What is a home inspection?

A home inspections is an objective visual analysis of home structure and systems. An inspection will determine the areas of a home that are not performing properly and items of a home that are beyond their useful life or are unsafe. Inspections will include interior and exterior areas, from the roof to the foundation, exterior drainage, and retaining walls. If problems or symptoms are found, the inspector may recommend further evaluation. A home inspection is not a warranty.

Why do I need a home inspection?

The purchase of a home is one of the largest purchases you will make. It is important that you know as much as possible about this purchase. A home inspector is trained to evaluate a home in detail and report the findings. This allows you to make a good decision about a home purchase. Home inspections are a good idea even if you are already a homeowner. If serious problems are identified early, it can save you considerable repair costs. Home sellers will want an inspection to find problems that a buyer’s inspection will turn up. The seller can then make the repairs prior to the home going on the market, saving time, money, and headaches.

What to look for in a home inspector?

Experience: Find out how much experience they have or how long they have been in the business. If they have not been performing inspections very long it does not mean that they are not qualified, it just means that you will have to ask more questions.

Home Inspection Training: Have they gone through any extensive training in home inspection? There are several training companies that provide hands-on training. Also, you may ask what other related experience the inspector has. Many inspectors have been in the building trades for several years and have considerable knowledge of home construction.

Association Membership: Is the inspector a member of a professional home inspection organization? Companies that are affiliated with professional organizations are serious about what they do, and they know about all the new developments in their fields. They are continually informed about changes in building codes and city requirements.

What does a typical home inspection include?

The report will review the condition of the heating system, plumbing, electrical system and central air conditioning system (temperature permitting), as well as the roof, attic, visible insulation, walls, ceilings, floors, windows, doors, foundation, basement, crawlspace, landscaping, and visible structure.

What does a typical home inspection cost?

Inspection fees vary based on the type, size, age and features of the home. Most inspectors will charge extra for services such as a termite inspection.

The cost of the inspection should not be the only consideration for hiring an inspector. A good inspection that informs you of all the potential problems in a home is worth the cost. A bargain inspector may give you an inferior report. Once you have purchased the home, it may be very costly to repair problems that were omitted from the inspection report.

Can I do an inspection myself?

Most home buyers will look at a home that they want to purchase and look for reasons to purchase the home. The prospective home buyer is not able to look at the home with the unbiased critical eye that a home inspector will. Even a home buyer with construction experience does not have the knowledge and tools that a home inspector has. A good inspector is trained and experienced in finding the clues in a home that indicate problems. These clues are sometimes very subtle and hard to find. Most inspectors use tools that help them determine problems. Most inspectors have performed hundreds of inspections and they are familiar with problems with certain building materials or building styles.

When should I call for a home inspection?

When purchasing a home you will want to have the home inspected within a few days after the purchase agreement is signed. You will want to make sure you have a clause in your purchase agreement that allows you to have an inspection and that you have the right to terminate the agreement if you find the home in unsatisfactory condition. This clause should specify the terms to which both the buyer and seller are obligated.

Should I be there for the inspection?

We recommend that you are present at the inspection. Most inspectors will allow you to be there and ask questions after the inspection is completed., and point out the areas that are potential problems. Most inspectors will also show you things need to be maintained in order to keep the home in good condition.

What if the inspection report reveals problems?

Almost all homes will show problems. Even new construction homes will have problems noted on the inspection report, which is why we recommend an inspection even for new construction. Your inspector will be able to identify major problems that will be costly. Minor problems are to be expected and can be repaired after closing. Major problems may require a negotiation between you and the seller as to how to fix the problems. A seller may adjust the purchase price or contract terms if major problems are found. If the problems are costly you will be able to make your decision about purchasing the home with the proper knowledge about the future cost.