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What should be covered in a residential home inspection?

It can take months for a New Jersey family to find its dream home. After endless days of searching online listings and countless visits to open houses, the members of a family may rejoice on the day that they locate a property that meets all of their requirements. When the right home is found, buyers may want to move as quickly as possible to secure it for themselves.

However, before a buyer takes possession of a new residence, that home must pass inspection. An inspection is an assessment of the home’s quality by an individual who understands what legally must be present in order for a home to pass local building codes. If a buyer purchases a home without an inspection, they take on any and all defects that exist therein. With an inspection, the burden of fixing problems in a property falls on the seller.

Because fixing a home that does not pass inspection can be costly, it is in a buyer’s interest to secure an inspection before they sign on the dotted line to purchase. The following list covers some of the items that an inspector may look for when they evaluate the condition of a residence.

  • The home’s foundation: The foundation of a house is the base structure on which the home rests. Foundations can take on different formats and designs based on the ground on which the home is built and whether the home has a basement. Cracks and damage to a home’s foundation may be signs of costly problems and potential code violations.
  • Internal structures and surfaces: A home inspector will look at the floors, walls, and ceilings of a home to ensure that they are stable and without defect. Signs of damage such as cracks, missing supports, sags, and other defects may indicate dangerous or pricey problems for buyers.
  • Plumbing and electrical systems: Without adequate plumbing and electricity, a home is not habitable. When an inspector does a walkthrough and evaluates these important residential systems, they will look for potential problems. Shoddy or incomplete plumbing and electrical work can result in floods and fires, two dangerous situations for homeowners.
  • The home’s roof: Just as the foundation of a home is its base, the roof of a home is a protective covering. Over time, rooves have to be replaced so that damage from water, wind, and other elements do not infiltrate the residence. It is important for a buyer to know if the roof of their prospective home is solid or if it will need to be replaced.

This list is incomplete and highlights only several of the important areas of inspection that should be undertaken before a buyer agrees to purchase a home. A real estate attorney can be an excellent source of information for a prospective buyer who may wish to negotiate inspection terms and fixes with a seller in order to come to an agreement for the purchase of a home. This post offers no legal or real estate advice and all individuals with residential real estate questions are advised to consult with trusted real estate lawyers.