Buying and selling a home can be an overwhelming experience. You have questions and we have answers. Here are some common question we receive about our services. If you still need more information, please give us a call.
Home Inspection Questions
1What 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. The standard home inspector’s report will include an evaluation of the condition of the home’s heating system, central air conditioning system, plumbing and electrical systems; the roof, attic, and visible insulation; walls, ceilings, floors, windows and doors; the foundation, and visible structure. Having a home inspected is like giving it a physical check-up. If problems or symptoms are found, the inspector will refer you to the appropriate specialist or tradesperson for further evaluation.
2Why 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 will also point out the positive aspects of a home, as well as the maintenance that will be necessary to keep it in good shape. After the inspection, you will have a much clearer understanding of the property you are about to purchase, and will be able to make a confident buying decision. If you have owned your home for a long time, a home inspection can identify problems in the making and recommend preventive measures which might avoid costly future repairs. In addition, home sellers may opt for having an inspection prior to placing the home on the market to gain a better understanding of conditions which the buyer’s inspector may point out. This provides an opportunity to make repairs that will put the house in better selling condition.
3Why you should choose to have a Professional Home Inspection?
We cannot emphasize enough the value and necessity of a professional home inspection. Many home purchasers, either in the desire to save the $200 to $500 that a good inspection costs, or due to simple ignorance, have spent enormous sums of money repairing items that any good home inspector would have pointed out. Any offer to purchase you make should be contingent upon a professional house inspection with a satisfactory report. Do not let anyone, not your family or friends, and especially not the seller or builders dissuade you from having the property thoroughly inspected! Not only will you sleep much sounder after you have moved into the house, a professional inspection can give you the ability to opt out of a contract on a defective house. If the contract is written contingent on an acceptable inspection, any defects in the home must be either repaired or monetarily compensated for. If you are not satisfied, you have the option to cancel the contract. Don’t wait until you have placed an offer on a house before you begin the search for a home inspector. There will be an option time limit in the contract designating when the inspection must be completed (typically within 7 to 10 days). If you start trying to find an inspector at that point, and may not find an acceptable one to schedule it in the necessary time frame, you will only have two choices: go with an inspector that is not your first choice, or run the risk of running past the deadline for the inspection (which could void any chance of having the seller take care of repairs). Neither is an acceptable alternative!
4What will it cost?
The inspection fee for a typical single family residence varies. The inspection fee will depend upon the size of the house, particular features of the house, its age, and possible additional services, such as swimming pools, spas, sprinkler systems or septic systems. However, 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 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.
5Do you offer discounts?
Yes, we proudly offer discounts for Military personnel and Veterans, Emergency First Responders, Teachers and Senior Citizens. Call our office for more details.
6Can I do it myself?
Even the most experienced home owner lacks the knowledge and expertise of a professional home inspector who has inspected hundreds, perhaps thousands, of homes in his or her career. An inspector is familiar with all the elements of home construction, their proper installation, and maintenance. He or she understands how the home’s systems and components are intended to function together, as well as how and why they fail. Above all, most buyers find it very difficult to remain completely objective and unemotional about the house they really want, and this may affect their judgment. For the most accurate picture, it is best to obtain an impartial third party opinion by an expert in the field of home inspection.
7Can a house fail 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 verities 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.
8Do I have to be there?
It’s not necessary for you to be present for the inspection, but it is recommended. By following the home inspector around the house, by observing and asking questions, you will learn a great deal about the condition of the home, how its systems work, and how to maintain it. You will also find the written report easier to understand if you’ve seen the property first hand through the inspector’s eyes.
9What if the report reveals problems?
No house is perfect. If the inspector finds problems, it doesn’t necessarily mean you shouldn’t buy the house, only that you will know in advance what to expect. A seller may be flexible with the purchase price or contract terms if major problems are found. If your budget is very tight, or if you don’t wish to become involved in future repair work, this information will be extremely important to you.
10What if I find problems after I move into my new home?
A home inspection is not a guarantee that problems won’t develop after you move in. However if you believe that a problem was already visible at the time of the inspection and should have been mentioned in the report, your first step should be to call and meet with the inspector to clarify the situation. Misunderstandings are often resolved in this manner. If necessary, you might wish to consult with a local mediation service to help you settle your disagreement. Though many home inspectors today carry Errors & Omissions liability insurance, litigation should be considered a last resort. It is difficult, expensive, and by no means a sure method of recovery.
11If the house proves to be in good condition, did I really need an inspection?
Definitely. Now you can complete your home purchase with peace of mind about the condition of the property and all its equipment and systems. You will also have learned a few things about your new home from the inspector’s report, and will want to keep that information for future reference. Above all, you can feel assured that you are making a well-informed purchase decision, and that you will be able to enjoy your new home the way you want to.
Finding a Home Inspector
1How do I find a home inspector?
The best source is a friend, or perhaps a business acquaintance, who has been satisfied with, and can recommend, a home inspector they have used. In addition, the names of local inspectors can be found in the Yellow Pages where many advertise under “Building Inspection Service” or “Home Inspection Service”. Real estate agents are also generally familiar with the service, and should be able to provide you with a list of names from which to choose. Whatever your referral source, be sure to ascertain the home inspector’s professional qualifications, experience, and business ethics before you make your selection. You can do this by checking with the local consumer affairs office or Better Business Bureau, as well as by verifying the inspector’s membership in a reputable professional association. The association should also have rigorous membership and continuing education requirements to assure consumers of an inspector’s experience and technical qualifications.
2When do I call in the home inspector?
A home inspector is typically called 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 an 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.
New Construction Questions
1Why do you think that home inspections are a good idea on new construction?
A lot of people believe that a new home does not need an inspection. Their thoughts is if the city inspected it, so it must be Okay or that the builder may even advertise they use a third party inspector, so if the builder inspected it too, then it must be Okay. The truth of the matter is that the builder is only as good as the contractors they hire. The job of the builder is to facilitate the process of the build and to schedule their contractors in a timely manner so the house is built in a reasonable time frame. Some are better at this than others. Most of the builders or site foremen have no idea what the codes are and do a poor job on contractor oversight. The City Inspection Process is to inspect to the City’s “Minimal Standards”. This means, they do not do a full inspection. It is totally up to the builder to build the home to the Required State Recognized Codes, Trust Me, this is never done! The builder will build to the minimal standard that will pass by the City and no more. This is more cost effective. We have been performing Phase Inspections since 2000 and we have never found a newly constructed home without unfinished components or defects that should be corrected. It is not uncommon for us to find: Gas leaks Missing Insulation HVAC Equipment Not Working Properly or Never Connected Kitchen Appliances Not Properly Installed Outlets and Fixtures Not Working Incomplete Work On The Outside Walls and Surfaces Plumbing Fixtures with the Hot and Cold Water Reversed Slow Draining Plumbing Fixtures By having a third party non-bias inspection that is performed by a code certified inspector before the builder’s final walk through will help the buyer have a complete list of what needs to be completed before they close. Once the new home has been closed on, the new homeowner will always be second to the current home the builder is trying to close. You Are Put On The Back Burner. If the new homeowner “That’s YOU”, find something wrong after they close, they will have to work with the contractors warranty department, which will result in the homeowner taking time off of work to be there when the work is performed and hope that one contractor does not blame the defect on another contractor and the warranty process is stalled while they wait to find out who is really responsible for the warranty work. This may require taking more time off work and more headaches that could have been avoided by having a third party inspection before the final walk through with the builder.