Home Inspection Frequently Asked Questions

A home inspection is a limited, non-invasive examination of the condition of a home, often in connection with the sale of that home. Home inspections are conducted by a home inspector who has the training and certifications to perform such inspections. The inspector prepares and delivers to the client a written report of findings. The client then uses the knowledge gained to make informed decisions about their pending real estate purchase.

If you’re buying a house and trying to decide if you should get a home inspection, the answer is YES. In today’s market it’s not uncommon for people to forgo a home inspection in order to make their offer more appealing to the seller, but this is a huge gamble. You may get the house, but you might also get a whole host of unexpected and expensive problems with it. If you want to decrease your chances of getting burned when buying a home, an inspection is key.

If you’re buying a home, you want to make sure that the residence doesn’t come with any costly surprises. If the home inspection does find expensive problems, you can ask the sellers to reduce the asking price, make the fixes themselves or provide you with a credit at closing so you can hire someone on your own to repair the problems.

While the average home inspection costs for a single-family home will generally run $400 to $600, just keep in mind that the exact price will depend on a number of factors, inlcuding the size of your home, where you live, and what you want inspected. But all in all, rest assured—the cost of a home inspection is a drop in the bucket compared with the financial agony these inspections can save you down the road.

There are a number of variables that can affect the duration of a home inspection, such as the size of a home, the systems that need to be inspected, and the overall condition of a property. The more issues that are found within your home, the longer it will take for the inspection to be completed. A normal home inspection should take anywhere from 3-4 hours, but it’s essential that you don’t consider this to be a rigid indicator of how long your home inspection will take. Smaller homes may take a lower amount of time to complete, but don’t expect it to take less than two hours or more than six.

The buyer is usually responsible for paying for the home inspection, although this is negotiable, and inspection fees can be wrapped into closing costs if the seller agrees. What’s most important, however, is that the buyer should be the person to select the home inspector, oversee their involvement, and receive their initial report. Buyers take on a huge amount of risk when investing in a home they know little about. The home inspector is their ally, helping them see things they would otherwise miss as they progress through their homebuying journey.

State laws, including seller disclosure laws, are the only instance where a seller is obligated to pay for repairs after a home inspection. For everything else, it’s up to the negotiations between the buyer and seller, and who pays for what depends on what is decided after the inspection report comes in.

Although not required, sellers sometimes get a home inspection before listing their home to avoid surprises during the transaction. Regardless of how long you’ve lived in your home or how old it is, there could be unknown issues lurking under the surface that could derail a sale.

A home inspector’s checklist is exceedingly thorough, anything and everything that has anything and everything to do with the house, we observe, evaluate, and then report on. However, there are 7 major issues that home inspectors look for: Water Damage, Home’s Structural Integrity, Damage to the Roof, Problems with the Home’s Electrical System, Plumbing Related Problems, Insect and Pest Infestations, and Trouble with the Home’s HVAC System.

The home inspections will take an in depth look into most all components in the house, but if any particular item has a larger potential issue, the inspector may refer you to a licensed specialist in that field for a more detailed examination.

So before the digital age, you would have gotten a printed report with photos and descriptions that might feel like a small book. But today, you will get a digital report with the same description and photos, but now you can get videos as well. And if requested an additional inspections such as termite or thermal for example, those will come as additional reports. Also, if you are able to attend the inspection, you can get a verbal report and walk through of the major findings.

Clients are welcome and even encouraged to attend the inspection. Many things on the report are more clear with an onsite explanation. We do however prefer clients to come towards the end of the inspection so we can have everything looked for a more thorough explanation afterwards.

Even if your home inspection turns up clean, it is nice to have that peace of mind. It can seem like an unnecessary expense, especially when your new home purchase is already squeezing your budget. However, the cost of a home inspection is worth it. It is better to pay $400–$500 for a report you don't need, than to skip it and pay $3,000 for a new roof within a year of buying your new home.

No. A home inspection is let you know the condition of the home and its components. A separate appraisal in the buying process will be done to determine value, and this will have nothing to do with the inspection.

While using your agent's recommended inspector is debated, there are pros and cons to both options. Your agent's recommendation will be someone they have worked with in the past and trust, but some people have concern the inspector may be working to help make the sale and not for the house. Finding your own inspector is good, but more of a gamble as their work is unknown. The best option is to take the recommendations and do your own research. Choose the inspector who you feel most comfortable with and that will help you through this process.

No, inspectors are typically forbidden from repairing homes they have inspected. Many national home inspection associations, including the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) and the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI) consider doing repairs on the side to be violations of their codes of ethics. According to ASHI, “Inspectors shall not repair, replace, or upgrade, for compensation, systems or components covered by ASHI Standards of Practice, for one year after the inspection.”

While not required, you should absolutely get an inspection on a new build, in fact 3 inspections is ideal. Much like with any new product, you want to know its been tested and proven before you take possession. New construction inspections as the house is built is best in 3 phases. 1) when the foundation is being poured. 2) before the drywall is up, to be able to see plumbing and electrical before its enclosed. 3) Final walk-through inspection of everything working together.

Yes! Unfortunately, even a new home can have flaws, sometime major ones. And a local government inspection doesn't guarantee the quality or the work or verify that everything has been built according to plan - it only verifies that certain minimum standards have been met. And when you've got several hundred thousand dollars tied up in a new home, "minimum" is not what you want.

There is no legal obligation to get an inspection, but no matter how badly you want the property or how emotionally attached you are to it, you don’t want to buy a home without having it thoroughly inspected. Just imagine six months down the road, when you’ve closed on the sale and moved into your new home. You will kick yourself when you go to turn the AC on and realize it doesn’t work — and the fix is $20,000.

Most of the time, the purchase contract will allow you an “out” if, after completing your home inspection, you decide the house just isn't right for you. If you are past the inspection deadline, however, it is possible that your earnest money might not be refundable. So basically, make sure everything is done in a timely manner to avoid potential issues.

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