What are Home Inspection Companies?

J.S. Metzker Erdemir

Before buying a new house or putting a house on the market, many people hire home inspection companies to assess their homes for damage and necessary repairs. Home inspectors check all aspects of the house from top to bottom. For example, they look for structural damage and weaknesses, roof and drainage problems, and electrical and plumbing issues. Most US states require home inspectors to be licensed and bonded.

Home inspection companies will check chimneys.
Home inspection companies will check chimneys.

Many homeowners and buyers choose to work with home inspection companies rather than independent inspectors. This is because companies require their home inspectors to be experienced and certified. Many home inspection companies have in-house training for their employees, as well as regular professional development. Home inspection companies can also offer guarantees on their inspections.

Home inspectors will check for proper drainage elements of a house, including downspouts.
Home inspectors will check for proper drainage elements of a house, including downspouts.

A home inspector’s report will include an evaluation of all parts of the home. The report should mention what is new or in good working order, as well as what needs repairs. The report should also include information about potential and future problems with the home, because this will help a buyer better assess future costs. While home inspection companies may recommend contractors for the repair work, they generally do not give estimates on repair costs.

Large cracks in a home's exterior could signal structural damage, or they may be cosmetic.
Large cracks in a home's exterior could signal structural damage, or they may be cosmetic.

Home inspection companies may be contacted by homeowners considering selling a house so that the owners can get an objective opinion on the condition of their home and set an accurate selling price. Home inspections are even done on newly-built houses to make sure there haven’t been any construction oversights. Most buyers also order home inspections before making a final agreement to purchase a house, and often sales are contingent on homeowners making some or all of the recommended repairs. Insurance companies usually order home inspections before offering homeowners’ insurance.

A home inspector is familiar with all aspects of home construction.
A home inspector is familiar with all aspects of home construction.

Home inspection companies check the exterior of a house for structural problems and damage. They look at the siding, foundation and framing, chimney, garage, and roof. An inspector’s examination of the interior includes non-cosmetic structural damage, and permanent fixtures such as bathtubs and toilets, sinks, and large appliances.

Inspection companies can point out problems with a home that may require repair work.
Inspection companies can point out problems with a home that may require repair work.

The inspector should also look for systemic problems in the plumbing, electricity, and heating and cooling systems. Parts of a property outside of the standard inspection, like outbuildings, pools, fencing, and gardens, may also be evaluated, but at additional cost. For an extra fee, many home inspection companies will check for environmental issues such as radon, water quality, and asbestos.

Home inspectors point out small items that could point to larger issues in the future.
Home inspectors point out small items that could point to larger issues in the future.

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