What home inspections should I get?

If you're looking to buy a home and are not sure which inspections to order, this could help!

When purchasing a new home, there are many critical decisions to make in a very short period of time. It is best to be prepared for them ahead of time, but if you are in a pinch, this guide could help make your decisions a little easier. 

Please note that our team is not composed of inspectors, and this is a basic guide to educate the consumer. Always refer to a licensed/qualified inspector before making your final decision.

There is a litany of inspections a homeowner can purchase (if the contract allows for an inspection period). However, here are the most common ones we see in standard residential purchases.

  1. Building
    1. A building inspection is a general "top-to-bottom" inspection that covers most general areas of the home, such as the condition of the roof, plumbing and electrical, basic building maintenance, foundation condition, and any potential red flags visible to the naked eye. As a very comprehensive overview of the home, we would recommend not skipping this at any time! 
    2. This report will typically indicate a range of items from those which are in urgent need of repair all the way to recommended regular maintenance items for informational purposes. 
    3. Building inspections are typically quite lengthy, depending on the size of the home, but rather affordable for all the information you receive!
  2. Termite
    1. A termite inspection is typically good for the review of all wood-destroying insects, not just termites (however, you should always check what insects are covered in the report). It is important to remember that a termite inspection will typically not cover evidence of other household pests (like wildlife, rodents, and other non-wood-destroying insects). 
    2. This report will indicate if there has been evidence of wood-destroying insects in the home (such as evidence of termite tubes, for example), what treatments have likely occurred, and the recommended treatments for future prevention.
    3. These inspections are rather quick and affordable. Due to the nature of the information in the report, it's highly recommended that you order one!
  3. Radon
    1. A radon gas inspection is very important for detecting evidence of radon levels in a home. The CDC tells us that "Radon is an odorless, invisible, radioactive gas naturally released from rocks, soil, and water. Radon can get into homes and buildings through small cracks or holes and build up in the air. Over time, breathing in high levels of radon can cause lung cancer." These gases can appear at any time, regardless of past inspection results.
    2. This report will indicate the radon levels in the home from safe to dangerous and may provide recommendations for radon mitigation, such as installing a radon mitigation system. 
    3. Considering these inspections are both quick and affordable, it's highly recommended that they are conducted whenever possible (especially on one-story homes). These tests are typically left in the home for a few days and picked up to register the results on a report. 
  4. Sewer Lateral
    1. Sewer lateral inspections are typically conducted by a sewer company and allow homeowners access to a recorded camera view of all the home's water and sewer lines from the stack all the way out to the street. 
    2. These reports will typically be digital/online reports which will include a video with the inspector's commentary and a written report with images and recommendations for any clogs, breaks, or other maintenance and repair items needed. These reports will often overlap some items in a building inspection, with much more comprehensive details and additional information which cannot be captured with the naked eye.
    3. While these inspections can be a bit time-consuming, they are still very affordable and come very highly recommended. 
  5. HVAC 
    1. HVAC inspections cover the heating and cooling systems of the home (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning). These inspections will test all heating and cooling systems for optimal functionality or potential threats. 
    2. These reports will indicate any malfunctions in the current HVAC systems and recommend any maintenance and repair items from urgent to informational only. These reports will often overlap some items in a building inspection with much more comprehensive detail.
    3. While these inspections can be a bit time-consuming, they are still very affordable and come highly recommended. 
  6. Chimney
    1. Chimney inspections are typically conducted by chimney cleaning companies and are not always a fit if the home does not have a fireplace. These inspections will record the current condition of any fireplaces/chimneys. 
    2. These reports will often overlap some items in a building inspection with much more comprehensive detail.
    3. Considering an unmaintained chimney can be a fire hazard if the home has a fireplace, these are highly recommended before any fireplace use occurs and should ideally be done regularly, even after taking residence.