You may be the buyer, or you may be the seller. In either case, you are likely about to experience a home inspection.

If you’ve bought or sold a home before, this article will serve as a review. But if this is your first time, consider this article a primer on what to expect.

As we have written here in the past, if you are the buyer, you want a home inspection to be more certain about what you are purchasing. An inspection will help determine if there are issues with the home. Sometimes, issues that are found can result in changing the price of the home or even with the buyer walking away from the deal.

We have also written here before about the pre-listing inspection. This is done by the seller in advance of putting the home on the market. Information from this inspection can help the seller decide whether it is in their best interest to either make repairs or adjust the asking price and telling any prospective buyers about the issues.

So, we start with what the inspection is. Simply put, it is an assessment of the home’s physical structure. The inspector will examine the roof, ceilings, walls, floors, windows and doors. The inspector will also include an examination of the HVAC, plumbing and electrical systems. If there’s an attic or basement, those will be examined as well.

Obviously, in the case of a pre-listing inspection, the seller would hire the home inspector. In all other cases, it is generally the buyer who hires the inspector. If you’re not certain who to hire, your Realtor or agent may be able to make a suggestion. You certainly want a licensed professional handling the inspection.

The cost of a home inspection will vary based on a number of factors, including the size of the home and the type of inspection. You can see the pricing from Informed Inspection here in our website.

The inspection can take several hours. It is not necessary for the buyer or seller to be present during the inspection, and it often runs more smoothly if they’re not.

Once the inspection is completed, the inspector will provide a report for whoever did the hiring – the buyer or seller.

At Informed Inspection, we provide both a summary report and a full report.

The summary report can be as small as two pages. It will identify the home and include a legend for any suggestions, issues or concerns, the second page will have brief summaries of each of the areas inspected and will refer back to the legend. For example, if something poses a safety hazard, major defect, minor defect or is in need of evaluation by a specialist, it will be noted.

The full report will be several pages long. It will include a general summary of the home and surrounding grounds, as well as extensive, detailed summaries of each area that was inspected.  It will also include pictures when it is appropriate or necessary to illustrate any issues of concern.

You can see examples of the two types of inspection reports here.

As either the buyer or seller, with this report you can make accurate decisions about how and if you want to move forward. It is vital to have all the information. As it is often said, this is likely one of the biggest decisions of your life.