental Health's website. However, we must warn that it is invalid for mandatory testing and should never replace proper testing performed by professionals.

5. Foundation Inspection

When buying a house, foundation and structural problems can be a dealbreaker. They can be expensive to fix and can lead to other problems such as foundation sinking, plumbing line bursts and breaks, rood leaks, pests and mold, higher bills, a drop in value, and can even compromise the property's structural integrity.

A general home inspector will only be able to report signs such as cracks, sloping, and water seepage that point to a bigger foundation problem. However, only a certified foundation inspector with proper knowledge of structural engineering will be able to tell you all you need to know about the home's foundation and structure, recommend proper fixes and give you an estimate of the costs of repairs.

Although a foundation inspection may be expensive, averaging about $500 depending on location, given the importance, it's worth the investment.

Inspector Looking at Home

Other inspections

There is an array of other equally important inspections that you can get in order to ensure your home's integrity and family's safety, but they will mostly depend on the general home inspector's findings and your new home's complexity. For example, homes with features such as water wells or septic tanks might need specific inspections to evaluate their condition. Homes located in disaster areas might also need an inspection to assess the risks. Also, buildings built before 1990 might require an asbestos inspection, and those built prior to 1978 a lead paint inspection.

If you found this article useful and are looking for a reliable title and escrow company to advise you and help you out in every step of the closing process, be sure to give us a call at (305) 235-4571 or toll-free at (800) 547-0006. You can also fill out the Contact us form on this page and we will get back to you as soon as we can. We will be more than happy to put our experience at your disposal.

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