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Types of Home Inspections

Types of Inspections

When purchasing a home there are many decisions which have to be made including: purchase price, closing date, type of loan, etc. However, one of the most crucial decisions is what types of inspections you will have (or not have). There are many types of inspections to consider and it’s important to know what their purpose is and whether you should consider having that type of inspection done or not. With the help of Home Standards Inspection Services based in Omaha, we will provide you with detailed information on each type of inspection. The main inspections that you can choose from are: whole home, radon, mold, structural, septic system, well and lead based paint inspection.

Importance of Home Inspections by Home Standards

Pre-Inspections for Sellers

Home inspections are also not only beneficial for just buyers. Sellers can also have their home pre-inspected before putting it on the market. One advantage to this is that they are able to see items that need to be fixed and take care of it before buyers even see the home. This can save them money as often times many requested items from buyers are things that your average seller can take care of themselves as once a buyer request them post home inspection they are almost always going to require them to be completed by a licensed professional which can cost more money.

Pre-Inspections for Sellers by Home Standards

Whole Home Inspection

The first and most well-known is the standard Whole Home Inspection. As the name states this type of inspection is recommended on any home purchase even on homes that are being sold “As-Is” as it will give you an in-depth look at the entire home from top to bottom and they make sure to point out current or potential items that can be dangerous or items that could potentially need fixed. In this type of inspection the home inspector looks at the exterior including the roof, chimneys, gutters, siding, windows, driveway, patios, balconies, window wells, exterior outlets, air conditioning unit and the garage/garage door(s). On the interior they are looking at every room including appliances, outlets, toilets/sinks and other plumbing issues, windows, smoke detectors, stairs/railings, exhaust fans, drywall issues, foundation issues in basements, electrical breaker panels, water heaters, furnaces and more.

Radon Inspection

The next inspection that buyers often request is a radon inspection. According to The Home Standards Inspection website, “Radon is an odorless gas that occurs from the natural breakdown of uranium in soil, rock and water. The release of this radioactive gas enters the air you breathe, causing a potential health risk.” Often times radon can be found in basements and garages as it comes in through cracks in the foundation or any other gaps providing entry into the home. Radon levels are measured in picocuries and a radon level above 4.0 picocuries is considered harmful by the EPA and requires mitigation including the installation of a radon mitigation system. It is usually recommended getting a radon test during the home inspection period if the home has a basement and especially if the basement will be used as a regular living area. A radon test/inspection normally costs between $75-125 while radon mitigation can cost on average between $750-1200 depending on how much work is needed to properly vent the home.

Mold Inspection

Another popular inspection is a mold inspection. Mold is fungi that grows in a moist environment and contains spores that can grow and spread on surfaces such as carpet, drywall and wood baseboards. It is important to keep those areas clear of moisture and if they do get wet to dry as soon as possible. Often times mold can be found in areas where there was severe water damage such as a basement that has flooded. Mold and mildew have a distinct smell and if when viewing a home you smell the potential for mold or see mold it can be a good idea to get it professionally inspected and tested. Remediating mold can be expensive and depending on the house it might not be worth the investment if you find out it is full of mold prior to purchasing. To test for mold they can complete either an air sample or product sample. A mold inspection can cost on average between $300-600 depending on which test is completed.

Structural Inspection

One of the less requested inspections is a structural inspection. This is usually requested if it is recommended by a home inspector or if you see any major cracks in the foundation or the walls in addition to bowing of walls. A structural engineer is the type of person who completes this inspection. The cost of this inspection varies by the structural engineer and the scope of work to provide all necessary reports on the structure.

Septic Tank Inspection

For rural or acreage properties it is common to see requests for a septic system or well inspection. According to Van Delden On-Site Wastewater Systems, a septic system inspection can be completed in two ways: a visual inspection or a full inspection. A visual inspection is exactly what it sounds like - they visually inspect the septic tank and this is normally completed by the regular home inspector. The downside to only performing a visual inspection is that many items can be missed. A full inspection goes much more in depth as they completely open the tank and can view the water levels inside along with the size of the tank. The septic tank size will vary based on the size of the house and the number of drains running into the tank. Once the water levels have been viewed they can then pump the tank to check the back flow into the absorption area (where the water flows after exiting the tank). A septic tank inspection can cost on average between $100-300 while a tank pump can cost on average between $250-500 depending on the size of the tank.

Well Inspection

A well inspection is something that should be done early but is also important when purchasing a home especially in case the previous homeowner did not perform regular checks. According to Josic Media, a well inspection includes a check of the equipment, a flow test to measure water output and pump performance along with a water test for contaminants. A well test can cost on average $150-300 depending on the scope of work completed. 

Lead Based Paint Inspection

The final type of inspection we will cover is a lead based paint inspection. Any home that was built before 1978 there was a chance that lead based paint was used. A lead based paint inspection can be beneficial if there are small children going to be living in the home and there is still paint on the exterior or interior from before 1978. Homeowners living in a home that was built prior to 1978 and would like to sell are required by law to fill out a lead based paint disclosure indicating whether or not they have reports or knowledge of lead based paint on the property. To ensure that there is not any paint still an inspection can be completed where they examine all surface areas for lead. According to the EPA, only certified inspectors can perform these inspections. It can also be a good idea to have your home inspected prior to doing any major remodels as construction can cause particles of lead to be distributed through a home and contaminating other areas. When purchasing a home, buyers have a 10 day window in which they can have a home inspected for lead based paint otherwise they can waive this window for inspection. This is not available for rentals but rental companies are still required to provide a filled out lead based paint disclosure. For more information on lead based paint please visit the EPA website. The cost for a professional lead based paint inspection is on average between $200-600 depending on the square footage of the home being inspected.

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Sarah Pierce

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