Do you have questions about home inspections? Some of the more common questions are answered below.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a home inspection?
Your home is composed of multiple systems and components that work together to provide a comfortable, safe, long-lasting structure. A home inspection is an objective visual examination of those systems and components, from roof to foundation, to ensure all items appear to be in good condition. A correlation could be made to your annual physical where the doctor checks you out to make sure everything is working well. As in a physical, when problems or symptoms of problems, are found, I (like your doctor) may recommend further solutions, or specialists, to help resolve them.
What does a home inspection include?
A home inspection includes a written evaluation of two or more of the following components of a residential building: heating system, cooling system, plumbing system, electrical system, structural components, foundation, roof, masonry structure, exterior and interior components, or any other related residential housing component. Always keep in mind that a home inspection is a visual inspection of readily accessible installed system components.
Why do I need a home inspection?
A home inspection provides a summary of a property's condition as well as pointing out the need for major repairs. It can also identify areas that may need attention in the near future. This information provides buyers and sellers with the information to maximize their knowledge of the property helping them make intelligent decisions before executing an agreement for sale or purchase.
A home inspection also draws attention to the positive aspects of a home along with the maintenance that will be necessary to keep it in good shape. After an inspection, both parties have a much clearer understanding of a property's value and needs.
For homeowners, an inspection can identify upcoming problems and help them learn about preventive measures, which might avoid costly future repairs. If you are planning to sell your home, an inspection prior to placing your home on the market provides a better understanding of conditions which may be discovered by the buyer's inspector, providing an opportunity to make repairs that make your home more desirable to potential buyers.
What will it cost?
Inspection fees vary depending on a number of different factors. These can include: geography, property size/features, and age of the home. Additionally, services such as septic inspections and radon testing may be warranted depending upon the individual property. You can view my cost calculating spreadsheet under the "Cost" tab.
Do not let the cost deter you from having a home inspection or selecting an inspector you are comfortable with - knowledge gained from an inspection is well worth the time and expense. The lowest-price is not always the best bargain as the inspector's qualifications, including experience, training, and professional affiliations, should be among the most important considerations in your selection.
Why should I hire a licensed home inspector instead of doing it myself?
Even the most experienced homeowner lacks the knowledge and expertise of a licensed home inspector. As a professional home inspector, I have the experience, depth of knowledge and training to make an unbiased and informed report the property's condition. I am familiar with the many elements of home construction, proper installations, and home maintenance. I understand how the home's systems and components are intended to function together, as well as how and why they fail and knows what to look for to make certain they continue to operate as expected.
It is also difficult for most buyers to remain objective and unemotional about a house they are really interested in which may affect their judgment. So it is important to acquire this kind of information using an impartial, third-party opinion from a trained professional on such matters.
A home inspection does not have a pass or fail criteria. It is an examination of the current condition of your home, not an appraisal, which is typically used to determines market value, or a municipal inspection, which verifies compliance with local codes and standards.
Can a house fail a home inspection?
Prior to signing the contract or purchase agreement, it is important for you to include a contingency clause stating that the purchase is dependent on the findings of a licensed inspector. This clause should specify the terms to which both the buyer and seller are obligated. Contact me immediately after the contract or agreement has been signed. Inspectors are aware of the time constraints involved in such agreements and should conduct an inspection within a few days.
When do I contact a home inspector?
While it is not necessary for you to be present, I recommended that you make time to join me for the visit. This allows you to observe the process and ask questions about the condition of the home, how the systems work, and what maintenance is needed. Being present during the inspection will also make the written report easier to understand. Consider it an invaluable 2-3 hour class that will help you understand your home prior to moving in! I promise to explain everything in terms you can understand and might even provide you some awesome tips on how to keep in the best shape possible.
Should I be present at the time of the inspection?
No house is perfect. Not even one that is brand new. When I identify problems, it does not indicate you should not buy the house. My findings serve to educate you in advance of the purchase about the property's condition. This information can be used to ask the seller to adjust the purchase price or contract terms, especially if major concerns are discovered. This knowledge can also be extremely valuable if you are on a tight budget or do not want to do future repairs yourself.
What happens if the report reveals problems?
If the house appears to be in good condition, why do I need a home inspection?
As much as I hate to admit it, there are some unscrupulous sellers out there who will do everything possible to mask any deficiency. Thus, the house may look good upon cursory examination but when I come in to inspect there will be signs that indicate if the house has undergone a truly good makeover or if it has been superficial. If there are signs of cover-ups, then I will investigate more closely. You certainly don't want to make this significant investment just to find out in a couple of months that there are multiple costly issues to fix.