Buying a home is one of the most exciting and stressful times in a person’s life. While home inspections can seem tedious, they provide valuable information and peace of mind. When scheduling a home inspection in Royal Oak, MI, it’s helpful to know what to expect so there are no surprises on inspection day.
Overview of the Home Inspection Process
A home inspection provides a detailed report on the current condition of the home. Areas examined include the roof, exterior, structure, electrical system, plumbing, HVAC, and more. An inspection takes 2-3 hours for the average single-family home and condo.
The home inspector will begin outside, checking the roof, chimney, gutters, siding, windows, and doors. They’ll make note of any issues like damaged shingles, clogged gutters, cracked brick, or rotting wood.
Heading inside, the home inspector will evaluate the structure and foundation for cracks or shifting. They’ll examine the electrical panel to confirm it’s up to code, check outlets and light fixtures, and look for exposed wiring. The plumbing system will be inspected for leaks, clogs, water pressure, and signs of corrosion.
Appliances like the water heater, furnace, and AC unit will be turned on to evaluate functionality and age. The home inspector will check for hot water, sufficient air flow, and odd noises that could indicate issues. Fireplaces and chimneys will be examined as well.
Expect the home inspector to evaluate the attic insulation, ventilation, air sealing, and check for leaks. Crawl spaces and basements will be accessed to check for water intrusion and damage. Garage doors, sprinkler systems, and any other structures will be inspected too.
Throughout the inspection, the home inspector will take lots of pictures. Any issues or areas of concern will be noted and brought to your attention. At the end, you’ll go over the findings together and get all your questions answered.
What Home Inspectors Check For
There are hundreds of things home inspectors look for during an inspection. Here are some key areas and potential issues they’ll be evaluating:
Roof: damaged, curling or missing shingles; insufficient attic ventilation; leaks; worn flashings; sagging gutters and downspouts
Exterior: cracks or deterioration in siding, brick and trim; rotting wood; leaking windows and doors; foundation cracks; improper grading
Structure: evidence of shifting or settling; damaged supports and joints; cracked walls and ceilings; improper additions/remodels
Electrical: aluminum wiring; open junction boxes; overloaded circuits; outdated panel; ungrounded outlets; reverse polarity
Plumbing: low water pressure; leaking or corroded pipes; standing water in crawl space; improper drain slopes; old water heater
HVAC: insufficient air flow; dirty coils and air filters; rust and corrosion; older furnace/AC; condensation leaks
Attic: damaged insulation; bathroom/kitchen exhaust vented into attic; mildew and mold; pests; insufficient ventilation
Basement/Crawl Space: cracks in foundation; water intrusion; wood rot; sewer gas smells; rusted pipes
This list just scratches the surface. A thorough home inspection in Royal Oak MI by a qualified professional will check over 100 specific items inside and outside the home.
What is NOT Included in a Home Inspection
While home inspections are very comprehensive, there are limitations to what’s covered:
- Advanced testing: Specialized tests for things like radon, mold, and lead paint require separate inspections by qualified professionals.
- Assessing code compliance: While inspectors may point out areas that don’t meet code, they don’t perform official code inspections.
- Evaluating cosmetics: Home inspectors don’t report on cosmetic issues like small drywall cracks, chipped tile, or worn carpets.
- Testing appliances extensively: Appliances are turned on to check basic operation but detailed performance testing is not done.
- Examining every outlet, pipe, etc: Due to time constraints, not every electrical outlet or section of pipe can be examined. Inspectors check a representative sample.
- Assessing illegal DIY work: Inspectors can’t evaluate work that would have required a permit. Homeowners should disclose any known unpermitted work.
- Private sewer scope: A camera scope of the underground sewer line is not included but highly recommended if the home is older.
If you have specific concerns in any areas, discuss ordering additional inspections with your real estate agent.
Preparing for Your Home Inspection
You don’t need to do too much to prepare for a home inspection, but here are a few tips:
- Make sure all utilities are on: This allows the inspector to test plumbing, electrical, HVAC, appliances, etc. Leave pilot lights on.
- Clear access to key areas: Remove stored items from attic, crawl space, etc. Your inspector will need to access these areas.
- Cut back vegetation: Trim back bushes, tree limbs, etc. that are obstructing parts of the exterior. Inspectors need full visibility.
- Gather records and warranties: Have any records on repairs, renovations, pest control, etc. available for the inspector to review.
- Make sure pets are secured: For safety, dogs and cats should be secured during the inspection. Replace cat litter just in case.
- Plan to attend: Attending the inspection allows you to see issues first-hand and ask the inspector questions.
Taking these steps allows the inspection to go smoothly so the inspector can conduct a thorough evaluation.
Potential Red Flags to Keep in Mind
While home inspections turn up typical wear and tear issues with most older homes, there are a few red flags buyers should keep an eye out for:
Big cracks or shifting: Large foundation cracks, walls or ceilings far out of plumb, and significant floors slopes could indicate serious structural issues.
Major roof problems: Missing and damaged shingles, piles of granules in the gutters, and leaks staining ceilings are problematic. The roof may need full replacement.
Crooked or bowed walls: Walls that are not straight up and down or bow inwards or outwards often mean structure movement.
Significant sagging floors: Floors that sag considerably could mean structural damage or unsafe DIY renovations.
Moisture stains: Water stains on walls and ceilings may indicate roof leaks, plumbing leaks, foundation leaks, or other water intrusion issues.
Lots of deferred maintenance: A home with many systems near or past their useful life points to expensive upgrades and repairs ahead.
Unpermitted work: If the inspection reveals lots of DIY renovations were done without permits, it raises safety concerns.
Seeing one of these issues doesn’t necessarily make the home a bad purchase, but they should be investigated further. Additional inspections by qualified professionals are recommended.
What Happens After the Inspection Report?
You will receive a comprehensive written report from the home inspector detailing all their findings, usually within 24 hours. This report will note any issues found, provide cost estimates for repairs, and highlight areas that need further evaluation.
It’s up to you and your real estate agent to review the home inspection report and determine the best steps forward. There are several options:
Request repairs: For minor issues, request the current homeowners complete repairs prior to closing. Get all repair estimates and agreements in writing.
Negotiate credits: If repairs would be extensive, negotiate a credit at closing you can use to make the needed fixes and upgrades yourself.
Back out: For serious red flags, structural damage, or costly repairs, you may opt to void the purchase agreement during your inspection contingency period.
Get second opinions: For issues requiring expensive repairs, get bids from 2-3 contractors to confirm the home inspector’s estimated costs.
Conduct additional inspections: If the inspector recommends any follow-up evaluations, schedule these immediately so there are no lingering concerns.
Why Home Inspections are Important
Home inspections take time and add steps to the home buying process. But they provide vital information that protects your investment and prevents nasty surprises down the road. The key benefits include:
Identifying defects: A home inspection can reveal issues not readily visible to the untrained eye like early-stage mold growth or small structural cracks. Catching these now prevents bigger problems later.
Avoiding safety hazards: Inspectors look for safety hazards like exposed electrical, faulty railings, damaged chimneys, and fire risks that endanger your family.
Understanding true costs: Knowing the costs for repairs and replacements allows you to make a well-informed decision and potentially negotiate with the seller.
Providing documentation: The inspection report gives you important documentation to review when planning renovations and for insurance purposes in case issues arise later.
Offering peace of mind: Perhaps most importantly, a home inspection provides peace of mind, letting you enjoy your new home knowing that a professional has thoroughly evaluated it.
Why Choose a Professional Home Inspection in Royal Oak, MI?
Many buyers wonder if a home inspection is really necessary, especially for newer homes or those that look immaculate cosmetically. But there are good reasons to get a professional Home Inspection in Royal Oak MI on any resale home purchase:
You’re not an expert: As a buyer, you simply don’t have the expertise to identify structural, electrical and plumbing issues a professional would spot. Don’t trust a huge investment to chance.
Problems may be hidden: Serious issues like mold, faulty wiring, and roof leaks often can’t be detected through a basic walkthrough. An inspection is the only way to uncover them.
Peace of mind: The investment is minimal compared to the peace of mind and legal protection a home inspection report provides for the entire time you own the home.
It’s required: Most lenders require a home inspection to move forward with financing. Why not get one for your own benefit as well?
True costs revealed: Surprise repair costs put financial strain on homeowners. An inspection provides a detailed estimate for issues that will need addressing now or down the road.
Leverage to negotiate: The inspection report arms you with leverage to negotiate repairs, credits, and lower price if needed to make the deal work.
Document your investment: A home inspection in Royal Oak MI provides documentation to rely on for insurance claims and gives you detailed knowledge of your investment as you plan renovations.
Don’t think of a home inspection as an extra hassle. It’s a smart investment that pays dividends throughout your entire homeownership. Work with a qualified professional to make the process quick and easy.
Final Thoughts on Royal Oak Home Inspections
Scheduling a professional home inspection may seem tedious, but it’s a small time investment that pays big dividends towards safeguarding your purchase. Use this guide to know what to expect during the inspection, how to prepare, which questions to ask, and why it’s so important.
In Royal Oak, MI and surrounding areas, home buyers turn to qualified local inspectors they can trust to perform a thorough evaluation and provide the documentation needed to make a wise purchase decision. Don’t leave anything to chance – protect your investment and secure peace of mind through a professional home inspection.