Just when you thought you had all the answers, they went and told you that you had to have a home inspection. See our Home Inspection FAQ to get some answers.
Now you’ve got a whole new set of questions. Let us try to answer the most common home inspection questions.
1. What is a “home inspection”?
A home inspection is an objective visual examination of the physical structure and systems of a home, from the roof to the foundation. Having a home inspected is like giving it a physical check-up. If problems or symptoms are found, the inspector may recommend further evaluation.
2. What will the home inspection cover?
A thorough Home Inspection covers everything from roof to the foundation.
Items included in the home inspection are:
- roof & flashings
- retaining walls
- sliding & trim
- driveways & walks
- doors & windows
- major appliances
- electrical system
- water heater
- plumbing system
- air conditioning
3. Why do I need a home inspection?
The purchase of a home is probably the largest single investment you will ever make. You should learn as much as you can about the condition of the property and the need for any major repairs before you buy, so that you can minimize unpleasant surprises and difficulties afterwards.
Of course, a home inspection also points out the positive aspects of a home, as well as the maintenance that will be necessary to keep it in good shape. After the home inspection, you will have a much clearer understanding of the property you are about to purchase.
If you are already a home owner, a home inspection may be used to identify problems in the making and to learn preventive measures which might avoid costly future repairs. If you are planning to sell your home, you may wish to have a pre-listing home inspection prior to placing your home on the market. This will give you a better understanding of conditions which may be discovered by the buyer’s home inspector, and an opportunity to make repairs that will put the house in better selling condition.
4. Do home inspectors find every problem?
A home inspection is limited to a visual inspection of the home’s components and systems. Home Inspectors do not do damage to walls or ceilings, use invasive tools or disturb personal property. Problems that cannot be seen during the extensive walk through of the property are not within the scope of a standard home inspection.
5. How do I choose a Home Inspector?
Call up the home inspector and ask about their credentials and experience. If for some reason you don’t feel comfortable asking this of the home inspector when speaking with them on the phone, then how will you feel asking questions at the home inspection? You must feel that the home inspector is qualified, experienced and attentive of your needs.
6. How Much Does A Home Inspection Cost?
The price of the home inspection varies based on the size of the home. Larger homes take longer to inspect, hence the fees for these homes are greater than those for a smaller home. However, don’t let the price of the home inspection determine whether or not you get a home inspection or the selection of your home inspector. The knowledge gained from a home inspection is well worth the cost, and the lowest priced home inspector is not necessarily a bargain. The home inspector’s qualifications, including his experience, training, and professional affiliations should be the most important consideration.
7. Why can’t I have someone in my family who is very handy or a contractor, inspect my new home?
This is the biggest mistake many potential new homeowners make when purchasing a home. Although the person you are considering may be very skilled, they are not trained or experienced at professional home inspections. Professional home inspection is a unique skill like no other. Professional home inspectors get what we call an inspector’s instinct for problems. That instinct takes extensive training and lots of experience doing home inspections to develop. Many contractors, and other trades professionals hire a professional home inspector to inspect their homes when they make a purchase.
8. Can a house fail the home inspection?
No. A professional home inspection is an examination of the current condition of your prospective home. It is not an appraisal, which determines market value, or 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 may need repair or replacement.
9. When do you get a home inspection?
A home inspector is typically contacted right after the contract or purchase agreement has been signed, and is often available within a few days. However, before you sign, be sure that there is a home inspection clause in the contract, making your purchase obligation contingent upon the findings of a professional home inspection. This clause should specify the terms to which both the buyer and seller are obligated.
10. Do I have to be there for the home inspection?
It is not necessary for you to be present for the home inspection, but it is recommended. You will be able to observe the home inspector and ask questions directly, as you learn about the condition of the home, how its systems work, and how to maintain it. You will also find the written inspection report easier to understand if you have seen the property first-hand through the home inspector’s eyes.
11. What if the home inspection report reveals problems?
No house is perfect. If the home inspector identifies problems, it does not necessarily mean you should not buy the house, only that you will know in advance what to expect. A seller may adjust the purchase price or contract terms if major problems are found. If your budget is tight, or if you don’t wish to become involved in future repair work, this information will be extremely important to you.
12. If the house proves to be in good condition, did I really need a home inspection?
Definitely. Now you can complete your home purchase with your eyes open as to the condition of the property and all its equipment and systems. You will also have learned many things about your new home from the home inspector’s written home inspection report, and will want to keep that information for future reference.
Have other questions? Send us your questions via the form, below.