Home Inspection Q&A
Frequently Asked Questions on Home Inspections
Originally published by Realty Times
by Bill Gassett
FAQ About Home Inspections
Do you know the most frequently asked questions about home inspections? Are you getting ready to buy your first home? If so, you will want to soak up everything you can about the home inspection process, especially if you're buying a fixer-upper.
In the following home inspection FAQ guide, you will get a comprehensive understanding of everything you should know about going through this vital aspect of buying a house.
The first thing you will want to understand is who pays for the home inspection.
The buyer pays for the home inspection. It's essential to be aware of that so you that you allow for this cost in your house buying budget.
Home inspections reports carried out by a professional member of the American Society of Home Inspectors are not cheap. You won't want to go through the inspection process unless you're sure that the property is the one you love.
What Is a Home Inspection?
Don’t be embarrassed to ask if you are not sure what a home inspection entails. To put it in simple terms, a home inspection involves looking over the structure of the property and all its systems.
The structure includes everything from the foundation to the roof, and everything in between that forms part of the structure of the home. The systems of the house are also included. That means the home inspector will inspect electrical wiring, plumbing, HVAC system, foundation, attic, roof, insulation, walls, ceilings, floors, windows, and doors, among many other things.
Why Do I Need to Have a Home Inspection?
The best way to answer that question is to say that the home inspection protects you as the purchaser of the property. If there any problems with any aspect of the home, it will be highlighted in the report.
If you are borrowing the money to buy the property, the lender will insist on a home inspection with certain types of mortgages. Even if you are a cash buyer, you should have a home inspection done. Waiving a home inspection becomes more commonplace in hot seller's markets, but that doesn't mean it's a smart thing to do.
Home inspections cover many different aspects of the home and can pick up problems you may not even have thought about.
Can a home fail? A home inspection is not a way of delivering a definite yes or no. It is there to give you insight into problems or issues with the home. They may not be critical, but all the same, it is crucial to be aware of issues that could cost a lot of money to get fixed, especially when buying a house that needs work.
After all, investing in a new HVAC system is not the first thing you want to do when you have moved into your dream home.
Can I Inspect the Home Myself?
No, you can’t really inspect the home yourself and produce a home inspection report. It takes experience and training to know what to look for when it comes to inspecting a home. A home inspector will not only check systems and the structural integrity of the property.
They may also suggest that you get proof from the seller that permits were pulled for any work that required them. This is just as important as all of the other checks. Many people like to add improvements and carry out work themselves, but may not be qualified. It is essential to make sure any work done is up to the required standards, so the home is safe for you to live in.
Think about it this way. If a gas main has not been hooked up correctly, it could mean the loss of your home under very tragic circumstances. Electrical wiring systems are equally important. When not installed in the right way, they can cause a fire.
Secondarily, the language in most real estate contracts will say that the home needs to be inspected by a licensed professional. It makes sense, as the seller doesn't want your Uncle Bob critiquing their home when they aren't qualified to do so.
Don't expect a seller to make repairs or grant concessions based on someone who isn't qualified for giving advice.
How Much Does a Home Inspection Cost?
Home inspections vary in price depending on the size of the home or property that you would like to buy. Pricing of home inspections can also vary depending on the state you're located in. As a ballpark estimate, you can plan on spending anywhere from five hundred to one thousand dollars.
On occasion, a home inspector may suggest calling in a specialist if there are areas of particular concerns such as roof, chimney, or foundation problems.
The cost of the inspection should not be a significant factor for picking an inspector. Saving a few hundred dollars is foolish when you're spending hundreds of thousands of dollars.
You want someone who will do an exceptional job pointing out any flaws with the property. Just like any other business, there are good and bad inspectors.
Are Home Inspections Pass or Fail?
No - absolutely not, although some inspectors are notorious for thinking they have the power to kill a sale. Unfortunately, they are correct because many home buyers feel the word of the home inspector is gospel.
Keep in mind home inspectors are human just like the rest of us. They do make mistakes. At times their delivery is not that professional either. A home inspector's job is to prevent facts about the property. It certainly is not to make you feel uncomfortable about purchasing a property that you shouldn't feel that way about.
A professional home inspection should be providing the current condition of a house. It's not an appraisal that determines the home's market value. It is also not a municipal building inspection, which verifies local code compliance.
A home inspector, therefore, will not be passing or failing a house, but rather describe its present condition as well as show you what components and systems may need significant repairs or replacement. They should not be giving their opinions on what is a home inspection deal breaker and what isn't. Great inspectors remain objective in their delivery.
How Do I Pick a Home Inspector?
When it comes to home inspections, picking the home inspector is one of the essential considerations. As mentioned above, being cheap is not a smart move when it comes to one of the most significant investments you will make in your life.
You can get recommendations from several places, including family an,d friends as well as your buyer's agent if you trust them. I don't say this lightly, but commit about doing what's best for their clients, while others care only about making a sale.
The agent who cares about putting money in their pocket will put you in contact with the least thorough inspectors. Not what you want.
When Do I Contact a Home Inspector?
After you have agreed on a purchase contract with the seller, you should reach out to home inspectors. There is typically what's known as a "contingency period" in most real estate contracts. You will have a specified amount of time, typically seven to ten days, to satisfy the contingency. There is also usually a time frame in which you must respond after the home inspection has been conducted.
Do I Need to be at The Home Inspection?
It is not mandatory for a buyer to be at a home inspection, but none the less certainly a good idea. When you are in person, you'll get a much better feel for what is a real issue and what isn't. There is nothing better than seeing problems first hand. Sure, you will get a report detailing the problems, but I can tell you from experience that inspection reports always look far worse than the actual issue.
A home inspection is also very educational. An outstanding inspector will not only point out flaws but also go over many vital facets of the components and how they operate.
Should My Real Estate Agent Be at The Home Inspection?
Absolutely! Your real estate agent is being paid a ton of money. Part of their job is to represent you throughout the sale. How can they possibly represent you well if they are not in attendance? The short answer is they CAN'T.
Whether the real estate agent is representing the buyer or the seller, they should be there. When it comes time to negotiate, do you want someone who was there first hand to see the problem, or do you want to be explaining it to them? I think you know the answer.
Lots of real estate agents will make excuses about why they don't attend inspections. The best agents do. Don't forget this FAQ when you are interviewing a buyer's agent to work with.
What is ASHI?
I keep seeing some inspectors are associated with ASHI, and others are not. Many folks ask what does ASHI stands for? It stands for The American Society of Home Inspectors. The organization follows a strict code of ethics, much as a Realtor does.
ASHI is an organization of independent, professional home inspectors who must make a commitment, to conduct inspections by the ASHI Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics. They are prohibited from engaging in conflict-of-interest activities that might compromise their objectivity.
To become an ASHI Certified Inspector, you must meet rigorous requirements, including passing a comprehensive, written exam as well as conducting a minimum of 250 professional, fee-paid home inspections by the ASHI Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics.
In addition, mandatory continuing education is required to stay current with the latest in technology, materials, and professional skills.
Can I Ask The Inspector Questions?
Yes, you should ask questions to your home inspector and make sure that you understand the report. If there are any aspects of the report you feel are unclear, don’t be afraid to ask. It is your money and you should make sure you are thoroughly familiar with the investment you are making.
Make sure the home inspector you contract is qualified. Finding one is easy. Ask your friends or do an online search for a local home inspection service. All home inspectors should work to a certain code of ethics and standards and belong to a professional trade organization such as ASHI.
Hopefully, these frequently asked home inspection questions have been helpful.