How Do Home Inspections Work?

A home inspector checks out a faucet.
Tips for understanding what’s next in the home buying/selling process.

In most cases, the purchase of a home will be accompanied by a home inspection. The purchase agreement will dictate the amount of time a buyer has to perform their due diligence and the lengths at which they can go to inspect the home (all negotiable). Sellers should be prepared for a variety of inspections that can span over the course of days (or even weeks).

A general home inspection is a visual inspection of the operating systems from the roof to the foundation and everything in between. Buyers should attend their home inspection and use it as an opportunity to learn about the home and its operating systems.

Using a camera, a chimney inspection is performed by a specialist to inspect for areas of deterioration. The brick, mortar, chimney cap, firebox, smoke chamber and flue are given a thorough examination both inside and out to detect any potential safety hazards.

Homeowners are responsible for their drain line from its exit from the home to the connection with the city sewer. Mandated in some cities, a drain inspection is performed by a specialist to detect for cracks, sags, tree roots and other potential issues that could cause costly complications down the road.

A 48-hour rapid test is performed during an inspection period to measure for high levels of radon, a naturally occurring radioactive gas that is the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers. Mitigation is recommended when levels test above 3.9 pCi/L.

Sarah Schaffer is an Edina based realtor with Fox Homes.