WHAT 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. Having a home inspected is like giving it a physical check-up. If problems or symptoms are found, the inspector may recommend further evaluation. The standard home inspector's report will review 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. 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 also points 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.If you are already a home owner, a home inspection may be used to identify problems in the making and to learn preventive measures which might avoid costly future repairs. If you are planning to sell your home, you may wish to have an inspection prior to placing your home on the market. This will give you a better understanding of conditions which may be discovered by the buyer's inspector, and an 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 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 own.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. 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 verifies 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.
WHAT IF THE REPORT REVEALS PROBLEMS?
No house is perfect. If the inspector identifies 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 adjust the purchase price or contract terms if major problems are found. If your budget is tight, or if you don't wish to become involved in future repair work, this information will be extremely important to you.
IF THE HOUSE PROVES TO BE IN GOOD CONDITION, DID I REALLY NEED AN INSPECTION?
Definitely. Now you can complete your home purchase with your eyes open as to the condition of the property and all its equipment and systems. You will also have learned many things about your new home from the inspector's written report, and will want to keep that information for future reference.
Andy's Eagle Eye Home Inspections LLC
Please contact us to schedule your Inspection
The Limitations of a Home Inspection.
The Home Inspection Defined
A general home inspection is a visual inspection for system and
major accessible component defects and safety issues. The inspection is
not technically exhaustive. A "general home inspection" and a "home
inspection" are the same thing.
A home inspection is designed to reflect, as accurately as
possible, the visible condition of the home at the time of the
inspection. Conditions at a home for sale can change radically in only a
day or two, so a home inspection is not meant to guarantee what
condition a home will be in when the transaction closes. It’s not
uncommon for conditions to change between the time of the inspection and
the closing date.
Above: an overloaded outlet with no cover
It’s a Visual Inspection
A “visual” inspection means that a home inspection report is limited
to describing conditions in those parts of a home that an inspector can
see during the inspection. Obviously, parts of the home that are
permanently hidden by wall, ceiling and floor coverings are excluded,
but so are parts of the home that were inaccessible during the
inspection for some other reason. Some reasons might include lack of an
access point, such as a door or hatch, or a locked access point, or
because an occupant’s belongings blocked access, or because of dangerous
or unsanitary conditions.
There can be many more reasons. The point is that if an inspector
can’t see a portion of the home, the inspector can’t assume
responsibility for ensuring that a safe and proper condition exists or
that systems are operating properly in that hidden space.
Safety can be a matter of perception. Some conditions, such
as exposed electrical wiring, are obviously unsafe. Other
conditions, such as the presence of mold, aren’t as clear-cut.
In the example of the possible existence of mold, it's difficult to
accurately call it out during a general home inspection because
mold sometimes grows in places where it can’t be readily seen, such as
inside walls, making its discovery beyond the scope of the inspection.
Also, the dangers to human health are from the inhalation of spores from
Most people with healthy immune systems have little or no problem
with inhaling spores. A few people whose immune systems are compromised
by lung disease, asthma or allergies can develop serious or even fatal
fungal infections from mold spore levels that wouldn’t affect most
people. Every home has mold and mold colonies can grow very quickly,
given the right conditions. Mold can be a safety concern, but it often
isn’t. The dangers represented by mold are a controversial subject.
Other potential safety issues also fall into this category.
Above: the cutting torch and gutter system of roof drainage management
Although the majority of the inspection is visual, the InterNACHI
Standards of Practice do require inspectors to operate space and water
heating equipment, and air-conditioning equipment, if it can be done
without damaging the equipment.
Inspectors will also examine the major accessible components of
certain systems as required by the Standards of Practice. Furnace air
filters are one example.
A home inspection is not technically exhaustive, meaning that systems
or components will not be disassembled as part of the inspection. For
example, an inspector will not partially disassemble a furnace to more
accurately check the condition of the heat exchanger. Inspectors
typically disclaim heat exchangers.
Asbestos, mold, lead, water purity, and other environmental issues or
potential hazards typically require a specialist inspection, and may
additionally require laboratory analysis.
Home Inspectors are Generalists
Home inspectors are not experts in every home system but are
generalists trained to recognize evidence of potential problems in the
different home systems and their major components. Inspectors need to
know when a problem is serious enough to recommend a specialist
inspection. Recommendations are often made for a qualified
contractor, such as a plumber or electrician, and sometimes for a
Above: the result of subfloor movement
Very few home inspectors have been in the inspection industry for
their entire working lives. According to an InterNACHI poll, about
half the home inspectors have a background in the building trades. Those
with a construction background started with a general idea of the
systems and components that they might find installed, as well as how
those systems age and fail.
This doesn’t mean that inspectors with a background in something
other than the building trades are not qualified -- only that they
started in the inspection industry at a relative disadvantage. Building
the skills and developing the judgment to consistently recognize and
interpret evidence correctly and make appropriate recommendations are
things that can be improved with practice and continuing education.
Above: improper electrical splice
Part of a home inspector’s job is to manage the
expectations of their client. This is especially true when a client has
never dealt with a home inspector before. Explaining the limitations of a
home inspection to a client will help them develop realistic
expectations concerning what to expect from a home inspection report,
and what lies beyond the scope of the inspection.
When a home buyer is interviewing inspectors, the buyer should ask about how the inspector handles special safety concerns.
Disclaimers are portions of an inspection agreement or
report in which an inspector notifies the client that the inspector will
not accept the responsibility for confirming the condition of a portion
of the home or of a particular system or component.
Creating realistic expectations in a client’s mind
will help prevent misunderstandings and promote smooth real estate