Frequently Asked Questions on Home Inspections
What is a home inspection?
Home Inspection Specialist
A home inspection is an objective visual examination of the physical structure and systems of a house, from the roof to the foundation.
What does a home inspection include?
The standard home inspector’s report will cover 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 structural components.
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.
Why do I need a home inspection?
Buying a home could be the largest single investment you will ever make. To minimize unpleasant surprises and unexpected difficulties, you’ll want to learn as much as you can about the newly constructed or existing house before you buy it. A home inspection may identify the need for major repairs or builder oversights, as well as the need for maintenance to keep it in good shape. After the inspection, you will know more about the house, which will allow you to make decisions with confidence.
If you already are a homeowner, a home inspection can identify problems in the making and suggest preventive measures that might help you avoid costly future repairs.
If you are planning to sell your home, a home inspection can give you the opportunity to make repairs that will put the house in better selling condition.
What will it cost?
The 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 on a number of factors such as the size of the house and its age.
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 sense of security and knowledge gained from an inspection is well worth the cost, and the lowest-priced inspection is not necessarily a bargain. Use the inspector’s qualifications, including experience, training, compliance with your state’s regulations, if any, and professional affiliations as a guide.
Why can't I do it myself?
Even the most experienced homeowner lacks the knowledge and expertise of a professional home inspector. An inspector is familiar with the elements of home construction, proper installation, maintenance and home safety. He or she knows how the home’s systems and components are intended to function together, as well as why they fail.
Above all, most buyers find it difficult to remain completely objective and unemotional about the house they really want, and this may have an effect on their judgment. For accurate information, it is best to obtain an impartial, third-party opinion by a professional 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 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 is CREIA?
Established in 1976, CREIA is a non-profit trade association, with chapters located throughout the state. CREIA is a member-driven, hands-on organization that provides educational programming and on-going opportunities for its members to interact at both local and statewide CREIA meetings and events. CREIA's mission is to represent the Real Estate Inspection Industry and to recognize and promote Real Estate Inspection as a unique; professional discipline.
What is ASHI?
Since 1976, ASHI has worked to build consumer awareness of home inspection and to enhance the professionalism of its membership. The ASHI Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics serves as a performance guideline for home inspectors, and is universally recognized and accepted by many professional and governmental bodies.
What is AHIT?
Since 1993, AHIT (American Home Inspectors Training) has been providing the Housing industry with leading home inspection training and support. AHIT is Recognized and approved by ASHI, NAHI, NACHI, CREIA, TREC and other professional organizations.
When do I call a home inspector?
Typically, a home inspector is contacted immediately after the contract or purchase agreement has been signed. Before you sign, be sure there is an inspection clause in the sales contract, making your final purchase obligation contingent on the findings of a professional home inspection. This clause should specify the terms and conditions to which both the buyer and seller are obligated.
Do I have to be there?
While it’s not required that you be present for the inspection, it is highly recommended. You will be able to observe the inspector and ask questions as you learn about the condition of the home and how to maintain it.
What if the report reveals problems?
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.
If the house proves to be in good condition, did I really need an inspection?
Definitely. Now you can complete your home purchase with confidence. You’ll have learned many things about your new home from the inspector’s Checklist report, and will have that information for future reference.
What is the Difference between an Inspection versus a Warranty?
A home inspection is just what the name indicated, an inspection of a home...usually a home that is being purchased. The purpose of the inspection is to determine the condition of the various systems and structure of the home. While an inspection performed by a competent inspection company will determine the condition of the major component of the home, no inspection will pick up everything minute latent defect. The inspector’s ability to find all defects is limited to access to various parts of the property, lack of information about the property and many other factors. A good inspector will do his or her best to determine the condition of the home and to report it accurately. The report that is issued is an opinion as to the condition of the home. This opinion is arrived at by the best technical methods available to the home inspection industry. It is still only an opinion.
A warranty is a policy sold to the buyer that warrants that specific items in the home are in sound condition and will remain in sound condition for a specified period of time. Typically, the warranty company never inspects the home. The warranty company uses actuarial tables to determine the expected life of the warranted items and charges the customer a fee for the warranty that will hopefully cover any projected loss and make a profit for the warranty seller. It is essentially an insurance policy.
The service that Home Inspection Specialist will provide you is an inspection. We make no warranty of this property. If you desire warranty coverage, please see your real estate agent for details about any warranty plan to which their firm may have access.