Home Inspections

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Real Estate

All About The Inspection

If you're new to real estate, you may have heard the term 'inspection' but may not know what it means. While not mandatory, a home inspection is an important step in the home buying process and should not be avoided if possible. Below you'll find more information on home inspections and what they entail.

What is the home inspection?

An inspection is defined as an assessment "of the property's condition, including its heating and cooling systems, plumbing, electrical work, water, and sewage, as well as some fire and safety issues" (Investopedia). An inspection is performed by a home inspector; depending on where you live, the inspector may or may not be licensed or certified. In Michigan, inspectors are not currently required to be licensed. It’s recommended that the inspector have liability insurance and certification through a reputable training association such as ASHI.

The inspection is generally done at the request of the buyer or a condition of the property sale. The party that pays for the inspection is decided upon by the buyer and seller.


What does the inspection cover?

A traditional/standard home inspection consists of a visual inspection of all readily accessible parts/areas of the home. These generally include:

Structural and exterior components
Electrical panel
Plumbing (of which is accessible)
Heating and cooling systems
Major appliances (oven, fridge, dishwasher, etc.)
Fireplaces and/or wood stoves
Windows and doors
An inspector will spend the majority of the time looking for issues that could impact the integrity of the property. The time it takes for the inspection depends on the size of the home and if there are any obstacles in the way for the inspector. 

Is an inspection necessary?

An inspection is not necessary for a property sale, but it is highly advised that anyone buying a property have at least one inspection done before the sale is final. Many believe that an inspection is required for a mortgage loan - this is a myth: an inspection is not a requirement for a mortgage loan. Some mix up an inspection with an appraisal - an appraisal gives a dollar value to a home; an inspection points out the issues and flaws within the home. An inspection is an excellent tool for any buyer to get a bigger picture into their potential new property.

What does it not cover?

A standard inspection can be pretty thorough, but it doesn’t cover every aspect of a property. Things that are generally not included in a typical inspection are:

Conditions within walls
Hazardous materials
Items attached to the roof (solar panels, antennas, etc.)
Sewer or septic systems
Detailed electrical items
Swimming pools or hot tubs
Geological issues

An inspector will spend time visually inspecting the property, but they will not tear apart walls, dig up the ground, or do anything beyond general inspection.

Are there other kinds of inspections?

Again, a standard inspection can be pretty thorough, but it's not going to cover every issue a property may have. For this reason, there are other inspections a buyer can do on top of a basic inspection. These include:

Radon testing
Hazardous materials (lead, asbestos, etc.) testing
Mold testing
Foundation inspection
Septic/Sewer inspection
HVAC inspection
Crawlspace inspection
Advanced electrical inspection
Pest inspection
Many more

Buying a home is a big event - you don't want to get to the finish line, sign the papers, and then realize your new home isn't at its best. If you can, get an inspection. Some sellers sell with the stipulation of "sold as is" - if this is the case for your new property, you can still have an inspection done, it just may not impact the terms of the sale. The bottom line: make it a point to have an inspection performed to know what you're getting into with your new home.


As an experienced Realtor, I can guide both buyers and sellers through the inspection process. Reach out to me with any questions you may have.