A home inspection is a common part of the home sale process. The inspection is usually a contingency in the contract, meaning the buyer can back out if serious problems discovered, or can negotiate for repairs to be made.
Some home sellers choose to have an inspection conducted before they list the home for sale. This can avoid any unexpected issues during the transaction, but also requires the seller to disclose any issues that have been found. Your REALTOR® can advise you as to whether a pre-listing inspection is recommended.
During the home inspection, an inspector will examine the property for flaws. Based on the inspector’s report, certain items may need to be repaired or a more specialized inspection conducted. The types of inspections which may occur are:
This is the most widely recognized type of inspection that covers the general condition of the home by examining the areas and systems that are reasonably discoverable. Based upon what they see, they may recommend that you have a more specialized inspection conducted.
Radon is an invisible, odorless gas found in the earth’s soil that can reach harmful levels when trapped in areas like basements and first floors of homes. It is also quite common throughout Maryland. If the property has elevated radon levels, you can install a reduction system that vents the gas outside of the property.
Termites, insects and rodents can all take up residence in your home. Some of them may be annoying, but others can cause damage to your home’s structure and systems. You will want to know if any of these pests are present, remove them and repair any issues that they caused.
While all buildings contain some level of naturally-occurring mold, this inspection will check for excessive amounts that may be present in areas of the home. Inspectors will look for active leaks or water accumulation that may lead to mold growth in basements, along foundation walls, or in your roof’s support structure, and recommend actions to remediate mold in those areas.
Lead-Based Paint Inspection
If your property was constructed prior to 1978, there is a high likelihood that it contains lead-based paint. This inspection will look for areas with chipped or peeling paint which could indicate and area of lead paint exposure. Those areas should be covered with a special coating and routinely maintained, or you could choose to conduct a full abatement of any surfaces containing lead-based paint.
Based upon what your home inspector finds, he or she may recommend that you get a more specialized inspection of certain home systems where they see items of concern, that they do not have full access to, or that are outside of their scope of practice. Those could include:
- Fireplace and Chimney
- Heating and Air Conditioning
- Electrical Systems
If your property is not connected to public water or sewer systems, then you likely have a well and a septic system on your lot which provide those services. A septic inspector will look for issues with the tank, whether it needs to be pumped out, or if leaks have caused contamination in the surrounding soil. Well inspectors will check to make sure the well system is in working order and evaluate water quality.
Underground Oil Tank
Depending on the age of your home, it may have at one time used an oil heating system. This inspection can locate any oil storage tank that is present on the property and determine if leaks or cracks are present. They can also recommend if current tanks need to be replaced or old tanks removed.
If the home you are purchasing has a pool or hot tub, this inspection will look at the working condition of the mechanical equipment, corrosion or areas for leaks, and any safety issues as defined under state and local laws.