BuyersHome InspectionLocalTips May 3, 2023

Home Inspection 101: What to Know

Most buyers and sellers know that a home inspection can be a big part of the real estate process, but when it comes right down to it, do you know what to expect from one? By the end of this blog post, you will! We’re here to cover:

  1. What a home inspection actually is
  2. How to get set up with one if you need it
  3. How to find the right inspector for you
  4. How long it might take
  5. Other inspections you might want to consider
  6. What to do after your home inspection is complete

Let’s dive in!


What is a home inspection?

First, be sure you don’t confuse this with a home appraisal. Appraisals are often required by lenders to confirm that the agreed-upon price lines up with the property’s actual value. These may not find some of the serious issues you would want to know about as a buyer—or even as a seller!

A home inspection is a noninvasive exam of a property. It’s intended to give an idea of the condition of that property as well as bring to light any potential safety concerns. Remember, though, that it is noninvasive. Your inspector will not be opening up walls, for example, and may not even move things like furniture and rugs, which means that unfortunately they can’t be expected to catch everything. They should, however, check out attics, basements, crawl spaces, and so on in addition to rooms that get more everyday use.

Home inspections aren’t a part of every sale, but many buyers ask for a home inspection contingency in their offer to make sure there are no “deal breakers” before they go through with closing.


How do I get one?

Buyers who need a home inspection should weigh their local options before deciding which inspector to go with. (More on this in a bit.) But don’t take too long! There will be a set amount of time in your purchase agreement for you to complete the home inspection process. Keep your agent in the loop as you decide; they’re your best advocate and likely know most of your options in the area.

As a buyer, you would likely pay for and schedule the inspection. Some buyers may negotiate for the sellers to cover it in the purchase agreement, but it’s not always the way to go. Although home inspectors are, ideally, an objective third party, there’s peace of mind in knowing that they are working directly for you and in no one else’s interest.

Most inspectors are happy (and may even expect) to have buyers tag along for the inspection, and it’s a good idea to do so if you can. You can ask questions and get information in real time, along with getting a closer look at the property you’re about to invest in. Sellers should be careful to make sure the inspector can easily access the property to make everything go as smoothly as possible. That means making sure keys or a lockbox are ready to go, utilities are connected, and pilot lights are on if the property has been vacant while listed.

(Oh—and sellers, you can also get a pre-inspection before listing your property if you’d like to know what is likely to pop up and possibly address a few things ahead of time!)


How do I find the right inspector?


First things first: Ohio licenses home inspectors, so it is important to work with an inspector who holds a license issued by the Ohio Division of Real Estate and Professional Licensing. Next, look for certifications like InterNACHI (the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors) and ASHI (the American Society of Home Inspectors), which shows you they have official training in providing home inspections. You also want your inspector to be insured, experienced, and have a solid knowledge of local issues your property may face. These range from local pest populations to specific soil types that affect the settling of a home. Reviews, testimonials, and referrals are also usually reliable ways to learn more about an inspector.

Some home inspectors will be able to offer repairs and renovations, though there’s a chance they may see defects as the opportunity for more work—so be prepared to take their recommendations with a grain of salt.


How long does a home inspection take?

In terms of how long it takes from finding an inspector to getting the final report, expect anywhere from one to three weeks. Your purchase agreement should outline this very clearly. The day of, you can expect your actual inspection to range from two to three hours, though it could be more or less, depending on the size of the property and the shape it’s in. After the inspection is completed, you can usually expect the report to come from your inspector within a few days.


What other inspections should I consider?


A home inspection can be very broad. If you have specific concerns, there are other types of inspections that may be able to give you more detailed answers. For example, you may want to know more about:

  • The presence of radon
  • Wood destroying inspects
  • Mold and mildew concerns
  • Sewage and drainage
  • …and more!


What comes next?

When you receive your home inspection report, it will be broken down into different sections of your house. Be prepared to see lots of “defects” listed. A home inspector will note even the most minor things they notice—and that’s a good thing! However, it doesn’t mean everything they find is necessarily a concern. It’s important to note the difference between genuine hazards and inconveniences. In other words, “now” fixes and “later” fixes. An active leak is usually a “now” fix, as well as potential foundation issues. Some “later” fixes might include jiggly doorknobs and other superficial flaws that don’t pose a danger, though they may be unsightly or even somewhat annoying.

Now is the time to decide what you’ll do with the information in your report. Will you continue with the sale as planned? Do you feel the need to renegotiate terms like closing costs, overall price, or repairs that need to be made before closing? Is there anything concerning enough to warrant backing out of the deal completely?

If you choose to ask for repairs or changes, be sure to follow up to be sure that everything is on track for a timely closing. You may even need to set up a reinspection to confirm that your concerns have been addressed. Then, it’s time to get moved in and enjoy your new home!


Our trusted REALTORS® are standing by and ready to help you with your next real estate transaction! Reach out today to get started on your next purchase or sale.

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SpringTips April 17, 2023


For many households, spring cleaning is a ritual that marks the beginning of the warm weather months—and a fresh start after a winter holed up inside. You may be planning on cleaning out your closets, scrubbing out a few forgotten corners, and finally organizing the garage this year…but there are a few important spring maintenance tasks you may not have on your list. (Or maybe they are on your list, but always somehow land at the bottom.)


This year, we’ve got five often-overlooked spring maintenance tasks for you to put at the very top of your checklist. If you make these jobs a priority, they’ll make a big difference in keeping your home feeling clean and safe all year long. Stay with us all the way to the bottom for some bonus ideas you can read up on right here at!


Check out your garden hose and sprinkler system


Step one to keep any sprinkler system in top shape? Don’t use it too early! Remember that the ground where your system is buried may not be completely thawed, just because everything on the surface is. It’s a good idea to do a quick dig to make sure the soil is free of frost so you don’t damage your pipes by running water through them too soon.


Next, look for any debris like small rocks or dirt buildup that could affect the flow of water when you turn your system on. If any valves, nozzles, or sprinkler heads look damaged, now is the time to replace them! When you are ready to test the system, make sure the pressure is set to an acceptable range and open the main valve slowly to avoid an initial high-pressure surge that could damage your pipes and/or valves.


If you don’t have a sprinkler system, you probably still have a garden hose. Hopefully you emptied it and stored it inside over the winter, but if not, no problem! You can check now for any cracking or leaks and repair them with a patch kit. Ideally, you’ll store it out of direct sunlight during the warmer months to keep additional cracking to a minimum.


Give your windows a little extra attention


Window washing may already be on your list, but don’t forget to clean the window sills, tracks, and screens, as well. Aside from the nice appearance, clean tracks and sills may help keep pests away and discourage mold growth. And of course, screens do their job best when they are in good shape. 


To clean window and sliding door tracks:


  1. Vacuum out as much dry dirt and debris as you can
  2. Spray a cleaning solution and let it sit for a few minutes
  3. Use a small brush or sponge to clean out tough-to-reach spots
  4. Gently rinse the area, if needed, and wipe off the residue by hand with a cloth
  5. If you see any evidence of mold, call a professional!


To clean your screens:


  1. Remove them from the frame
  2. Use mild, soapy water and a cloth, sponge, or brush to gently scrub the screens
  3. Rinse your screens and dry them completely
  4. Replace the screens into your frames!


Clean out your major “cleaning” appliances


You may think your dish and clothes washers stay pretty clean because, well, that’s what they do. But these machines can actually get very dirty indeed, just from the sheer amount of use they get. Spring is the perfect time to give your major appliances a little TLC, so clean out your dishwasher filter, give the drain pump filter on your washing machine a good rinse, and do a deep clean of your dryer’s lint trap, exhaust hose, and outside vent.  


These chores take less time than you would think, and they help your appliances to run more efficiently and use less energy, possibly lowering your bills! In the case of your dryer, it can also avoid turning your home into a giant fire hazard. To get a full clean, wash out your machines with hot water and vinegar too or buy a dedicated cleaner to run through an empty cycle. 


Do some spring maintenance on your fireplace



Did you relax by a picturesque, roaring fire this winter? Then you’ll probably need to add your fireplace and chimney to the list. 


The fireplace is mostly a matter of elbow grease. If you choose to do it on your own, it can be a messy task, so lay out a covering and wear old clothes and a dust mask as you work! Wait until the fireplace is completely cooled after your last fire of the season and sweep the dust, soot, and ash into a bag or trash bin. Then use a brush attachment on your vacuum to remove any remaining bits from the corners and edges. Finish up with a deep scrub, but make sure you use a cleaning solution that’s suitable for your fireplace’s particular material.


Chimneys can be tricky—although you can maintain them yourself if you are comfortable. Regardless, they should be cleaned (or at least inspected) annually for safety.


Clear your gutters and downspouts


Clean gutters direct water away from your roof, house, and foundation. But unless they are cleared out during certain times of the year, leaves, dirt, and twigs can clog the system. That could lead to pooling and, eventually, water damage to your home. A good cleaning before the spring rains come in should keep everything flowing where it’s supposed to. 


After you empty any debris that has accumulated in the gutters, pour some water through the downspout to check for clogs. If the water doesn’t come out on the other side (or only trickles through), seal the top around your hose and turn it all the way on. The pressure should send your clog right out! If not, you can try removing it by hand or with a plumbing snake.


Want to know what else you can do?

These overlooked spring maintenance tasks may not be the first things you think of as a homeowner, but they’re an important part of keeping your home clean and safe throughout the year. For more spring upkeep ideas on your home, check out our guides to early spring lawn care, getting your air conditioner ready for action, and deciding whether your roof is due for a replacement or repair.