What Is the 10-day Home Inspection?

A certified home inspector knows where to look for potential problems.

A certified home inspector knows where to look for potential problems.

Purchasing a new house is exhilarating, yet scary. Although the house may appear sound inside and out, hidden dangers may lurk in places like the electrical system, plumbing and insulation. The contract's 10-day home inspection clause is the safeguard a home buyer needs to ensure peace of mind regarding the integrity of the structure. Though optional, a savvy buyer will jump on this opportunity for a top-to-bottom home inspection prior to closing.


A real estate contract may include a 10 day inspection contingency, during which time the buyer is allowed to have the property inspected to reveal any potential issues that could void the contract.

Home Inspection Time Frame

Once you actually sign a contract to purchase a house, there is a specified time frame for completing a home inspection. Depending on the contract, it might be a 10-day period, hence the term "10-day home inspection." Check your contract carefully to be sure exactly how many days you have for the inspection to be completed.

It is the buyer's responsibility to schedule the inspection and pay for it. Based on the results of the inspection, the buyer has an opportunity to renegotiate the price, request repairs or even cancel the contract.

What Inspections Include

A certified home inspector is an objective party trained to thoroughly inspect the house and test all its systems from the foundation to the roof. This includes electrical, plumbing and HVAC systems, as well as appliances included in the sale. It also covers structural components of the home, including walls, crawl spaces, attics, windows and doors. Systems and structures outside the home, such as sprinklers and storage buildings, can be included in the inspection.

The trained eye of a licensed inspector sees issues not easily apparent during a walk-through. A report is presented after the inspection which may range from a single page to 20 pages – or more. A thorough inspection will require anywhere from two to four hours.

Why Have a Home Inspection?

The reason for a home inspection is simple: it protects the buyer from purchasing a house with potential problems that need attention. Many flaws are not obvious to a casual observer.

Perhaps, for example, the drainage system around the house is faulty and leads to a flooded basement during a heavy rain. While viewing the house you turn on lights and electrical appliances ensuring proper function. But you might not know that when you turn on several appliances at one time, the breakers flip because the system overloads. Not knowing these issues exist prior to closing can quickly turn your dream home into a recurring nightmare.

How to Find a Licensed Inspector

Securing a home inspection by a licensed individual is not difficult. Survey any friends, family or co-workers who have recently purchased a house and solicit recommendations. Contact the local homebuilders association for a list of licensed inspectors in the area. Industry or trade associations, such as the American Society of Home Inspectors, are a good source of referrals; ASHI's website also includes information regarding certification requirements in each state.

Since an inspection must be completed within a limited time, assemble a list of potential inspectors prior to making an offer on a home. This way you are ready to schedule an appointment immediately following the contract signing. With a 10-day home inspection period, time is of the essence.

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About the Author

Cindy Phillips began writing feature articles in 2007 with her work appearing in several regional newspapers. With more than 30 years experience in the corporate arena, her business expertise includes all aspects of marketing and management. Phillips earned a Bachelor of Arts in English education from SUNY New Paltz.

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