Buying a Home? Get Your Chimney Checked with Our Real Estate Inspections for Home Buyers

When you’re buying a new home, there are many things to consider. Location, proximity to work and school, style of house, and safety of the neighborhood are only a few of the things that you will think about.

But once you’ve found the perfect home, you’ll want to take a closer look to make sure that it’s really as good as it seems. Sure, some things you can see on your own – if the floors are level, if the windows are tight, and if the siding is sound – and you’ll likely call in a home inspector, as well, who will dig deeper and make sure everything is as it should be.

…but what about the chimney?

Take the guesswork out of the equation and hire Mr. Smokestack Chimney Service for a real estate chimney inspection. Get in touch with us at 919-747-1859 or book an appointment through our website. Buying a home is stressful enough – let us put your mind at ease.

What Is a Real Estate Chimney Inspection?

A real estate chimney inspection is a thorough assessment of a property’s chimney and fireplace system to check its overall state. This type of inspection is typically conducted when buying or selling a home to help ensure that the chimney and fireplace are in good working condition and do not pose any safety concerns or have any outstanding repairs that need to be completed.

During an inspection, a chimney technician will examine the different components of the chimney, including the flue, liner, cap, damper, and masonry for signs of damage and deterioration. They’ll also look for potential fire hazards, as well as carbon monoxide leaks and high levels of creosote buildup.

My new home has a gas fireplace. Do I still need a real estate inspection?

It’s a common misconception that gas fireplaces don’t need to be inspected and cleaned as often as a traditional masonry fireplace. This isn’t true. A gas fireplace that isn’t maintained is just as dangerous as a wood-burning one. 

The presence of gas means there’s potential for a gas leak and the risk of a leak increases if the fireplace has issues that haven’t been fixed. During a real estate inspection for a gas fireplace, a chimney technician will check the unit and the gas line to ensure it’s been installed properly and is still intact.

How Is a Real Estate Chimney Inspection Different from a Regular Chimney Inspection?

There are 3 levels of chimney inspections. The chimney inspections you get annually are usually level 1 inspections, unless there’s reason to believe there’s a problem or you’ve experienced a damage-causing event (like a chimney fire). A level 1 inspection is a basic evaluation of the readily accessible areas of the fireplace and chimney system. 

A real estate chimney inspection calls for a level 2 inspection. This involves everything from a level 1 inspection and, in addition, a camera is run through the interior of the fireplace and chimney to inspect for hidden damage to the flue liner. Basic tools may also be used to remove covers or access hidden areas.

Who Should Perform a Real Estate Chimney Inspection?

We don’t mean to alarm you, but here’s an uncomfortable truth about the chimney business: there isn’t a federal organization that oversees the chimney industry. That means any “home improvement company” can perform a real estate inspection with little to no experience or industry certifications.

The good news? There are good ways to know if the tech you’re hiring is qualified. Before you hire a chimney service company, check its background by reading customer reviews and looking up certifications and memberships. Both of these offer strong indicators that the team you’re hiring is legitimate.

Can my home inspector do my real estate chimney inspection?

For chimney inspections, there’s only one option – a certified chimney technician. It’s always best to hire a credentialed chimney service provider with certified professionals who will know just what to look for to make sure that your fireplace and chimney are in the best and safest condition possible. 

Both the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) stress the importance of hiring a certified chimney professional when you’re buying a new home. The good news for Raleigh homebuyers? Mr. Smokestack Chimney is proudly associated with both.

Why Is a Chimney Inspection Necessary When Buying or Selling a Home?

Some buyers go into the real estate market with the expectation that their new house will need work, while others will prefer a home that’s turnkey. Buying a new house is already a high-ticket expense and chimney repairs can balloon your budget, depending on what needs to be done.

Whether you’re looking for something that’s move-in-ready or buying a fixer-upper, it’s crucial to have a clear understanding of the state of a home’s chimney before purchasing it so that you can plan accordingly.

These are a few other things to keep in mind if you’re thinking about scheduling a real estate chimney inspection:

  • It confirms that the fireplace is safe to use. One of the biggest reasons for a chimney inspection is safety. A neglected or damaged chimney is dangerous to use and can present the possibility of a chimney fire, carbon monoxide leak, and/or structural damage to your home.
  • It can reveal potential repairs. Diagnosing and addressing chimney issues early on can save you a significant amount of money in the long run by getting problems out of the way when they’re small and cheaper to address. Ignoring problems like creosote buildup, cracks in the flue liner, or water damage can result in expensive repairs – or even a potential rebuild.
  • It gives you room to negotiate. If you’re the buyer, the results of a chimney inspection can provide leverage during the negotiation process. If you need to complete repairs to restore the chimney to safety, you can either request that those repairs be completed before closing on the home or ask for a reduction in the property’s price to account for any needed chimney work.

Is a chimney inspection included in a standard home inspection?

A general home inspector focuses on essential components of a home, such as the structural integrity, electrical systems, plumbing, and HVAC systems. Although they might take a surface-level look at the fireplace and chimney, they don’t have the expertise to complete a level 2 chimney inspection unless they’ve been certified by the CSIA.

What Are the Most Common Issues Found During a Chimney Inspection?

If a chimney has been taken care of by its previous owner, your chimney technician may only uncover minor damage. That said, sometimes, an inspection can uncover more concerning damage. These are some of the more common issues we find during real estate inspections:

  • Creosote buildup
  • Cracked or damaged flue liner
  • Evidence of water damage
  • Chimney leaks
  • Blockages in the flue
  • Issues with the masonry

Why Hire Mr. Smokestack Chimney Service?

A home inspector may check out the crown at the top of the chimney or shine a flashlight up into the fireplace, but so much of the chimney system is hidden from his or her sight.

At Mr. Smokestack Chimney Service, we offer video scanning during our chimney inspections for homebuyers. We snake this camera up or down your chimney, and the video equipment allows us to see the interior of the chimney, including any damage to the mortar or cracks in the lining. If there are blockages, we’ll be able to see them with our video-scanning equipment as well.

When you are looking to make a decision as big as buying a new home, it’s important to know that everything is just right. Chimney and fireplace damage could end up causing a chimney fire or costing you money if left undetected, and you deserve to know if there’s extensive damage before making the sale final.

Call a company that specializes in chimneys – like us – so you can rest assured that nothing gets missed. We’ll provide a detailed report following our inspection, including photographs and any recommended repairs or detected problem areas. You’ll be able to rest easy and buy your new home with confidence once our chimney experts have thoroughly inspected the chimney system, inside and out.

How Much Does a Real Estate Chimney Inspection Cost?

The cost of a level 2 chimney inspection can vary based on the size of the chimney, the chimney type, and its location. In many real estate transactions, the buyer may choose to eat the cost of a chimney inspection as part of their due diligence process. However, you can request for the seller to partially or completely cover the chimney inspection as part of the terms of the sale.

If I Skip a Real Estate Chimney Inspection, Will Homeowner’s Insurance Cover Repair Costs?

Insurance companies are notoriously difficult when it comes to paying for chimney repairs. Lightning would have to strike your chimney before you can expect your insurance provider to cough up on a claim. Seriously. The majority of homeowner’s insurance policies only pay for repairs in the instance of a “sudden occurrence,” like a collision, chimney fire, weather event, or the aforementioned lightning strike. 

You would likely have to prove that your chimney damage isn’t the result of negligence. The insurance company will often ask for findings from annual inspections and cleanings to back its determination. You may have difficulty supporting your claim unless the seller has given you access to previous receipts and reports. You can save yourself a lot of time and effort by booking a real estate chimney inspection.

Get Your Chimney Checked before You Close the Deal

The process of buying a new home is an exciting, but stressful, time. The last thing we want is for you to believe you’ve found your dream house only to discover the chimney needs a ton of repairs to be usable. Trust Mr. Smokestack Chimney Service to ensure your family’s safety in your new home. 

Schedule an appointment online or call us at 919-747-1859.


Through our chimney and vent service specialists, we offer several levels of fireplace and chimney inspections to fit whatever you need.