Property inspections: 4 types to consider

Wendy Cutrufelli
Posted by Wendy Cutrufelli
Mortgage Banking

Property inspections are intended to help protect you as a prospective buyer from surprises after close. Last post I provided five basics of inspections. But which ones should you request?

Young man with clipboard looking over a water heater in a home's basement.Here are a few of the inspections that are recommended on real estate transactions:

Home inspection – This is an overview inspection of the condition of the property and its systems and components, including heating, air conditioning, plumbing, mechanical, roof, foundation, security, safety, appliances, and fixtures. The home inspector will likely recommend additional inspections by specialists if there are areas of concern noted during the home inspection. Home inspectors are not appraising the value of a property, and you should not expect them to determine building code compliance, or guarantee the structural viability of the property, or find hidden defects.

Pest inspection – This inspection has two parts. Section 1 identifies areas of the home that show evidence of wood-destroying pests or other infestations. Section 2 identifies areas where the conditions are likely to lead to infestation in the future. The cost to repair both Section 1 and Section 2 items are included in the summary. Mortgage lenders typically require Section 1 items be corrected prior to closing the transaction.

Roof inspection – Even if a roof is relatively new, a roof inspection is usually encouraged. While the roof material may be recent, a roof inspection can determine whether it was installed correctly.

Sewer inspection – Sewer lines are a common area of deferred maintenance. In fact, many homeowners don’t think to conduct sewer line maintenance until there is a problem. Some reasons you might want to inspect sewer lines include concerns about (1) large trees or bushes above the sewer line from the house to the street, (2) raised or cracked concrete potentially indicating large roots, (3) a home that has been vacant for a long time, (4) the age of a home.

When you are eager to close on your dream home, inspections can feel like an expensive nuisance that might slow the process. Just keep in mind, property inspections inform you as the buyer about unforeseen and potentially costly maintenance problems that may occur when you become the home owner.

Property inspections help you make an informed decision to proceed with the purchase, walk away from a property with more issues than you anticipated, or try to negotiate with the seller over the cost of repairs.

Remember, your lender likely will not require you to get these inspections as part of the loan process; they are the responsibility of the home purchaser to decide which inspections to have done and to determine what to do based on the findings.

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