First-time buyers: Questions about inspections?

We’ve written in the past about some questions that most first-time buyers have, and this will be the second in an occasional series that will answer many common questions from new buyers. If you’ve got a question — from the perspective of a first-time buyer, a first-time seller, or anywhere on the buying and selling spectrum — leave it for us in the comments and we’ll be sure to post an answer.

To today’s topic: inspections. Most buyers want to know which type of inspections they should conduct, and there are a few different versions of the answer, depending on the type of property being purchased.

If you’ve found the single-family home of your dreams, the answer is pretty standard: you should conduct, at a minimum, a general contractor’s inspection and a wood-destroying pest inspection.

The general inspection covers all the systems of the home. The short list of systems inspected includes the foundation, plumbing, gas, electrical, windows, walls, and the roof. A couple of things to note: this inspector is not a licensed structural engineer, so his or her evaluation of the foundation will not be exhaustive. The report will give a general opinion about the condition of the systems and if the inspector thinks there’s a condition that warrants a closer look by a specialist, he or she will recommend further inspections.

The pest inspection looks for any wood-destroying organisms: dry rot, beetles, fungus, and termites (oh my!), for example. The report will call out specific areas of damage as well as the cost to fix them.

Now, if your dream home is a condo in a small building — up to, say, six units — you will likely conduct these same two inspections. Once you get into larger condo buildings, it can still make sense to conduct a general property inspection, but the pest inspection might not even be possible (the homeowner’s association must give consent for this inspection).

If you’ve got any questions about inspections, we’ll answer them for you!

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