Sonya Dickinson | (540) 353-0123

The home inspection can be an exciting day for a buyer, but it can also be a source of anxiety. On one hand, you’ll get to walk around your new home with an expert who can give you good information about your investment. On the other, you might get an unwelcome surprise or two if the inspector finds problems with the home.

When it comes time to hire an inspector, I can recommend some professionals who work with buyers in the Roanoke Valley and Smith Mountain Lake areas, but the final choice is yours. If you have friends who’ve recently purchased a home, ask if they would recommend their inspector. Look at inspectors’ websites and see if they have reviews. Be sure to look for a certified home inspector. In Virginia, a home inspector can only claim certification if they’ve completed certain training requirements set forth by the state.

What the inspector examines can vary a little based on his or her training and the requirements of your mortgage. In general, according to the National Association of Home Inspectors, inspectors will look at these areas:

  • Exterior home site
  • Building foundation
  • Exterior home walls
  • Roof coverings, flashings and gutters
  • Roof support structure
  • Attic
  • Basement
  • Insulation quality
  • Garage
  • Electrical
  • Visible interior and exterior plumbing
  • Central air and heating system
  • Interior condition of the home

The home inspector will stay away from some things, too. This is a visual inspection, so underground plumbing or septic tanks aren’t included. Many home inspectors do some specialty testing for radon or other issues, but you’ll likely have to find someone else to do toxin and water testing or pest inspections. Any other exclusions will be specified in the inspection contract. If there are tests or inspections you need or want that the home inspector doesn’t do, I’ll help you find professionals who can perform those.

On the day of the inspection, we can accompany the home inspector on the walkthrough to get some real-time feedback. Be sure to block off plenty of time so you don’t feel rushed and you can stay for the whole inspection. Before we’re done, we’ll hear about anything that’s cause for alarm, with a formal report to follow detailing any problems that require attention. Remember, inspectors aren’t contractors, although some have that experience. Still, while they might be able to suggest some solutions or talk ballpark costs to fix something, their responsibilities end at reporting the issues they find.

Once we get the detailed report, the seller is responsible for repairs up to the amount specified in the sales contract. If there are other things that need attention, we’ll talk about the best approach to dealing with those items, whether it’s negotiating fixes with the seller or accepting responsibility for them yourself.  

Bottom line: The home inspection is just one more step on the journey to getting you into your house. Once it’s completed, you’ll be armed with even more information that will help you make the most of your new home.

I’d love the chance to answer questions you have about home inspections or any other step in the buying process. Call me at (540) 353-0123 or email me at Be sure to like my Facebook page.