What is a home inspection?

A home inspection is an unbiased visual examination of a home’s structural components and systems, from roof to the foundation.

Why do I need a home inspection?

Buying a home is one of the biggest investments you will make in your lifetime.  Making sure it is safe for you and your family is the most important reason for having a home inspection.  Even experienced home buyers find it difficult to be completely familiar with all of the elements of a home’s proper operation – and this may lead to a poor assessment of the property’s actual market value. You need objective answers to your home inspection concerns so you can make an educated decision with confidence. A professional home inspection by INSPECT, INC. may uncover major defects and safety issues that you need to be aware of, as well as maintenance issues needing attention now or in the near future.

Examples:

  • Is a foundation crack just a shrinkage crack or evidence of a major settling issue? Does it need to be monitored, repaired or is further evaluation by a structural engineer needed? Will it cost $300.00 or $10,000.00 to repair?
  • Is there faulty or sub-standard wiring lurking in hidden spaces?
  • Are there leaking or rusted plumbing pipes?

What is covered in a home inspection?

A home inspection covers 3 areas – Major defects, safety issues, and habitability issues.  The inspection is a visual examination of all structural components including:

Foundation, basement, crawl spaces, plumbing system, electric system, heating system, central air-conditioning system, insulation and ventilation of roof and attic;  chimneys and fireplaces, interior (walls, ceilings, floors, doors, and windows), all built-in appliances, exterior (siding, trim, gutters, driveway, walks, patios, decks, and grading), garage doors and automatic openers, and a whole lot more.

For a more detailed look at what is covered visit the American Society of Home Inspectors and read the “Standards of Practice.”

Why should I have a home inspection performed on a newly constructed home?

Building codes themselves are the bare minimum required to make a home safe for occupancy.  A municipal home inspection does not test the operation of the built-in fixtures and appliances, or the function of utilities, such as water and gas.  A professional home inspector will inspect the function of all built-in appliances, check for proper ventilation in attics and crawl spaces, check the operation of plumbing, electrical, and heating systems, and so much more.

How much does a home inspection cost?

Inspection fees may vary depending on a number of factors such as the size of the house, its age, and the qualifications of the inspector.  Be careful not to let cost be a factor when deciding whether or not to have a home inspection, or deciding who to hire.  Using an inexperienced home inspector in order to save money can lead to very costly problems in the future.  Saving a little money up front on the home inspection does not pay off if an inexperienced inspector misses an issue that will cost tens of thousands in the long run.  Instead, choose an inspector based on his or her qualifications; consider years of experience, number of inspections performed, amount of training, educational background, and professional affiliations as a guide. The knowledge you acquire during a home inspection performed by INSPECT, INC. will be well worth the cost paid for the inspection.

How do I choose the best Home Inspector?

Good real estate agents and brokers know who the most thorough and competent home inspectors are and should provide a list of some of the best ones.  Family, friends and neighbors that were happy with their home inspectors are another good source.  Any home inspector chosen should be a member of the American Society of Home Inspectors.  The most important thing when hiring a home inspector is to find someone who has done a high number of inspections and has a reputation for being thorough and precise.  In short, hire the most experienced inspector you can find.

There are 10 questions that should be asked when interviewing a home inspector

Why can’t I do a home inspection myself?

Even the most experienced home owner lacks the skills and knowledge needed to perform a professional home inspection. At INSPECT, INC. we have performed thousands of inspections and have many years of experience identifying defects. We are very familiar with the many different types of building construction, installation techniques, and common flaws that can be found. We have an expert understanding of how a home’s systems and components work together.  As an objective third party, our opinions are completely unbiased, so there are no personal feelings getting in the way of our sound judgment.

I know a general contractor; can’t they do a home inspection for me?              

Building contractors understand how to build houses. They are not trained to look for damage caused by the natural aging of homes or the deterioration which may be present from years of poor maintenance.  They also are not trained to identify defective and/or improper installation of building components and the signs that those deficiencies make upon other building elements. Home inspection involves a different set of skills, practices and knowledge than what is needed in the process of building a home. The home inspection is about investigation and discovery through diagnostics and forensic analysis, while contracting is a process of mechanical skill and management.  An untrained inspector will not have the experience or knowledge needed to evaluate, for example, inadequate ventilation in attics or crawl spaces, compliance of numerous safety standards, projected life expectancies of various materials, or whether cracks in foundations are structural cracks which need to be addressed by a structural engineer.

Can a home fail a home inspection?

Home inspectors don’t pass or fail a house. We only state the physical conditions that are present and indicate any major items needing repair or replacement at the time of the inspection so the buyer can make an informed and educated choice on whether to purchase a property.

If a house is in good condition do I really need a home inspection?

Yes, many homes that appear in good condition have items which may not be visible to a home buyer.  There may be improper ventilation or missing insulation in the attic.  Perhaps a small foundation crack is seeping water and causing hidden problems.  Even an addition, remodel, or a finished basement that is not up to current standards could have latent safety issues.  For your protection get a home inspection by INSPECT, INC.