Everything You Need to Know About Home Inspections

The Hancock Group


With the current state of the real estate market, home inspections are not as common as they once were, but they can still can be a crucial part of the home buying process that a buyer should understand. Whether you opt to have an inspection done on your home purchase or not, understanding just how it works and the role it plays in buying or selling a home can give you an edge over potential competition.


When a buyer puts in an offer on a home and that offer is accepted, there are a number of negotiations that follow before the agreement is set and the house closes. In some cases, this will include a provision that allows the buyer to have an inspection performed in order to discover issues with a home that are not readily apparent or have not been disclosed by the seller. This can include faulty plumbing, cracks in the foundation, or anything else that could affect the safety of the house or influence a buyer's decision to move forward with their offer.

While the length of the inspection can vary widely and depends on a number of factors, such as the size of the property or the qualifications of the inspector, a typical inspection usually takes 3 to 4 hours.

An inspection can take place either on its own or as an inspection contingency. While inspections are typically for informational purposes, in the event that a serious safety issue is discovered, a buyer has the option to request certain repairs or withdraw their offer entirely if appropriate action isn't taken.

There are a ton of variables in this negotiation process that can leave either side burned if they are not fully aware of the nature of inspection contingencies. Your real estate professional will happily guide you through this part of the process and ensure that everything goes smoothly.


While a license is not always required, it is important to have a qualified individual perform the inspection. There are certain traits of an inspector that can indicate their skill level and trustworthiness:
  • References from agents and previous customers can be a helpful resource, especially if you are concerned about any specific areas of the home.
  • Membership in professional associations can indicate an inspector's commitment to education and training.
  • Some inspectors will also include Errors and Omission insurance in order to cover any unintentional oversight or mistakes made during an inspection. It can be useful to find out if the inspector has this type of insurance, as well as how they handle mistakes or omissions.


  1. Know the inspector's qualifications. Buyers should ask about the inspector's experience, training, years in business and if they are familiar with the area and type of property involved.
  2. Find out exactly what is included in the inspection and what will trigger the inspector to recommend that you get the opinion of a specialist. They should be able to provide you with a sample report so you can see the detail with which the items will be explained. Ask if items that need attention will also be documented with pictures.
  3. See if you can be present for the inspection. Some inspectors will allow you to accompany them during the inspection. They will be able to point out their concerns as they find them and answer any questions you may have about the property.
As you can see, there is a lot that goes into the home inspection process, which is just one of the many parts of any real estate transaction. It can easily become overwhelming, which is why having a Realtor can mean the difference between whether or not things go smoothly.
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