What Is the Inspection Process for Buying a House?

If you’re looking to buy a home, getting a house inspection before buying a property is essential. Not only can a house inspection help you make a more informed decision, but it can also help you identify future issues. Additionally, they can guide repairs, give you leverage for negotiation through the homebuying process, and potentially save you thousands of dollars. While it’s necessary, the house inspection process can be complex. In this article, we’re breaking down the entire process. This way, you will know what to expect and how to prepare for it.

When Does the House Inspection Happen?

There are two types of house inspections: a seller’s inspection and a buyer’s inspection. Before putting their home up for sale, a seller can pay for a house inspection to tackle any issues beforehand. However, this article is discussing a buyer’s inspection. This is the house inspection before buying a property. This usually occurs after a buyer’s offer on the house has been accepted and before the sale is closed. Homebuyers have a short period to inspect the property, renegotiate, and request repairs. Most house inspections are contingencies in purchase contracts.

What to Expect From the House Inspection Process

The house inspection process allows you to discover more about the house you’re purchasing. At the time of the inspection, you’ve likely only been in the house a few times. House inspections allow you to do your due diligence. You can make sure there are no severe defects to worry about later.

Length of the House Inspection Process

A house inspection usually only takes a few hours. An average-sized house takes about 2-4 hours to inspect thoroughly. The inspector you’ve chosen will look at the different components of the house and judge their safety. Depending on the size of the house, it may take longer than a few hours. After the physical inspection, it usually takes about 3-4 days for the inspector to send over a report. This report details their observations of safety issues.

House Inspection Checklist

According to the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI), a house inspection report will include the condition of the following:

  • The heating system
  • The central air conditioning system (depending on the temperature)
  • The interior plumbing system
  • The electrical system
  • The roof
  • The attic and visible insulation
  • Walls
  • Windows
  • Doors
  • Ceilings
  • Foundation
  • Structural components
  • Basement

Number of and Types of Defects

It’s normal for the house inspection process to uncover numerous defects. Many homebuyers get caught up in the number of defects found. However, no house is perfect. Defects are expected, especially if the house is older. Instead, what you should focus on is the types of defects discovered. Instead of focusing on the list of problems, determine whether the problems are severe. Loose doorknobs, for example, aren’t a severe problem, while structural issues like a weakened foundation are.

Presence During the Inspection

Many homebuyers wonder whether they need to be present during the inspection. While this isn’t necessary, many realtors recommend it. This way, you can interact with the home inspector. You can also look around the house you’re about to buy and ask the questions on your mind. This will help clarify any confusion about potential safety issues and will give you a more thorough understanding of your future house and the potential repairs it may need.


Another common question is whether the homebuyer or the seller pays for the house inspection. In most cases, the responsibility of the payment falls on the homebuyer. While sellers may perform their own inspection, buyers should always conduct a third-party house inspection before purchasing a property.

In competitive markets, some buyers forego the option to close a sale quickly. Other buyers do not want to pay for the added expense. However, since an inspection can uncover thousands of dollars’ worth of issues in repairs and can aid in negotiation, this cost pays back dividends. You should always arrange for your own inspection (and find your own house inspector), so you have a third-party-inspected report you can  use in the future.

What Happens After the House Inspection Is Completed?

After the house inspection, it may take a few days to prepare a report detailing the findings. As a homebuyer, you should go over this inspection report with your real estate agent. They can help you determine whether you want to proceed with the sale.

If you’re going ahead with the sale, you can use the report to your advantage and negotiate with the seller. They can either take care of some of the necessary repairs or lower the price of the house accordingly. While some issues are minor, others are more serious and costly. These include leaks, mold, and electrical issues. An experienced realtor can help you through these negotiations and ensure you get the best deal possible.

Whether the seller takes care of the repairs, or you accept a lower purchasing price, your home inspection report will be helpful when tackling these repairs.

It’s also important to note that a house inspection is based on safety standards. Therefore, you shouldn’t go into it expecting the home inspector to point out cosmetic faults. For example, peeling paint isn’t something you should expect to find in your report. However, if the paint indicates a problem with leaks, it will be.

Robert DeFalco Realty’s Top Realtors Can Help You Find Your Dream Home

The house inspection process is a complicated one. However, it’s only one of the many steps you must go through in the homebuying process. We understand that the process can get overwhelming at times. That’s why it’s so helpful to have a professional guide you through it. At Robert DeFalco Realty, our buyer’s agents can help you with everything that comes with buying a house. From narrowing down neighborhoods to negotiating the best price, our experienced real estate agents can help you secure your dream home.

We have offices throughout New York, including our main office in Staten Island. You can also call us at 718-987-9700 or reach out to us here for help with all of your real estate needs.