What is a Home Inspection?
A home inspection is a limited visual evaluation of the properties primary structure and components. The systems and components typically evaluated include;
An inspector should be following the standards of practice and be a member in good standing of a non-profit home inspection trade association such as the National Association of Home Inspectors or the American Society of Home Inspectors. The Client should interview any potential home inspector to verify they are qualified to perform a proper home inspection. The Inspector's qualifications should include hands on experience in construction or architecture and a true understanding of the structure and component
You should also understand a home inspection is not a warranty or guaranty. No one can predict when components or systems will fail. The inspector should however perform an inspection in a way which will inform you as well as to educate you. This can assist you in budgeting for certain systems that may be nearing the end of their statistical life. Separate warranties may be available, however read the exclusions to insure the systems you are concerned about are covered, A good inspector should be trained to evaluate that a system at the time of the inspection is in actual working condition. The inspector should also attend continuing education to ensure they are up to date with current industry standards and knowledge.
Some inspectors may also utilize some specialty equipment such as moisture meters, gas detectors and electronic testing devices which we do use. While these are useful and I recommend them, they are tools they may be used in suspect conditions and at the discretion of the inspector.
Also discuss with the inspector whether they get on roofs when safely accessible and in crawlspaces that again are safely accessible. Factors due to weather conditions may impede the inspection process and areas may need to be re-inspected. You should discuss these fees with the inspector as well. You may also want the inspector to re-inspect repairs carried out by the seller (during a pre-purchase inspection). Insist all repairs are to be performed by a qualified or licensed contractor. If a components fails after closing (settlement of the property) you may have no recourse against a non-professional repair or the home seller. Just because an individual is a builder or engineer does not qualify them to be a home inspector. Only after extensive training and hands on experience can one gain the instinct they need to provide you with a comprehensive inspection. Some engineers have nothing to do with residential construction or just one small part. Inspection fees are typically based on square footage or the price of the home. Compare what you are getting for your money, don’t go with the low bidder, there may be a reason. You should feel free to engage in conversation with the inspector and ask questions. A good inspector will also cover preventive maintenance of the building and systems with you.
Included in the Home Inspection:
•Heating and Cooling
•Fireplace and Chimney
•Energy Savings Tips
What you the Client can do, to prepare for and get the most from your home inspection?
•Be present for the entire inspection and accompany the inspector.
•Keep distractions at a minimal.
•Don’t have too much going on during the inspection, focus on the inspection.
•We prefer the seller is not present as it can be stressful and a distraction.
•If we are performing a radon test make sure the seller keeps all windows and doors closed 12 hours prior to us performing the inspection.
•Bring clothes that would be comfortable during the inspection.
•Bring your own flashlight, I see many buyers wishing they had brought one.
•Bring a notepad to take notes. You may have questions about things you want to do to the house outside the scope of the inspection.
•Prepare yourself and don't get overwhelmed as most homes have concerns or some repairs that are needed, even new homes.
•Make sure if it is a foreclosure all utilities and systems are turned on to ensure we are able to properly evaluate all systems. These include, the water, electric and any gas appliances. Also make sure the water heater, furnace and other gas appliances such as fireplaces are turned on when possible.
•Have all systems turned on at the time of the inspection.
Make sure the seller has clear access to all areas such as the;
•Main water shut off
•Perimeter walls in the basement and garage (when applicable)
•Below split foyer entry landing stoops
Final Walk Through:
•When you perform your final walk through, don't be afraid to look in areas that were not accessible during the inspection for any water stains or other suspect areas
•Bring a flashlight and camera; this is the last time before you take possession of the house to identify any areas which were not accessible during the inspection. Your Realtor can advise you on this process.