What is a home inspection?

A home inspection is an examination of a home by an objective inspector who inspects a home from roof to foundation. A home inspector can be considered the equivalent of a doctor, only instead of you receiving an exam, your house does. When problems or symptoms of problems are found, the inspector may recommend further evaluation making the home inspection cost well worth it.

Why do I need a home inspection?

The purchase of a home is 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 to minimize unpleasant surprises and difficulties afterwards. A home inspection can also point out the positive aspects of a home. After the inspection, you will have a much clearer understanding of the house 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 preventative 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.

How do I find a home inspector?

Word of mouth, the experiences and referrals from friends and neighbors is one of the best ways to find a home inspector. Someone who has used a home inspection service and is satisfied with the level of customer service and professionalism of that service will likely recommend a qualified professional. You can also go to the American Society of Home Inspectors® (ASHI) website to search for one as well. They have listings of home inspectors broken down into geographical areas.

How do I choose a home inspector from the listings?

Regardless of your referral source, make sure that the home inspector is a member of the American Society of Home Inspectors® (ASHI). A list of ASHI members in your area is available upon request from the Association’s website. In addition, check to make sure that the inspector has addtitional credentials and experience.

What qualifications should I look for in a home inspector?

You should make sure that the inspector is a member of ASHI, also check to ensure that if he/she is performing Radon testing that they are certified. Check for any other certifications they may have. If their website, pamphlets, or business cards do not list their qualifications, ask. If they cannot provide a listing of their qualifications, do not hire them to inspect your property.

How long will the inspection take?

A standard home inspection can take roughly between 2-4 hours. However, inspections can take longer should any problems arise.

When do I call in the home inspector?

You should contact a home inspector as soon as you find a house you would like to purchase or if you are interested in selling your current one. A home inspector is aware of the time constraints with closing a house and will inspect your house in a timely and efficient manner.

How will the inspection help me determine the condition of the home?

During the course of the inspection, the inspector will explain the condition of the property. After the inspection if performed according to the standards of the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI), the inspector will provide you witha customized report so you can make an informed decision on purchasing or listing the property.

What will it cost?

Inspection fees for a typical single family home vary by geography, size and features of the property, and age of the home. Additionally, services such as septic inspections and radon testing may be warranted depending upon the individual property. Prices vary. It is a good idea to compare prices. but do not let the cost deter you from having a home inspection or selecting an inspector you are comfortable with – knowledge gained from an inspection is well worth the time and expense. The lowest-priced inspector is not necessarily a bargain. The inspector’s qualifications, including experience, training, and professional affiliations, should be the most important consideration in your selection.

Can’t I do it myself?

Most home buyers find it very difficult to remain completely objective and unemotional about the house they really want to purchase. Even the most experienced home owner lacks the knowledge and expertise of a professional home inspector.

Can a house fail inspection?

No. A professional home inspection is an examination of the current condition of your home. It is not an appraisal, which determines market value, or a municipal inspection, which verifies compliance to local codes and standards. A home inspector will not pass or fail a house. A home inspection describes the physical condition of a property and indicates what may need repair or replacement.

Why can’t I have someone I know who is a contractor or handyman do the inspection for me?

The main problem with having a handyman or contractor do the inspection is that they are not a professional home inspector. It would be like asking a nurse to perform a complete exam on a patient. Nurses aren’t certified to perform a comprehensive exam just like a handyman is not certified to properly inspect a house. There could be things that they miss that would hinder a possible sale or cause problems in the future.

What if I have questions after the inspection?

We will be more than happy to answer any questions you may have before, during, and after the inspection.

How long do I wait before receiving a report?

A personalized report can be expected within 24-48 hours. Most of the waiting time is due to waiting for the mail to arrive.

Do I have to be there?

While it is not necessary for you to be present, it is always recommended that you make time to join the inspector for their visit. This allows you to observe the inspector, ask questions as you learn about the condition of the home, how its systems work, and how to maintain them. After you have seen the property with the inspector, you will find the written report easier to understand.

What if the report reveals problems?

No house is perfect. When the inspector identifies problems, it does not indicate you should not buy the house. The findings serve to educate you in advance of the purchase about the condition of the property. A seller may adjust the purchase price or contract terms if major problems are discovered during an inspection. If your budget is tight, or if you do not want to be involved in future repair work, this information will be extremely valuable.

What is the American Society of Home Inspectors®?

The American Society of Home Inspectors® (ASHI) is the oldest and most widely recognized non-profit professional association for independent home inspectors. ASHI’s professional Code of Ethics prohibits members from engaging in conflict of interest activities, which may compromise their objectivity. This is the assurance to the consumer that the inspector will not, for example, use the inspection to solicit or refer repair work. ASHI sponsors continuing education, technical seminars and workshops and serves the public interest by providing accurate and helpful consumer information to home buyers on home purchasing and home maintenance.

Who belongs to ASHI?

Members of ASHI are independent professional home inspectors who have met the most rigorous technical and experience requirements in the industry.

If the house proves to be in good condition, did I really need an inspection?

Yes. Now you can complete your home purchase with confidence about the condition of the property and all its equipment and systems. From the inspection, you will have learned many things about your new home, and will want to keep that information for future reference.