Home ยป Understanding the Role of a Home Inspector in Atlanta’s Buying Process

Understanding the Role of a Home Inspector in Atlanta’s Buying Process

by Uneeb Khan
home inspector

Purchasing a home is one of the biggest financial decisions you’ll make in your life. When house hunting in Atlanta, it’s essential to have a professional home inspector examine the property before you close on it. A home inspection allows you to learn about the condition of the home and potentially uncover issues that could cost you thousands down the road. Knowing what to expect from a home inspection and inspector can give you greater confidence through the home-buying process.

What is a Home Inspector?

A home inspector is a trained professional who thoroughly examines the physical condition of a home. They look at the structure, construction, and systems of the house to identify any material defects or safety hazards. In Georgia, individuals must obtain a license and adhere to a strict code of ethics to become inspectors. People regard these individuals as unbiased third parties who provide objective insights into the condition of a home.

What Does an Inspector Check During an Inspection?

A standard home inspection examines the following areas of a house:

  • Foundation – Checks for cracks, moisture issues, grading problems
  • Framing – Inspects walls, ceilings, and attics for structural issues
  • Roof – Evaluates roof age, condition of shingles, flashing, vents
  • Plumbing – Tests water pressure, functionality of fixtures, pipes, water heater
  • Electrical – Checks wiring, panel, outlets, switches, and fixture functionality
  • HVAC – Tests heating, central air, thermostats, and ductwork for proper operation
  • Appliances – Confirms appliances are working properly
  • Interior – Check floors, walls, ceilings, windows, and doors for damage
  • Exterior – Examines siding, paint, decks, patios, and drainage for issues
  • Site Conditions – Reviews grade, drainage around house, vegetation, and landscaping
  • Garage – Checks garage door function, fire separation, ventilation

A home inspector in Atlanta will also be on the lookout for any visible moisture issues, potential safety hazards like tripping risks, and overall workmanship and maintenance issues.

What is NOT Included in a Home Inspection?

While home inspectors undertake a comprehensive examination of the property, there are limitations to what they can assess:

  • They do not do any destructive testing – walls or floors will not be opened up
  • They do not inspect areas they cannot access such as inside walls and under the house
  • They do not assess engineering, architectural, or environmental concerns
  • They do not test for mold, asbestos, lead paint, or wood-destroying insects
  • They do not evaluate cosmetic flaws or inspect items like security systems

It’s important to understand that an inspection is a visual examination of accessible areas. Additional inspections may be recommended by the inspector if they notice any areas of concern.

When Should a Home Inspection Occur?

Ideally, after accepting their offer, a buyer should have a home inspection done but before closing. This will allow them time to address any identified repair needs with the sellers or renegotiate the contract if serious undisclosed problems are discovered.

In Atlanta, it’s not unusual for buyers to include an inspection contingency clause when they submit their offer. This makes the sale contingent on the buyer’s satisfaction with the inspection results within a stated timeframe, usually 7-10 days. The clause gives the buyer the ability to ask for repairs, and credits, or walk away if issues arise.

If you waive the inspection contingency, you take on greater risk so be certain you’re comfortable with the condition before doing so.

What to Expect During the Home Inspection

On the day of the inspection, the inspector will walk through the property taking photographs and notes. For a typical single-family home, an inspection takes 2-3 hours. As they work, inspectors will:

  • Examine the roof, exterior, grading, vegetation, sidewalks, patios, and drainage
  • Look in the attic and crawl spaces
  • Operate systems like the furnace, AC unit, water heater, appliances
  • Run water and test outlets
  • Flush toilets, tubs and showers
  • Check ceilings, walls, floors, and windows inside
  • Inspect the garage, foundation, and where possible, under the home

Encourage the inspector to accompany you during the inspection and ask any questions. Be sure to point out any past problems or concerns you may have noticed while viewing the property.

What to Do After the Inspection

The inspector will provide a detailed report of their findings from the inspection. You’ll want to review this closely, asking your real estate agent or the inspector to clarify anything you’re unsure about.

If there are no major concerns, you may proceed with the closing once you’ve had time to review the report thoroughly. They will have time to address any identified repair needs with the sellers or renegotiate the contract if they discover serious undisclosed problems. Your real estate agent can advise you on the best approach.

For minor fixes you’re comfortable undertaking yourself, you may just want to document these and proceed with closing. You should address anything that could be an expensive repair or indicate a larger issue before completing the purchase.

The Bottom Line

Having a home professionally inspected before you close is crucial. An inspector’s expert evaluation can potentially save you from buying a money pit. Paying a few hundred dollars upfront provides you with objective insights into thousands of dollars of future repair and maintenance costs. Understanding what home inspectors look for and how they conduct inspections gives you greater confidence during the home-buying process in Atlanta. Partnering with a trusted real estate agent and home inspector can help make your purchase experience smooth and successful.

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