The condition of real estate is different in every situation. To protect yourself when making such a substantial investment, it is important to have a thorough inspection by a trained professional. Make your offer to purchase a property contingent on a satisfactory property inspection, and you will avoid investing in a money pit.

What exactly is considered “satisfactory”? Any structure containing wood should have a pest inspection, where the inspector looks for evidence of damage caused by termites, mice, carpenter ants, or other pests. This inspection is separate from that done by the property inspector.

Your property inspector should focus on every mechanical and structural aspect of the property. They will look for substantial cracks in the foundation, levelness of the structure, and moisture in the basement. Water penetration is evident when there is mold, mildew, or efflorescence – a white powder that shows where water has penetrated. High tech inspectors use lasers to see if the things are level and for residential structures they would use specialized radon gas meters to determine if there is a radon gas issue.

The structure of the property is closely inspected. structures rest on top of a foundation. Floors have been installed on top of this foundation, and it needs to be inspected to ensure that proper materials have been used. Next, the walls might have improper framing or possible damage from water. Electrical and plumbing systems lie within the walls, and where possible, these interior systems are inspected for wear, out-of-code construction, and damage. Pipes are inspected for leaks or chemical concerns such as lead or rust. Some home inspectors test the water pressure and flow rate of the property.

The property’s electrical system is completely inspected. The inspector looks for uncovered switches or outlets, incorrect wiring, insufficient grounding, faulty circuit breakers, or unsatisfactory GFCI trips.

Once in the attic, the inspector should check for water damage and air leaks. The framing is looked at to ensure that it is strong. The underside of the roof is inspected for a good seal where vent pipes go through the roof.

On the roof, the inspector examines it for holes, loose shingles or tile, poor flashing, or any other concern that might cause the roof to not hold up against the elements.

Heating and air-conditioning systems are inspected for adequate flow, duct leaks, and filter condition. Outdoor faucets are tested to be sure they work and don’t leak or have inadequate water flow.

All appliances in a residential property included with the sale of the property are examined. The hot water heater, stove, wood stoves, and any other built-in units are check for proper function and standards compliance.

All of this information is compiled in the comprehensive inspection report that is available to the individual or company that paid for the inspection. Inspections benefit the buyer because they can use issues with the property as bargaining chips during negotiations.

The property inspection is also beneficial to the seller because they then get an honest assessment of the condition of their property and can make improvements to some items before putting their property up for sale.

The property inspection is one area where a few hundred dollars spent often saves thousands of dollars during the purchase process.