What is a home inspection?
Buying a home is the largest single investment most people will ever make. To minimize unpleasant surprises, difficulties and expenses, you’ll want to learn as much as you can about your new home before you buy it. A home inspection is an objective visual, non invasive examination of the physical structure and systems of a house by a impartial 3rd party. Identifying and documenting the systems and components of the house from the roof to the foundation.
A home inspection may identify safety issues, the need for major repairs of systems or their components that are reaching the end of their useful life; putting you the homebuyer, in a better position to make decisions with confidence.
Understand what a home inspector is. Look at a home inspector kinda like your primary doctor – if they find that something is not right with your heart, they’re not a cardiologist, so they will refer you to one. The same thing is true with your home inspector. I know alot about your electrical system, but I’m not an electrician. I’ll know if something is wrong, but I will refer you to the specialist (in this scenario an electrician) to get a full rundown of the issue and repair cost.
What does a home inspection include?
The standard home inspector’s report will cover the condition of the home’s heating system; central air conditioning system (temperature permitting); interior plumbing and electrical systems; the roof, attic and visible insulation; walls, ceilings, floors, windows and doors; the foundation, basement and structural components.The American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) publishes a Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics that outlines what you should expect to be covered in your home inspection report.
Can a house fail a home inspection?
No. A professional home inspection is an examination of the current condition of a house. It is not an appraisal, which determines market value. It is not a municipal inspection, which verifies local code compliance. A home inspector, therefore, will not pass or fail a house, but rather describe its physical condition and indicate what components and systems may need major repair or replacement.
Why can’t I do it myself?
Even the most experienced homeowner or contractor lacks the knowledge and expertise of a professional home inspector. Your home inspector has been trained to systematically inspect all the components of your home, is familiar with the elements of home construction, proper installation, maintenance and home safety. He or she knows how the home’s systems and components are intended to function together, as well as why they fail.
Above all, most buyers find it difficult to remain completely objective and unemotional about the house they really want, and this may have an effect on their judgment. For accurate information, it is best to obtain an impartial, objective, third-party opinion by a professional in the field of home inspection.
How long will it take and what will it cost?
These will vary from inspector to inspector and from house to house. Houses with a lot of components, for example – multiple heating /cooling systems, they will all have to be inspected. Older homes generally take more time than newer homes and most importantly, how many questions you have and how thorough is your inspector. I will typically take 3-5 hours, I want you to be engaged as possible so I can answer all of your questions. Do not let cost be a factor in deciding whether or not to have a home inspection or in the selection of your home inspector. The sense of security and knowledge gained from an inspection is well worth the cost, and the lowest-priced inspection is not necessarily a bargain. Use the inspector’s qualifications, including experience, training, compliance with your state’s regulations, if any, and professional affiliations as a guide.
When will I get my report ?
Some Inspectors will give you their report at the end of the inspection, this also means there stopping and filling in the report during the inspection. Most inspectors I know (including me) take notes and write the report in their office, then review it to make sure they didn’t miss anything. For me if the inspection is in the morning with an average number of issues, I will have the report out that evening, otherwise I’ll send it the next morning.
When do I call a home inspector?
Once you sign your contract you will only have 7-10 days to complete your inspection, review the report and respond to the seller. You should consider interviewing and choosing your inspector early in the buying process as once you sign a contract you will have a limited time to do so. It’s seldom a home inspector has anything scheduled more than 2 weeks out.
Do I have to be there? Can I bring the kids, friends ?
While it’s not required that you be present for the inspection, it is highly recommended. Part of the inspection is to learn all there is to know about your new home. You will be able to observe your inspector and ask questions as you learn about the condition of the home and how to maintain it. While this is a long and boring process, it is also an extremely important. Children often don’t have the attention span for this and usually get cranky before I’m done. If at all possible leave them with a family member or friend, They can see their new room later. Friends and family are generally a distraction. If they’re not there to be involved in the process and to help you later with anything you may have forgotten (I will always be there to answer your questions, the inspection is just the beginning of our relationship). Show them the house later.
What if the report reveals problems?
No house is perfect. If the inspector identifies problems, it doesn’t mean you should or shouldn’t buy the house, only that you will know in advance what to expect. If your budget is tight, or if you don’t want to become involved in future repair work, this information will be important to you. If major problems are found, a seller may agree to make repairs.
If the house proves to be in good condition, did I really need an inspection?
Definitely. Now you can complete your home purchase with confidence. You’ll have learned many things about your new home from the inspector’s written report, and will have that information for future reference.
Why do I need a home inspection?
If you already are a homeowner, a home inspection can identify problems in the making and suggest preventive measures that might help you 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 put the house in better selling condition.
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Thanks so much – Dan Dodge
Hi, I’m Daniel Dodge, Owner and Inspector at Top Notch Home Inspections.
I want to help you choose your home inspector. Buying your home is likely the largest transaction you will ever be involved in – you want to do it right the first time.
I want to make sure you are armed with the information you need, no matter which inspector you choose to work with.
It’s worthwhile to take a little time and choose the right inspector.
Many realtors will want you to use “their guy”. The question is who is “their guy” working for? A good realtor will have your back and recommend a very good inspector. And should this house not be the one, they’ll keep looking until they find your HOME.
Some realtors on the other hand want an “inspection lite” to close the deal. Either way you will want to interview the inspector you are going to use. Is this the right guy/gal for you?
Ask them lots of questions and “chat” with them a while. This is a good way of getting to know someone – talk to them! How well do you interact with them during your talk? If they don’t have time for your questions now, how will they have time for you later? If they are performing an inspection when you call them, they should ask to call you back – that’s not only ok, but good. Their priorities are on the house they’re inspecting NOW !
Here’s a sample of some questions to ask:
Why should I hire you? When I get asked this question, I answer – Because I work for you and I want you to understand your new home before you buy it!
What is there professional background? Were they a tradesman? Do they understand houses from the inside out?
Are they active in professional organizations?
How do they get their Continuing Education credits? and how much time do they spend on improving their knowledge.
What does there report look like? Can you review a sample copy? Is it easy to understand? Is finding the major issues easy?
How do they inspect roofs – do they walk on them or use binoculars?
Do they crawl in the crawlspace?
How long will the inspection take? I will typically take between 3-5 hours.
Ask the inspector if they go above and beyond the standards of practice!
Does the inspector encourage you to follow him/her around and ask questions? You can learn more about your new home and how to keep it in good shape from an inspector than from anywhere else. A good inspector will want you there because it’s critical to a thorough understanding of the house.
Are they patient with your questions? Do they sound knowledgeable? Do they answer you in terms you can understand?
Your inspector should tell you everything there is to know about your new home, while some of which you may not want to hear. Our job is for you to know now, rather than the hard way, after you’ve moved in.
For my answers to these questions and more, explore my website or better yet give me a call. I would love to talk with you.
Call Dan at 301-487-3933.