In Missouri, real estate agents pay close attention to who buyers hire to inspect homes because the state does not regulate home inspections. Inspectors are not licensed and they don’t need any training to run home inspection businesses. They do need to follow fair trade and consumer protection guidelines.
However, buyers getting loans need to have the home inspected. Government-backed loans, such as VA and FHA loans, have stringent guidelines for home purchases. Lenders of conventional loans also require a house to be structurally sound and free of hazards like asbestos and lead-based paint. The buyer’s lender might have a checklist of items to be inspected. In Missouri, home inspections focus on five areas:
Large cracks in the foundation might mean there are structural issues with a house. A home inspector will walk around the outside of the house looking for cracks and problems with the way the ground has settled around the foundation. Inside, they will look for wet basements and sloping floors. If there is a crawl space, they will go in and look for moisture, mold, and decaying wood supports.
The inspector looks for leaks and damaged or loose shingles and estimates the age of the roof. Some inspectors get on the roof and others inspect it from a ladder. The roof inspection also includes assessing the condition of gutters, vents, flashing, and attic ventilation.
To pass the inspection for a government-backed loan, the roof must be expected to last at least two more years. The FHA requires a new roof if it needs repairs and has three or more layers of shingles.
An inspection of the plumbing system includes pipes throughout the house plus bathrooms, the kitchen, and spigots. The inspector looks for leaks, corrosion, and cracks. If the seller has fixed plumbing problems themselves and the inspector knows it, that will be noted in the inspection report.
If a sink, toilet, or bathtub has been leaking, there might be evidence on the walls, floor, or ceiling. The inspector will search for where the leaks are coming from and note it on the report.
4. Electrical systems
Inspectors examine the electrical panel to see if there are exposed or frayed wires and if the system is up-to-code. For government-backed loans, switches and outlets must work throughout the house. In old houses, inspectors see whether knob and tube wiring is present or has been replaced.
5. Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning.
Every buyer wants to know whether the heating and air conditioning are in good shape because replacing a furnace costs big bucks. The inspection is simple if everything runs well. The inspector turns on the heat and A/C upon arrival and waits for them to run through their cycles.
A home inspector also looks at windows, doors, the attic, insulation, the basement, and safety hazards like pest infestations, radon, and mold. Home inspections typically do not include cosmetic defects like landscaping, appliances, paint, and wallpaper.