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Keys to a Successful Home Inspection


Keys to a Successful Home Inspection

The housing market is very active right now and many home purchasers are buying a home for the first time. In THOR’s May 2018 blog post (, we mention that one of the items all home buyers should complete before removing the contingencies from the purchase contract is a home inspection. 

A home inspection is initiated once your offer has been accepted by the seller, but you still have a period of due diligence before the closing date on the homeTypically, the buyer is responsible for finding a home inspection company, scheduling the date and time of the inspection, and paying for the serviceYour home is one of the most expensive items you will ever purchase so do not shop for a cheap home inspection serviceTypically, a good home inspector will charge between $400 and $600 for a whole home inspectionAdditionally, most reputable home inspection firms will have one or more certifications which can indicate a significant level of expertiseSome certifications to look for include the following: 

As the buyer, you will want to accompany your home inspector to the inspectionHome inspections usually take 3 to 4 hours to complete so make sure you have allocated sufficient time in your scheduleBy walking through what you are hoping will be your new home, you will learn a lot about the home itselfA good inspector will familiarize you with the structure and systems of your new home while pointing out areas of concernAmong a lengthy list of items that will get inspected, some of the major areas include: 

  •  House Exterior and Foundation 
  • Structural Components 
  • Chimneys & Fireplaces 
  • Roofing Systems & Flashings 
  • Attic & Ventilation Systems 
  • Doors & Windows 
  • Kitchen Fixtures, Cabinets & Appliances 
  • Electric System 
  • Plumbing System Components & Fixtures 
  • HVAC Systems 

Many home inspectors are certified to do termite/wood destroying insect inspections and will include the cost of it in the base price of the whole home inspection. 

Once the inspection is complete, you should receive a written and/or electronic report of the resultsA good report will not only have a description of each concern, but it will also include pictures specifically highlighting the identified problem area(s). Most home inspection company websites include sample reports that you can view to determine if they meet your expectations. 

As you complete the inspection process, keep in mind that home inspection reports by nature focus on defects and may seem very negativeOften, this can create stress for the buyer as you are learning about the existing issues with your new homeBut the key is to relaxUnless you are buying a fixerupper, most of your home’s systems should be in excellent condition but will not have been mentioned in the report. Many of the items listed in the report are simply maintenance recommendationsKeep in mind that no home is perfect 

In most cases, the home purchase is contingent upon a successful home inspection. If there are serious issues with your home, you will either be able to renegotiate with the seller of the home or simply withdraw your offer. However, keep things in perspectiveYou do not want to kill your deal over things that do not matter in the long runSmall issues and deferred maintenance on various equipment will likely be your responsibilityNegotiations with the seller should focus on the more expensive fixes for which you don’t want to incur the cost. 

Written by

Mark F. Kleespies, CFP®

Mark joined THOR in January of 1997, and is the head of the Wealth Management team. His primary duties include working directly with clients and strategically planning the direction of the firm. Mark is a member of the Financial Planning Association and is a Certified Financial Planner.

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