What’s the purpose of a home inspection?

As simple as this questions seems you’ll get many different answers from people you ask – you’ll even get different answers from home inspectors.  But as is often the case, sometimes you can work towards an answer by asking another question.  And here’s that question:  You’re paying for the inspection, dear client; what do YOU want to get out of the inspection?

That’s an important thing to consider.  What do you, as a home buyer, hope to get out of the inspection?

From my perspective the purpose of a home inspection is for me to teach my client about the house.

  • how it works
  • what kind of maintenance is necessary
  • what condition it’s in
  • what’s wrong with it and should be fixed
  • what’s wrong with it but can wait for repairs
  • how bad, serious, and expensive these defects are
  • how old the major systems and appliances of the house are
  • what’s right with it
  • how it’s been updated and cared for over the years
  • how it compares to other houses of this vintage and in this area

Once you learn these things you can more easily make an informed decision about buying the house.  Do you want to back out of the deal?  Do you want to ask the seller for repairs or credits?  Do you need more time to have things looked at by a specialist?  Learning everything you can about the house makes these decisions easier.

The part of the inspection that focuses on what’s wrong with the house is what most people focus on, and that’s certainly a very big part of the process.  It’s the part of the process that might save you a lot of money and might keep you safe.  But it’s not the only part.  Understanding what kind of maintenance to do to your house can also be a very important part of the process and it might help you keep your house operating properly for many years, saving you money in the long run.

And it’s important for you to understand how the inspection house compares to other houses in the area, something only an experienced home inspector who’s seen lots and lots and lots of houses can really do.  I inspect a lot of very old houses, and some of them still have the original galvanized steel water pipes.  These old pipes are highly prone to leaking and are usually ready to be replaced.  It’s important for the buyer to understand not just the need for new pipes but how common this problem is.  That way a buyer can more easily compare this house to others that they might want to buy.  This helps a buyer decide if they should move ahead with the purchase or keep looking.  After all, if you think you’re paying top-dollar for a house then shouldn’t it be among the best in the area?

Let’s get back to the question:  What do you, as a home buyer, hope to get out of the inspection?  I encourage you to think about this question and understand what you want so that you can get the most out of the inspection process.  Keep in mind that you want to learn about the house, and my advice is to consider these issues to be most important:

  • How do I maintain my home?
  • What’s wrong with the home and how serious are these defects?
  • How does this home compare to others in the area?

Once you’ve learned these things about the house you’ll be ready to make an informed decision.

Inspection Overview
Why Get a Home Inspection?

Recent Posts

Don’t let your pipes freeze

I’ve heard the question many times: How low should I set my thermostat if I leave town in the winter, to save money but prevent my pipes from freezing? 65 °F?  60 °F?  50?  I

Wood shrinkage

Let’s talk about wood shrinkage. Your hardwood floors are the place where you’re mostly likely to see the problems associated with wood shrinkage, but old panel doors can also experience problems.  In floors, as the

Window condensation

Condensation on windows is a problem that I see a lot in the winter, and I see the damage from window condensation year round.  Here’s some information about the issue. Condensation will occur on a

Attic condensation

Water is your home’s number one enemy.  I’ve said that before, I’m saying it now, and I’ll say it again. Water in your attic can cause problems including mold growth, deterioration of the roof’s plywood

Request Inspection

More Posts You May Find Interesting

Don’t let your pipes freeze

February 7th, 2024|Comments Off on Don’t let your pipes freeze

I’ve heard the question many times: How low should I set my thermostat if I leave town in the winter, to save money but prevent my pipes from freezing? 65 °F?  60 °F?  50?  I

Wood shrinkage

January 16th, 2024|Comments Off on Wood shrinkage

Let’s talk about wood shrinkage. Your hardwood floors are the place where you’re mostly likely to see the problems associated with wood shrinkage, but old panel doors can also experience problems.  In floors, as the

Window condensation

January 10th, 2024|Comments Off on Window condensation

Condensation on windows is a problem that I see a lot in the winter, and I see the damage from window condensation year round.  Here’s some information about the issue. Condensation will occur on a

Attic condensation

January 8th, 2024|Comments Off on Attic condensation

Water is your home’s number one enemy.  I’ve said that before, I’m saying it now, and I’ll say it again. Water in your attic can cause problems including mold growth, deterioration of the roof’s plywood

Priorities

December 22nd, 2023|Comments Off on Priorities

Here’s a short quiz on energy efficiency priorities. Suppose you have two cars, and both get driven about the same number of miles.  One car is kind of old and only gets 20 miles per

Garage Fire Separation

December 18th, 2023|Comments Off on Garage Fire Separation

Separating the house from the garage against the spread of fire is an important part of home safety.  Here are some of the rules that the current version of the International Residential Code (2021) requires.