What is a Building Inspection and Why Do I Need One?

Published On February 10, 2018 | By Dora Romero | Home improvement

A building inspection is an official purview and analysis of a structure by a licensed inspector.  Typically this B2 Lab inspector is someone employed by a city or a township or a county, and usually has some kind of certification in one or more disciplines that qualifies them to make professional judgments about whether or not a building meets city code requirements.  A building inspector can have certification in residential or commercial inspection—like plumbing, electrical, mechanical.  They can also have certification in another specialty which focuses in structures during its various stages of completion (as in: to be approved before it can be declared habitable, etc.)

Also, it is typical for a building inspector to charge a direct fee or a building permit fee.   Inspectors even have the ability to delay construction until an inspection has been completed and process has been approved.


If you are planning to buy a property—regardless of whether it is a residence or a business—you should always get a building inspection.  Here are a few reasons why:

  • Advanced knowledge of existing problems
  • Negotiation leverage
  • Specialist advice


When you have advanced knowledge of any existing problems, you will not be surprised by them when you move in.  It allows you to more accurately determine whether you want to purchase the property as it is and whether or not you are able to commit to addressing the existing problems in the future.  


At the same time, when you have advanced knowledge, you can also use that knowledge to gain some leverage in your price negotiations. For example, if the property does have some existing problems, you can argue for a price lower than the market value (since you will have to probably pay for the repair). Of course, the seller can also offer to fix the problems in order to retain their asking price.


It is not only important to understand what problems might exist now—and what it’s going to take to fix them—but you also want to know how these problems might affect the property over time.  If, for example, the foundation has rot, this structure will likely give out from under you sooner than it should.  This ensures that you not only get what pay for, but also what you are willing to pay more to work out later.

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