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Video:What Happens at a Home Inspection?

with Elizabeth Weintraub

Before you sign the dotted line, getting a home inspection is a crucial step in the home buying process. Here are some points you need to know about what you can expect from a good home inspection, and what should always be checked and disclosed.See Transcript

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Transcript:What Happens at a Home Inspection?

Hi, I'm Elizabeth Weintraub for About.com. Home buyers are told time and time again to get a home inspection. Even buyers who purchase a brand new home should get a home inspection because builders can make mistakes.

What Is a Home Inspection Report?

Home inspection report is used in purchase contracts and in buyer and broker agreement. What does home inspection disclose? A lot of people are clueless as to what the report means and whether defects reported are serious. Here is what you need to know.

Check the Home Inspector's License

Home Inspectors are not required to be licensed in many states, however inspectors can be certified by a home trade association. That means you need to take special precautions and make sure that you protect yourself. The easiest way to do that is to ask for a sample report. If the report is three or four pages long, it is quite likely that the home inspector is unqualified.

Look for a Toxic and Pest License

There is specific license required to identify pests like rodents and mold, and toxic elements in your house such as asbestos, lead, radiation.

Inspecting Structural Elements

Home inspection includes identification of structural elements such as walls, roof and foundation. An inspector completes an exterior evaluation of sidewalks, landscaping, fences and lighting systems.

All components of plumbing, electrical and heating, ventilation and central air units are checked.

In the kitchen, a home inspector checks the appliances, garbage disposal and, of course, the garbage.

Review the Service Report

Home inspection should be able to tell you the items you need to service. That would include a roof with short life expectancy, foundation problems or AC malfunctions. While home inspection gives you an evaluation of items, it does not list the price of the repair. For that, you need to consult and hire your own contractor and make sure your repairs are done properly.

Remember, no home is in perfect condition and all homes, regardless of how well they have been maintained, will have defects. It pays to find out which are costly repairs and which are not. Reward yourself for doing a home inspection.

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