Home Inspections FAQ
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. The inspection will allow you to gain valuable information about the largest purchase of your life. A home inspection is the equivalent of a physical examination from your doctor. When problems or symptoms of problems are found, the inspector may recommend further evaluation or remedies.
WHY DO I NEED A HOME INSPECTION? A home inspection is an essential step in the buying process to determine the condition and safety of your purchase. A sound home inspection provides you with the information necessary to make an educated home purchase decision and increases your understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of the home. It also helps determine any major visible defects or system inadequacies at the time of purchase, reducing any unpleasant surprises or insurmountable financial burdens in the future.
WHAT DOES A HOME INSPECTION INCLUDE? A standard home inspection summarizes findings from a visual inspection of the condition of the home’s heating system, central air conditioning systems (temperature permitting), interior plumbing and electrical systems; roof, attic, and visible insulation; walls, ceilings, floors, windows and doors; foundation, basement, and the visible structures of the home. 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.
WHAT IS ASHI? ASHI is an organization of independent, professional home inspectors who are required to make a commitment, to conduct inspections in accordance with the ASHI Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics, which prohibits engaging in conflict-of-interest activities that might compromise their objectivity. ASHI Certified Inspector meet rigorous requirements, including passing a comprehensive, written technical exam and performing a minimum of 250 professional, fee-paid home inspections and mandatory continuing education to stay current with the latest in technology, materials, and professional skills.
DO I HAVE TO BE THERE? While it’s not required that you be present for the inspection, at Mirowski Inspections, we recommend it. You will be able to observe and ask questions as you learn about the condition of the home and how to maintain it.
WHAT DO I DO ABOUT PROBLEMS FOUND DURING AN INSPECTION? 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. You should discuss the issues with your real estate agent and determine if the issues are easily fixed and don’t diminish the value of the property. Any major issues should be fixed by a qualified contractor.
CAN A HOUSE FAIL AN 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.
WHAT WILL IT COST? Inspection fees for a typical single family home vary by size and features of the property, and age of the home. Additionally, services such as septic inspections and radon testing may be warranted depending upon the individual property. Prices vary. Still, do not let the cost deter you from having a home inspection or selecting an inspector you are comfortable with. Choose a home inspector based on his ability. The substance should be measured in quality of content. A thorough and experienced home inspector is the best route to take. The knowledge gained from an inspection is well worth the time and expense.
Be sure ask the following:
- What training and certifications does the company have?
- What technologies does the company utilize?
- Does the company carry Agent indemnification, workers compensation, as well as business liability insurance?
- Does the company carry active licenses required for services?
There is always an inspector that will do an inspection for “$50 less than everyone else”. The consequence is that you may get a second rate inspection. The fact is that most properties require at least two hours inspecting properly. A larger home or a home in really poor condition may take 3 + hours. The low-cost inspector isn’t going to spend this amount of time. Make sure your inspector carries insurance, certification, and invests in growing and new technologies to provide you the best inspections available. If you want to have only the best inspection possible, you need a company that works for you.
WHAT REALLY MATTERS?
Relax. Most of your inspection will be maintenance recommendations, life expectancy and minor imperfections. These are nice to know about. However, the issues that really matter will fall into four categories:
- Major defects. An example of this would be a structural failure.
- Things that lead to major defects. A small roof-flashing leak, for example.
- Things that may hinder your ability to finance, legally occupy, or insure the home.
- Safety hazards, such as an exposed live wire.
The knowledge gained from an inspection is well worth the cost, and the lowest-priced inspector is not necessarily a bargain. The inspector’s qualifications, including his experience, training, and professional affiliations, should be the most important consideration.
A home inspection is to provide you with a better understanding of the physical condition of the home in order to make a well-informed
decision. It is not a guarantee or warranty against possible future repairs.
Not a Pass or Fail
A home inspector, will not pass or fail a house, but rather describe its physical condition and indicate what may need repair or replacement. Remember:
- The home inspection is not intended to point out every small problem or defect in a home.
- Minor or cosmetic flaws should be apparent without the aid of a professional.
- The home inspector is providing observations or recommendations to help you dispel home purchase anxieties and provide useful repair suggestions.
- Sometimes inspectors are prevented from seeing everything because of physical obstructions, weather conditions, and hidden problems.