Don't be caught
by unwanted surprises when you're buying
Q. WHAT IS A "HOME INSPECTION"?
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 (temperature permitting),
interior plumbing and electrical systems; the roof, attic, and visible
insulation; walls, ceilings, floors, windows and doors; the foundation,
basement, and visible structure.
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.
Q. Why do I need a home inspection?
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.
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
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
Q. What will it cost?
inspection fee for a typical one©family house varies geographically,
as does the cost of housing. Similarly, within a given area, the inspection
fee may vary depending upon the size of the house, particular features
of the house, its age, and possible additional services, such as septic,
well, or radon testing. It is a good idea to check local prices on your
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.
Q. Can't I do it myself?
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.
all, most buyers find it very difficult to remain completely objective
and unemotional about the house they really want, and this may affect their
judgement. For the most accurate picture, it is best to obtain an impartial
third©party opinion by an expert in the field of home inspection.
Q. Can a house fail inspection?
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.
Q. How do I find a home inspector?
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.
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.
there are no licensing requirements for home inspectors [except in Texas],
you will want to make certain that such an association has a set of nationally
recognized practice standards and a code of ethics. This provides members
with professional inspection guidelines, and prohibits them from engaging
in any conflict of interest activities which might compromise their objectivity,
such as using the inspection as a means to obtain home repair contracts.
association should also have rigorous membership and continuing education
requirements to assure consumers of an inspector's experience and technical
Q. When do I call in the home inspector?
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.
Q. Do I have to be there?
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.
Q. What if the report reveals problems?
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.
Q. If the house proves to be in
good condition, did I really need an inspection?
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.
your next home!!!
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