Q #1 - What is a home inspection?
A home inspection is a visual inspection of the structure and components of a home to find items that are not performing correctly or items that are unsafe. If a problem or a symptom of a problem is found the home inspector will include a description of the problem in a written report and may recommend further evaluation.
Q #2 - Why is a home inspection important?
Home Buyers: Emotion often affects the buyer and makes it hard to imagine any problems with their new home. A buyer needs a home inspection to find out the problems /defects with the home before moving in.
Home Sellers: More and more sellers are choosing to have a thorough inspection before or when they first list their home. First and foremost, you should have a home inspection for full disclosure. You will have demonstrated that you did all you could do to reveal any defects within the home. Second, you will save money and hassle by knowing now what your defects are, not after you have already negotiated a price and are faced with costly repairs discovered on the buyer’s inspection. Defects found before the buyer comes along allow you to shop around for a contractor and not deal with inflated estimates that a buyer will present.
Q #3 - What if the report reveals problems?
All homes (even new construction) have problems. Every problem has a solution. Solutions vary from a simple fix of the component to adjusting the purchase price. Having a home inspection allows the problem to be addressed before the sale closes.
Q #4 - What does a home inspection include?
A proper and comprehensive home inspection will review the accessible and visible condition of the home from the basement to the roof, which includes the following systems and areas: Structural, Roofing, Exterior of Building, Electrical, Heating, Cooling / Air Conditioning (temperature permitting), Plumbing, Interior of Building, Functioning Permanently Installed Kitchen Appliances, and Fireplace Hearth. Many inspectors will also offer additional services not included in a typical home inspection, such as termite, mold, radon, septic, water testing, etc…
Q #5 - What should I NOT expect from a home inspection?
A home inspection is not protection against future failures. Stuff happens! Components like air conditioners and Heat Systems can and will break down. A home inspection tells you the condition of the component at the time the component was inspected. For protection from future failure you may want to consider a home warranty.
A home inspection is not an appraisal that determines the value of a home. Nor will a home inspector tell you if you should buy this home or what to pay for this home.
A home inspection is not a code inspection, which verifies local building code compliance. A home inspector will not pass or fail a house. Homes built before code revisions are not obligated to comply with the code for homes built today. Home inspectors will report findings when it comes to safety concerns that may be in the current code such as ungrounded outlets above sinks. A home inspector thinks "Safety" not "Code" when performing a home inspection.
Q #6 - Should I attend the home inspection?
It is often helpful to be there so the home inspector can explain in person and answer any questions you may have. This is an excellent way to learn about your new home even if no problems are found. But be sure to give the home inspector time and space to concentrate and focus so he can do the best job possible for you.
Q #7 - What is a Home Warranty?
A home warranty does protect you against components that fail in the future. You may have to pay a deductible (service call fee) when you have a problem. If you choose to have a warranty, be sure and qualify coverage of your problem over the phone with the warranty company before they send a repairman. If you do not, you may find out that your problem is not covered and you still must pay the deductible or trip service fee. If you have a home inspection and you know your furnace or another major component is old, you may be better off to buy a warranty before you purchase. We recommend you look closely at what is NOT covered in warranty company policies as you compare prices.
Q #8 - Who is the cheapest? Inspectors all look at the
same things right?
Every inspector is different and comes with strong points and weak points. You may save $50 by choosing a cheaper inspector and he could miss $1,000 in problems. Usually, the best inspectors are not the cheapest. If you want to save money, possibly thousands, then don't choose the cheapest inspector. A thorough and experienced home inspector is the best route to take.
Q #9 - Some offer to give me a big book of general
information that is included in the home inspection?
What you are after is a thorough home inspection with content about your home, not bulk or info that may not even apply to your home. There are many sources for general information such as "Ortho's Home Encyclopedia" that you can pick up at any home improvement store. Also there are many online "how to" or "do it your self (diy)" websites. Choose a home inspector based on his ability. Substance should be measured in quality of content, not weight.
NOTE: Don't be fooled by Home Inspection Companies who offer very low pricing, contests, drawings, giveaways, and/or fancy packaging of reports. These are usually done by companies who have weak or lazy inspectors who don't believe they can build their business by providing a strong comprehensive inspection and availability after the report has been delivered. These companies and home inspectors cover their inabilities or lack of caring with fluff.
The more a home inspector is available (appointment times) and accessible (consultation time), the more it benefits the client (homebuyer inspection, listing inspection, maintenance inspection, etc). The ability to set up an inspection or consult with a home inspector, 7 days a week, is a great benefit. Just think back to a time you needed to contact someone for information during a weekend and had to wait until Monday to even ask your question: HOW DID YOU FEEL AND HOW MUCH DID IT COST YOU MAKING THE WRONG DECISION!!! Don’t overlook this benefit; it’s can be a great stress reducer and money saver.
Q #11 – When do I receive my Final Home Inspection Report
The best time to receive your final home inspection report is the next morning. This affords you time to discuss the inspection and review the report while it’s fresh in your mind. Receiving a report onsite means one or more of five things will occur, all negative: 1) Home Inspector is writing report and not spending the time to discuss your perspective new home as you move through it room by room. 2) If explanations are given at the time of inspection, THAN, you will have to sit around an extra hour or so waiting for report to be written, 3) Mistakes are made when rushing, items can be left out or improperly written which can lead to improper maintenance and/or repairs necessary, 4) Report may be hand written, vague, and difficult to understand at a later date, and 5) Some home inspection companies charge for this service
Inspectors who give reports on site do it for one reason only, it frees up their time, Not Yours
Q #12 – Are Questions and Discussion encouraged?
Any Home Inspector who will not allow questions or discussion during their inspection time may not be right for you. As stated in an early FAQ - Should I attend the home inspection?, this is your time to learn about your perspective new home, DON’T WASTE IT!!!
Q #13 – When your home inspection ends; What Then?
For most Home Inspectors the home inspection ends with the final report being sent to you. The only contact you will receive from them is only when you call or they need something from you. While this is not unusual, it is important to make sure that your home inspector will take and or return your call 7-days a week and be willing to help and or guide you towards finding your answer in a pleasant manner.
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