What is a home inspection?
An inspection is a visual objective examination of the physical structure and systems of a home, from the roof to the foundation.
What does a home inspection cover?
The standard housing inspector’s report will cover the condition of house, heating system, central air conditioning system (temperature permitting), plumbing and electrical systems, roof, attic and visible insulation, walls, ceilings, floors, windows and doors, foundation, basement and structural components.
The American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) publishes a Standards of Professional Practice and the Code of Ethics that outlines what you should expect to be covered in your home inspection report.
Why do I need an inspection of the house?
Buying a home may be the biggest investment you’ll ever make. To minimize unpleasant surprises and unexpected difficulties, you will want to learn as much as you can about the new home or existing home before you buy it. A home inspection can identify the need for major repairs or oversight of the builder as well as the need for maintenance to keep it in good shape. After the inspection, you will know more about the house, which will allow you to make decisions with confidence.
If you already own a home, a home inspection can identify problems in the preparation and propose preventive measures that can help avoid costly future repairs.
If you are planning to sell your home, a home inspection can give you the opportunity to make repairs that will make the home in better state of sale.
How much will it cost?
The inspection fee for a typical single family home varies geographically, as well as the cost of housing. Similarly, within a given area, the inspection rate may vary depending on a number of factors such as house size, age and possible optional services such as septic, well or radon testing.
Do not let cost be a factor in deciding whether or not to have an inspection of the house or in the selection of your home inspector. The sense of security and knowledge gained from an inspection is well worth the cost, and a lower priced inspection is not necessarily a bargain. Use the inspector’s qualifications, including experience, training, and compliance with your state regulations, if any, and your professional affiliations as a guide.
Why cannot I do it myself?
Even the most experienced homeowner lacks the knowledge and experience of a professional inspector. An inspector is familiar with the elements of home construction, proper maintenance of the facility, and home security. He or she knows how home systems work and the components are designed to work together as well as why they fail.
Above all, most buyers find it difficult to stay completely objective and emotionless with home that they really want, and this can have an effect on their judgment. To obtain accurate information, it is best to get an impartial opinion of a professional in the field of home inspection.
Can a house fail an inspection?
No. A professional inspection is an examination of the current condition of a home. It is not a valuation, which determines the market value. This is not a municipal inspection, which verifies compliance with local regulations. A home inspector, therefore, will not pass or fail a home, but rather describe its physical state and what the components and systems may indicate need repair or replacement.
How can I find a housing inspector?
You can ask friends or business acquaintances to recommend a home inspector they have used. Or, you can use the find an inspector search tool for a list of home inspectors in your area who belong to the non-profit professional organization. To get a list of inspectors, call 1-800-743-ASHI (2744). In addition, real estate agents and brokers are familiar with the service and may be able to offer you a list of names from which to choose.
Whatever your source of reference, you can be sure of your home inspector’s commitment to professional and business ethics, by choosing one that has a medical insurance membership.
When should I call a home inspector?
Usually a housing inspector is contacted immediately after the contract or purchase agreement has been signed. Before you sign, make sure there is an inspection clause in the sales contract, making your last contingent purchase obligation on the results of a professional inspection. This clause should specify the terms and conditions to which both the buyer and the seller are bound.
Do I have to be there?
While it is not necessary for you to be present during the inspection, it is highly recommended. You will be able to observe the inspector and ask questions as you learn about the condition of the home and how to maintain it.
What if the report reveals problems?
No house is perfect. If the inspector identifies problems, it does not mean that you should or should not buy the house, only that you know in advance what to expect. If your budget is adjusted, or if you do not want to participate in future repair work, this information will be important to you. If major problems are encountered, a seller may agree to make repairs.
If the house proves to be in good condition, do I really need an inspection?
Of course. Now you can complete your home purchase with confidence. You have learned many things about your new home from the inspector’s written report, and will have that information for future reference.