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Simple Real Estate Definitions : Home Inspection


A home inspection is a complete, top-to-bottom, visual check-up of the structure and systems of a house.

It is meant to be an objective determination of a home’s condition.

A home inspection usually takes 3-6 hours to complete, depending on the size of the home.

During the inspection process, the inspector will examine all of the following components of a home:

  • Home exterior including doors, decks, and vegetation
  • Heating and cooling systems for leaks and efficiency
  • Electrical systems for safety and soundness of design
  • Plumbing systems for venting, distribution, and drainage

In addition, the inspector will review the roofing system, the home’s interior, and several other parts of the property.

A home inspection may be ordered by a home owner or by a home buyer.

For a home owner, an inspection can detail a home’s shortcomings and provide a roadmap for repairs. This can help a person prepare his home for sale because “major issues” can be addressed in advance of listing.

For a home buyer, a home inspection physically reviews a home under contract, identifying structural flaws that may impact the home’s desirability. This is essential for the negotiation process because no home is “perfect” — even new ones!

A home inspection highlights potential long-term trouble spots and the likelihood for expensive home repairs. This is why real estate professionals often recommend inspecting a home immediately after signing a purchase contract.

To find a qualified home inspector in your area, ask your real estate agent for a referral, or visit the American Society of Home Inspectors Web site.

American Society of Home Inspectors
Frequently Asked Questions on Home Inspections

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