What is a home inspection?
A home inspection is an objective visual examination of the physical structure and systems of a home, from roof to foundation. A home inspection report or home inspection service is the equivalent of a physical examination from your doctor. When problems or symptoms of problems are found, the inspector may suggest repair options or recommend further evaluation, making the home inspection cost justified.
Why do I need a home inspection?
A home inspection summarizes the condition of a property, points out the need for major repairs and identifies areas that may need attention in the near future. Buyers depend on an accurate home inspection to maximize their knowledge of the property in order to make intelligent decisions before finalizing an agreement for sale or purchase.
A home inspection points out the positive aspects of a home, as well as the maintenance that will be necessary to keep it in good shape. After an inspection, both parties have a much clearer understanding of the value and needs of the property.
For homeowners, an inspection may be used to identify problems in the making and to learn about preventive measures, which might avoid costly future repairs. If you are planning to sell your home, an inspection prior to placing your home on the market provides a better understanding of conditions which may be discovered by the buyer’s inspector, and provides you an opportunity to make repairs that will make your home more desirable to potential buyers.
What will it cost?
Do not let the cost deter you from having a home inspection or selecting an inspector you are comfortable with – knowledge gained from an inspection is well worth the time and expense. The lowest-priced inspector is not necessarily a bargain. The inspector’s qualifications, including experience, training, and professional affiliations, should be the most important consideration in your selection. If problems are found you may be able to have the seller complete the repairs before settlement saving you money. These repairs typically cost more than the home inspection fee making the inspection pay for itself.
Can I do it myself?
Even the most experienced homeowner lacks the knowledge and expertise of a professional home inspector. A professional home inspector has the experience, depth of knowledge and training to make an unbiased and informed report of the condition of a property. An inspector is familiar with the many elements of home construction, their proper installation and maintenance. An inspector understands how the home’s systems and components are intended to function together, as well as how and why they fail and knows what to look for and is uniquely suited to interpret what their findings reveal about the condition of the property.
Most buyers find it difficult to remain objective and unemotional about the house they really want, and this may affect their judgment. For the most accurate information about the condition of a home, always obtain an impartial third-party opinion by an expert in the field of home inspection.
Can a house fail a home inspection?
No. A professional home inspection is an examination of the current condition of your home. It is not an appraisal, which determines market value, or a municipal inspection, which verifies compliance to local codes and standards. A home inspector will not pass or fail a house. A home inspection describes the physical condition of a property and indicates what may need repair or replacement.
Why choose a certified home inspector?
Members of ASHI (American Society of Home Inspectors) are independent professional home inspectors who have met technical and experience requirements in the industry. Prospective ASHI members must pass two written technical examinations, must have performed a minimum of 250 professional fee-paid home inspections, and must maintain their candidate status for no less than six months. ASHI members are required to follow the Society’s Code of Ethics, and to obtain continuing education credits in order to keep current with the latest in building technology, materials, and professional skills.
When do I call in the home inspector?
Before you sign the contract or purchase agreement, make 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. Contact a home inspector immediately after the contract or purchase agreement has been signed. Home inspectors are aware of the time constraints involved in purchase agreements and most are available to conduct the required inspection within a few days.
Do I have to be there?
While it is not necessary for you to be present, it is always recommended that you make time to join the inspector for their visit. This allows you to observe the inspector, ask questions as you learn about the condition of the home, how its systems work, and how to maintain them. After you have seen the property with the inspector, you will find the written report easier to understand.
What if the report reveals problems?
No house is perfect. When the inspector identifies problems, it does not indicate you should not buy the house. His findings serve to educate you in advance of the purchase about the condition of the property. A seller may make necessary repairs or may adjust the purchase price or contract terms if major problems are discovered during an inspection. If your budget is tight, or if you do not want to be involved in future repair work, this information will be extremely valuable.
If the house proves to be in good condition, did I really need an inspection?
Yes. Now you can complete your home purchase with confidence about the condition of the property and all its equipment and systems. From the inspection, you will have learned many things about your new home, and will want to keep that information for future reference.
Since I am getting a FHA loan, don’t I already have a warranty on the house form FHA?
FHA insures the lender against default by the borrower. FHA does not guarantee the value or condition of the property for the borrower. If you find problems with the property after loan closing, FHA cannot give or lend you money to repair the house or buy the home back from you. We suggest a home inspection to reduce the chance of problems before closing the loan.
To get the loan, the lender had to have the house appraised. Can’t an appraisal be considered a home inspection?
No. An appraisal is an estimated market value of the property and is used to set the maximum amount the lender will lend on the property. The appraiser does not perform a home inspection they just provide a value of the property. As in anything else, it pays to get an opinion from someone who has the proper credentials, training, and experience.
What exactly does a home inspection provide?
We work for you, not the seller or agents. A home inspection provides an impartial, in-depth, evaluation of the physical condition of the property. The inspector also identifies items that need replacement or repair, and the life expectancy of the equipment and components in the house. For example, the report could tell you the roof currently looks OK and should last another 3-5 years but it has three layers of shingles. So, the next time the roof is re-shingled, the expense will be significantly more than replacing a typical roof due to the additional labor required to remove all previous layers of shingle. Thus, a well-done inspection will aid the buyer in planning and budgeting for future home repairs.