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Home Inspections

December 15, 2009

Suppose you bought a house and later discovered, to your dismay, that the stucco exterior concealed a nasty case of dry rot. Or suppose that when you fired up the furnace in the winter, you discovered a cracked heat exchanger leaking gas into your home. The best way to avoid unpleasant surprises like these is to arrange for a home inspection before you buy.

You need to understand defects and disclosures before you evaluate the physical condition of the home you want to buy and decide how much you want to pay for it.


Pre-purchase home inspections target two kinds of defects: the kind you can see (a patent defect) and the kind you can’t see (a latent defect).

Patent defects are easy to spot: for example, water stains, ceiling cracks, sticky windows or sagging floors are patent defects. Latent defects are more elusive because they may be hidden: for example, faulty plumbing, asbestos ceilings or dry rot.

Some defects are trivial; others are more serious. An inspection can help you decide whether you need to act on the defects you find. Whether you are a buyer or seller, you’ll want to be sure to work out how all defects will be repaired or paid for during contract negotiations.


Disclosure is when a seller or real estate agent reveals a material fact about the physical condition of a property to a buyer.

A material fact is any information that can affect the price of the home or a buyer’s decision to purchase it at all, such as spring flooding in the basement or a highway project that will cut through the neighborhood.

Ohio Disclosure laws require a mandatory seller disclosure in the form of a questionnaire, Sellers can be held legally responsible for withholding information and not disclosing problems they are aware.

Finding an Inspector

Your real estate agent can recommend an experienced home inspector. We suggest that buyers choose an inspector who can provide proof of membership in the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI). While home inspection is fairly unregulated in most states, ASHI-certified inspectors meet stringent requirements and abide by a strong Code of Ethics.

Types of Inspection

A standard pre-purchase inspection covers a home’s major mechanical systems—electrical, plumbing, heating, and cooling—and its construction from roof to foundation, exterior to interior. Overall inspections do not cover soil, pools, wells, septic systems, building code violations or environmental hazards such as lead.

If you are a buyer, include an inspection contingency in your purchase contract; it should allow you up to two weeks to conduct an overall inspection plus any specialized inspections you (or your lender) require. Most inspections cost several hundred dollars. Specialized inspections usually involve an expert and can cost more. Remember, repairs or remedies are negotiable; they also can derail a deal.

Type of inspection What it covers Cost/who pays Remedies
Standard pre-purchase Overall home construction and condition, including major mechanical systems $200-$500; buyer Conduct further specialized inspections; repair
Wood damage
(required by many lenders; check with yours)
All wood portions of home (interior and exterior) $75-$200; negotiable Repair or replace damaged wood; treat for wood-destroying insects or organisms
(disclosure required on all homes built before 1978)
Presence of lead in paint, plumbing or other areas $400 for basic survey; negotiable Repair or replace affected areas
(disclosure of known elevated levels required)
Presence of naturally occurring radioactive gas $150 for basic survey; negotiable Seal foundation cracks, install a sump pump; ventilate basement or crawl space.
Environmental hazards
(asbestos, formaldehyde, petroleum, toxic chemicals)
Presence of any substance in building material, soil, water or air that poses a health risk Price varies; negotiable Remove hazardous material, such as asbestos, or source of danger, such as a buried oil tank.
Soil Condition of soil under and around foundation and retaining walls $300 to $2,000; negotiable Repair or treat problem

If you, or someone you know is considering Buying or Selling a Home in Columbus, Ohio please give us a call and we’d be happy to assist you!

The Opland Group Specializes in Real Estate Sales, Luxury Home Sales, Short Sales in;  Bexley  Columbus  Delaware  Downtown  Dublin  Gahanna  Grandview Heights  Granville  Grove City  Groveport  Hilliard  Lewis Center  New Albany  Pickerington  Polaris  Powell   Upper Arlington  Westerville  Worthington

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