The home inspection: it’s the buyer’s best opportunity to uncover a home’s problems and negotiate to have them repaired or paid for (as long as the contract has an inspection contingency in place). If you’ve never experienced this process, though, you’re probably wondering what to expect from a home inspection.

How much will it cost? How does it protect your real estate investment? Do you need an inspection before buying a home?

We’ve got answers.

In this blog, we’ll discuss what to expect from a home inspection as either the seller or buyer.

Let’s dive in.

What to Expect From a Home Inspection? 3 Key Features

As a home buyer, a home inspection is the last chance to identify existing defects in the house (and negotiate to resolve them) before finalizing the purchase of the home.

As a seller, a home inspection ensures the good condition of the home you’re selling or planning to sell. With that in mind, it’s reasonable to wonder what the inspector will be looking for.

Here are the three key features of a routine home inspection:

  1. A home inspector will inspect the inside and outside of the home. This includes the HVAC system, plumbing, electrical wiring and panels, structural components, roof, and foundation. The inspector will create a written report that details the inspection results.

  2. The inspection takes about 2-4 hours. Inspections can be longer or shorter depending on the size of the house, the number of defects, the thoroughness of the inspector, and the accessibility of certain home elements (like the attic, for example). Still, most take between 2-4 hours. The best inspectors will deliver your finished inspection report the same day.

  3. Buyers can choose to attend the inspection. While not all buyers choose to participate in the inspection, some want to learn more about the home and ask questions during the inspection process.

When the inspector issues their full report, you can expect it to include pictures and videos of the home’s defects listed under a separate tab for easy reading. Usually, most defects listed are minor and may not even need to be fixed before the sale.

Instead of worrying about minor defects, we recommend focusing on the home’s more severe issues, which you may need to repair before the sale.

What do Home Inspectors Look for?

Home inspectors have a long list of elements they inspect, as set forth by the International Association of Certified Home Inspection (InterNACHI):

Here are the twelve inspection categories certified home inspectors will review:

  1. The home’s roof.

  2. The home’s exterior.

  3. The home’s basement, foundation, crawlspace, and structure.

  4. The home’s heating system.

  5. The home’s cooling system.

  6. The home’s plumbing system.

  7. The home’s electrical system.

  8. The home’s fireplace (if applicable).

  9. The home’s attic, insulation, and ventilation.

  10. The home’s doors, windows, and interior.

How Much do Home Inspections Cost?

The cost of a home inspection will vary depending on the size of the house and the presence of systems like air conditioning and fireplaces.

In Montana, the average cost of a home inspection is between $450 for a small house and a basic inspection to about $1000 for a large home that requires ancillary inspections for things like radon and mold.

Who Pays for the Home Inspection?

In most cases, buyers are responsible for paying for the home inspection. That’s not always the case, however. Some sales contracts include language that requires the seller to pay, and the arrangement is always open to negotiation.

Sometimes, a house seller pays for an inspection before putting the property on the market. This allows the seller to identify and fix issues before listing the home.

How can Sellers Prepare for the Home Inspection?

Your home is under contract, there’s an inspection contingency in place, and the home inspector is scheduled to arrive at any time. How can you make the process easier for them? Here are a few tips we recommend:

  • Leave the keys (or be there to let the inspector in). If you opt not to be there during the home inspection, leave your keys under the doormat or the electrical panel, where the inspector can easily find them.

  • Turn on all pilot lights. If you have gas fireplaces or furnaces, make sure the pilot lights are lit so the inspector can verify the function of heating and other appliances.

  • Ensure access. Ensure there’s an unobstructed path to critical areas like the basement, attic, furnace, crawl space, drainage access points, septic tank, HVAC unit, water heater, and other major appliances. This makes the home inspection easier and faster for the inspector.

  • Have the utilities reconnected. If the house has been vacant and the utilities are off, have them turned back on for the inspection.

These are simple tips, but they’ll ensure a fast, comprehensive, accurate home inspection for you and your buyer.

What Happens After the Home Inspection?

If the home inspection report reveals only minor issues, the sale can usually go forward as planned. If the report indicates serious issues, though, the buyer and seller will need to work together to take action.

In some cases, an issue may warrant additional inspections. In others, a seller will negotiate with the buyer to have significant issues paid for before the sale closes. Rarely, the defect may be so severe that it causes the home sale to fall through.

If you find yourself facing severe issues on the home inspection, work with your real estate agent and home inspector to determine the next steps.

Why Choose us to Conduct Your Home Inspection?

When it comes time to choose a home inspector, professionalism and certification are key. Here at 406 Home Inspection, Pros, we’re Certified CE Instructors (Continuing Education Instructors).

The owner of our company is also the author of “The Top 10 Things Found During a Home Inspection” course currently offered to Realtors through the Montana Association of Realtors.

Here are a few more of our qualifications:

  • CPI – Certified Professional Inspector

  • AIC2 – International Association of Certified Indoor Air Consultants

  • CCPIA – Certified Commercial Property Inspectors Association

Don’t settle for anything less than the best on your upcoming home inspection. Contact us today to book your inspection.

If you’re considering selling your Montana home, there’s one trick that could make it even more appealing to buyers: a pre-listing home inspection.

In today’s competitive real estate market, many sellers want to streamline their home sale process. Fortunately, a pre-listing inspection is a great way to do that. In addition to allowing you to get a jump start on any needed repairs or areas of concern, a pre-listing inspection decreases the chance that an eventual sale will fall apart due to issues in an inspection report.

Even if the buyer eventually wants another report (we always advise buyers not to waive a home inspection), you can rest easy knowing you’ve already identified or repaired any major concerns.

In this blog, we’ll discuss the importance of home inspections, and why you should always invest in a pre-listing inspection.

Let’s dive in.

4 Benefits of a Pre-Listing Home Inspection

Whether you’re a first-time seller or an experienced real estate pro, a pre-listing home inspection offers many perks. Here are a few of the most pronounced:

1. You’ll sell your home fasterpre-listing home inspection 2

A home inspection serves one major purpose for buyers: it gives you a heads-up about what buyers will notice and want fixed in your home. Investing in a pre-listing home inspection allows you to check off boxes like a mold test and radon test and identify existing issues in your home. That way, you can fix them before the home goes on the market, and be assured that you’ll sell your home quickly and for a fair full price. This, in turn, means your home will sell faster and that the sale will be more streamlined.

2. You’ll see fewer negotiations

Without a pre-listing home inspection, a buyer will likely order their own home inspection. If issues come up during this inspection, the buyer will likely negotiate to have the problems fixed before the sale or will want you to decrease the sale price of the home.

This back-and-forth can cost you money and draw out the sales process. When you invest in a pre-listing inspection, you can eliminate these concerns and streamline the sale.

3. Pricing will be easier

There are many factors that impact pricing, from neighborhood “comps” to the home’s condition. Fortunately, pricing a well-inspected home is easy and straightforward. Because you’ve already evaluated the home’s condition and identified or fixed any major existing issues, you’ll be able to price your home accurately and attract buyers who are willing to pay a fair full price.

4. You’ll attract more buyers

In addition to decreasing workload for buyers, investing in a pre-listing home inspection communicates that you care, and that you’re a responsible seller. This, in turn, attracts more qualified buyers. After all, who doesn’t want to purchase a home that’s been well cared for and maintained?

How Home Inspections Work

During a home inspection, a qualified, trained home inspector will conduct a visual inspection of your home, including the following systems and areas:

  • Major appliances

  • HVAC system

  • Sealing around doors and windows

  • Your home’s plumbing and electrical systems

  • The structure and covering of your roof

  • The home’s flooring

  • Walls and structural supports

  • The home’s foundation

  • The home’s basement and attic

  • And more

Additionally, a home inspector may conduct a mold test and/or a radon test to ensure that mold or toxic gas isn’t present in your home. Once the inspector has finished the inspection process, they’ll provide you with a written report that you can use to guide your home repairs or make your home more attractive to a home buyer.

How to Choose a Home Inspector

Once you’ve decided to have a pre-listing home inspection, you’ll need to find the right Montana home inspector for you. Here are a few tips to choose the perfect match:

  • Ask around. If you have friends who have recently sold homes, ask around to see if any of them have home inspectors they’d recommend. You can find great professionals via word-of-mouth.

  • Look for membership in professional organizations. certified mold inspectorLook for inspectors who are members of reputable professional organizations like the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI), the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors, or the National Academy of Building Inspection Engineers. Membership in any of these organizations is a good indicator of quality and reliability in a home inspector.

  • Ask for a sample report. Before you pay a home inspector, ask to see a sample report that the team has done on a house like yours. This sample report will help you see what the home inspector identifies and what they intend to inspect in your home. It’ll also demonstrate how they communicate information and what level of detail you can expect.

  • Consider experience. Look for someone who has been a home inspector in your area for a while. After all, a state like Montana has many unique concerns and considerations, and you’ll want to work with a company that knows how to look for the problems that can arise in this climate.

  • Read reviews. Once you’ve found someone you like, read their online reviews. You should expect to find generally good reviews left by satisfied customers. Beware of any company with many negative customer reviews.

  • Go with your gut. Ultimately, you want to work with a company you like and trust. Look for a home inspector who answers your questions honestly and takes the time to build a relationship with you. Selling your home is a big deal, and your home inspector will be an important part of that process.

406 Home Inspection Pros: Here for all of Your Pre-Listing Home Inspections406 Home Inspection

When it comes time to sell your home, contact 406 Home Inspection Pros for your pre-listing home inspection. Our team provides the comprehensive, reliable inspection services you need. Let us help you identify issues in your home before your property hits the market.

Whether you’re selling a large home or a little historic bungalow, our team will look for issues like mold, radon, foundation cracks, plumbing and HVAC issues, and more. The result is a comprehensive, detailed home inspection you can count on.

Ready to learn more? Contact our team to book your inspection now.


The housing market in the Flathead Valley has been hot for the last couple of years. Realtors, buyers, and sellers have been moving at full speed. Regardless of whether you’re selling, buying, brokering a deal, or remodeling, you’ll need a home inspection during the process.

Home inspections serve several important purposes. In addition to proving the satisfactory condition of the home, they help interested parties, like buyers, educate themselves about possible defects in the home, and avoid the surprise of costly repairs. Home inspections are especially important for out-of-state buyers, who very often have never seen the home they’re buying and need “eyes on the ground” to make sure the home is a good investment.

Still, finding the right home inspector can be easier said than done. In this post, we’ll discuss how to find a Montana home inspector you can trust, qualifications to look for, and everything else you need to know.

5 Tips to Choose a Home Inspector

Follow these five tips to choose the best home inspector for your needs:

1. Find an inspector who will perform the home inspection in your presence

Many people think home inspectors only work alone. Fortunately, that’s a misconception. In fact, the best home inspectors will encourage buyers, sellers, or other interested parties to attend the home inspection if possible.

Doing so will help you understand the things the home inspector is pointing out, and help you be more informed about the home. As long as you follow some common etiquette practices, attending the home inspection can be a positive, informative experience.

2. Read the inspector’s customer reviews

For more information on the home inspector, head to review sites like Google, Facebook, and Yelp. Keep an eye out for any reviews that are very positive or very negative. These reviews will speak to the home inspector’s strengths or weaknesses, and help you understand what you can expect if you choose to work with them.

3. Ask about certificationscertified mold inspector

Before you decide on an inspector to hire, find out about the inspector’s background and certifications. What is the experience level and background of the Home Inspector? How many inspections has he or she done? Do they have specialized certifications, and if so in what areas?

Instead of hiring someone who does home inspections as a part-time job, look for someone who is a full-time home inspector, and not a part-time contractor.

4. Ask about what the inspection does and does not include

In some climates, home inspectors won’t inspect certain things during certain times of the year.

Here in Montana, for example, an inspector might not inspect a patio, driveway, deck, or roof that’s covered in snow. If the inspector won’t examine those things, ask about the best way to check their condition.

You may also want to ask about the services the inspector does offer. For example, do they handle labs and lab results? What about thermal imaging and drone inspections? Does the team offer mold and radon inspections? Be sure you get a complete picture of the home inspector’s services before you decide to hire the team.

5. Ask for copies of licenses and insurance

Before you hire the inspector, ask the inspector for copies of their license and insurance documents. Is the inspector a member of a professional organization like ASHI, NAHI, or InterNACHI? Each member of 406 Home Inspection Pros is, and we list our license and certification numbers right on our website for your convenience.

Great home inspectors will willingly provide copies of these documents, and other proof of their quality.

Finding The Right Home Inspector for Youchoosing the right home inspector

Your home is likely the largest investment you’ll ever make. Whether you’re building a new home, selling your home, or buying a pre-owned property, choosing an excellent home inspector is critical to protecting that investment.

The right home inspector will find defects in a home that could cost you, the buyer, money down the road. And as a seller, a home inspection can identify issues that may get in the way of closing the sale.

When you’re buying or selling a home, having a qualified home inspector is imperative. At 406 Home Inspection, we promise a thorough and complete home inspection, every time!

Contact us today for all of your home inspection, and independent mold, radon, and asbestos testing needs.

Dear Homeowner

It’s common to get nervous during the home inspection process. You don’t want the deal to fall through or be stuck with the cost and burden of repairs if your buyer requests them as a contingency. There are some things you can do to prepare for the inspection.

Getting Ready

  • Keep all utilities on
  • Provide open access to areas that need to be checked.
    • Attic, Crawlspace,
    • Electrical Panels,
    • Furnace, Water Heater area,
    • etc.
  • Clear around Furnace and Water Heater
  • Replace any bulbs that are out
  • Replace Smoke Detector batteries
  • Turn all pilot lights on
  • Make sure toilets function properly
  • Take care of any bug problems
  • Clear under sink areas as much as possible
  • Secure or remove Pets (Dogs)
    • Inspector will not enter homes with animals present if the homeowner is not there
  • Empty the Dishwasher
  • Clean Rain-gutters and Downspouts

Inspection Day

By the day of the home inspection you should have done everything you can to prepare. Now, it’s just about making sure it goes as smoothly as possible.

  • Unlock any gates, electrical boxes, or other areas that you normally keep secure.
  • Be ready at least two hours before the inspector is set to arrive (we are known for being early)
  • Vacate the house during the inspection and take any pets with you, or make sure they’re safely crated or secured
  • It’s common for the home inspector to note a few minor issues, but most of the time, if there’s something serious to detect you likely already know about it.

Finally take a deep breath. Most buyers aren’t expecting complete perfection; they just want to know that there are no heavy burdens waiting for them.

You’re buying a new home in the Flathead Valley, and you can’t wait to get yourself and your family settled. Before you can start considering paint colors, though, you’ve got to do your due diligence and have a comprehensive home inspection. And, here in the Flathead Valley, one of the most important elements of any home inspection is radon testing.

Radon, a naturally occurring radioactive gas, is impossible to see or smell. Still, it’s a very common element, and it occurs in all 50 states. When radon makes its way into your home, though, it can become dangerous very quickly.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the US, second only to smoking.

In this post, we’ll discuss the dangers of radon, the importance of radon testing, and how you can ensure your home stays healthy and safe for everyone in it.

Let’s dive in.

radon testing in your Montana home

What is Radon?

Radon is a naturally occurring gas that is produced by the natural breakdown of uranium in water, soil, and rocks. Uranium is naturally present in the earth’s crust, and does not have a color, odor, or taste. Unless you test for it, there’s no way to know whether it’s in your home or not.

That said, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports that nearly one out of every 15 homes in the US have an elevated radon level. In most of these homes, radon comes from the rock or soil beneath the building itself. It gets inside the building because air pressure within the home is usually lower than the pressure in the soil surrounding the building’s foundation.

This difference in pressure creates a vacuum which draws radon up from the soil and through tiny cracks in walls, floors, or gaps in the foundation. Once the radon gets into the home, it becomes trapped. Usually, radon levels are at their highest in the lower levels of the home, such as the basement or crawl space.

Today, most radon exposure takes place inside homes, workplaces, and schools, and this radon exposure takes a toll. Each year, 21,000 people in the US and EU die from radon-related lung cancer.

How Much Radon is Too Much?

Here’s what Mike Vogel, Extension Housing and Environmental Health Specialist at Montana State University has to say about ideal radon levels:

Radon is measured in picoCuries per liter of air (pCi/L). A picoCurie is one-trillionth of a Curie, which measures radioactivity in disintegrations per second. The EPA recommends radon levels be addressed in homes if the level is 4 pCi/L (picoCuries per liter) or more. Because there is no known safe level of exposure to radon, the EPA also recommends that homeowners consider the issue for radon levels between 2 pCi/L and 4 pCi/L.

3 Reasons Radon Testing Matters

Radon testing isn’t just “nice to have.” In fact, the EPA recommends radon testing for any home you are buying or selling. If you’re constructing a new home, the EPA also recommends investing in radon-resistant construction features. Here are a few reasons that radon testing is so important:

1. Radon is present in homes throughout the country

There’s no state in the US where radon does not exist. In fact, any home in any part of the country can have a radon problem, including new and old homes, well-insulated homes, drafty homes, and homes without basements or crawl spaces.

That said, have your home professionally radon tested during your home inspection. The home’s radon levels should be 4 pCi/L or less.

2. You can’t rely on your neighbor’s radon tests

Even if the surrounding households in your new neighborhood have had radon testing, you can’t use these tests to predict the radon level in your home. In fact, homes that are next to each other can have very different indoor radon levels. As such, testing is the only way to evaluate your home’s radon levels.

3. You can fix radon problems

If your home comes back with very high radon levels, you don’t have to abandon the deal. In fact, it is possible to fix radon problems even in homes with very high radon concentrations.

Today, there are a variety of radon reduction methods available to homeowners. Some of them can reduce radon levels by up to 99%. Some radon reduction techniques prevent radon from entering the home. Others focus on venting existing radon out of the building, where it is no longer harmful to people.

Different Types of Radon Testing

There are two types of radon tests: short- and long-term tests. According to the EPA:

There are two types of radon testing devices. Passive radon testing devices do not need power to function. These include charcoal canisters, alpha-track detectors, charcoal liquid scintillation devices, and electret ion chamber detectors. Both short- and long-term passive devices are generally inexpensive. Active radon testing devices require power to function and usually provide hourly readings and an average result for the test period. These include continuous radon monitors and continuous working level monitors, and these tests may cost more. A state or local official can explain the differences between the devices and recommend ones that are most appropriate for your needs and expected testing conditions. Make sure to use a radon testing device from a qualified laboratory.

Choosing the Right Team for Radon Testing

When you’re ready to test your home for radon, contact a skilled, qualified team of home inspectors, like 406 Home Inspection Pros. We specialize in offering radon and mold testing for homes in Whitefish, Kalispell, and the rest of the Flathead Valley. Our team will help protect your real estate investment and preserve the health and well-being of your family in your new space.

Contact us today to learn more or to schedule your radon testing today.