Home Inspections in NC Real Estate
Q&A With Michael Bowen, Nest Egg Home Services
What home inspections should every buyer start with when making a home purchase?
Every home buyer should start with a comprehensive inspection.  This includes an inspection of the 5 major systems of a house – roof, structure, HVAC, electrical, and plumbing systems.  A comprehensive inspection also includes the interior (doors, windows, flooring, etc), garage, fireplace, appliances, exterior, insulation, and ventilation.  This inspection is important because no matter the size of the house, that list of inspected components includes a lot of things that could pose a safety or function concern.  Having a professional inspection is a good way to identify repairs needed – some of which may be costly.  It provides the buyer some negotiating leverage as well. 
Do buyers purchasing new construction still need to get an inspection?
Yes.  Even on new construction, I recommend an inspection.  The first inspection to start would be to have a pre-drywall inspection. This is done after the framing, basic electrical wiring and plumbing pipes have been installed. It’s basically everything that will be hidden after insulation and drywall have been installed. A pre-drywall is the best and potentially only time to inspect the “inner” structure of the house. It is a chance to find damaged/misaligned wall studs and flooring/ceiling structure, improperly run electrical wiring and plumbing pipes.  A comprehensive inspection before closing is important for the reasons above.  Since most new construction includes a warranty, an 11 month warranty inspection is recommended. This is a chance to have a comprehensive inspection done before the 1 year warranty is up and the buyer has an opportunity to have the builder correct those items identified as an issue developed over the course of the past year of living.
Are there additional inspections a buyer may need?
Additional inspections can be useful for many things.  Radon testing is recommended in geographic areas susceptible to high levels (the Triangle area is such an area).  If organic growth is found – mold testing can help identify the type and how to mitigate.   Air quality testing is useful for families with breathing issues.  Septic inspections help identify issues with those private systems.  A sewer scope can identify issues with the sewer line flowing from the house to the public sewer lines – useful in any home purchase.  Water quality testing is useful – particularly with private well systems – to identify contaminants.  A termite (wood destroying organism) inspection is also important to identify any damage – this one is recommended with almost all home purchases.

When might a specialist like a structural engineer be needed?
A structural engineer will be recommended anytime there is damage found to the house structure that is significant beyond the repair for a regular contractor.  This may include when the structure shows signs of significant movement, damage to roof, ceiling, flooring structure. 


Should buyers attend the home inspection?
You can definitely attend your home inspection for any or all of it, but it is not necessary to attend.  You will receive a comprehensive report and have the opportunity to talk to the inspector after you have time to view the report.  The best time to attend is the last 30 minutes or so.  At that point, the inspection will be complete (or close to complete) and the inspector can provide a summary of findings. If you attend before the inspection is complete, allow the inspector to complete their work.  You want a thorough inspection and while questions for the inspector along the way during the inspection are appropriate, unrelated distractions can harm the inspection thoroughness. 

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