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What to watch for during a home inspection

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This article is brought to you by Patrick Malone, Century 21 High Desert. As a resident of Idaho for over 27 years, he can provide buyers or sellers with an in-depth knowledge of the area. He has experience in residential homes and lots, multi-unit and income properties and rural acreages. Click here to find out more.

One of the most overlooked aspects of selling or buying a home is the home inspection process. Understanding what home inspectors look for and what they find will help you make smart decisions as a homeowner or buyer.

“You should ensure that the home is safe during a home inspection,” says Patrick Malone, a real estate agent in Idaho Falls. “Making sure that everything in the home functions properly should be a major focus of the home inspection.“

Home inspectors’ findings can sometimes be challenging to decipher. You should ask the home inspector to elaborate and suggest ways to fix the issue. If there are larger repairs that need a contractor or specialist, home inspectors can oftentimes refer specialists.

“If this were your house, what would you fix, and when?” is a great question, according to Business Insider. Inspectors can often help you understand the order of repairs that need to be made as well as the things that do not necessarily need to be repaired.

When it comes to the actual home inspection, there are a few integral aspects of the home that inspectors will look at. In no order of importance, home inspectors will look into the electrical system, plumbing system, windows and doors, heating and cooling components, attic, roofing, insulation and foundation.

But home inspectors can’t look at everything.

“While an inspection will give you an idea of a house’s overall condition, it might not uncover hidden problems such as pests, mold or asbestos,” The New York Times states. “It also won’t turn up flaws in areas that are below ground or otherwise inaccessible to the inspector, like wells and septic tanks. To identify those types of problems, you’re going to need additional inspections.”

As for specific areas of the house to look at closely during the inspection, start by asking about a buried oil tank on the property. Some older homes used oil to heat their home. These tanks are either empty or filled with sand and gravel. Depending on where the home is built, you might be able to leave the tank underground, while certain areas may require the tank to be removed.

When looking at the HVAC system, it is wise to look into the serial numbers of each unit. Looking up information on each unit will give you an idea of how old they are as well as how long they should be able to run. The last thing you want to do is purchase a home that will need a new HVAC system shortly after you move in.

Another aspect of the home to look at is the foundation. With older homes, the foundation can often be damaged or unstable. As the new owner of that home, you would be responsible for repairing that foundation, which can be costly.

Knowing what, specifically, inspectors will look at will help you better prepare for your home inspection. Additionally, working with an experienced local Realtor will provide insight into how to best prepare for your home inspection, or what to look for in a home that you may potentially purchase.

Malone says to choose your home inspector carefully.

“The state of Idaho does not license home inspectors,” he says. “If you’re going to hire a home inspector, it is so important to hire one that is credentialed by a national organization. This ensures they have the education you need as a potential homebuyer. Using an inspector certified through an organization such as NACHI is recommended.”

It is also important that potential homebuyers find a Realtor that they can connect with – someone who understands their individual needs and goals when it comes to buying a home. Not only will they find the perfect home for you, but they will help you navigate the process of home inspections.