Home Inspection Misconceptions

What To Expect: Home buyers sometimes buy their home in on impulse. Home inspectors can help home buyers avoid buyers remorse by reporting on home defects and problems before the home buyer finds them after closing. Professional home inspectors assist home buying clients with the tools they need to make an educated choice regarding the quality and condition of their potential new home. Home buyers must take care to hire the most experienced home inspector they can afford and make sure the person they hire has their best interest solely in mind. Inspectors who rely on realtors for referrals sometimes have moral dilemmas.

Buyers Benefits: A professional home inspection is the best way for potential home buyers to effectively evaluate the risks of a property purchase. A major concern of home buyers is being suddenly confronted with major and costly problems after they take possession of a property. A professional pre-purchase home inspection can reduce anxiety by screening for problems and itemizing them in a comprehensive report. This report may include approximations of repair costs and recommendations of useful upgrades to the property systems. The general result of a professional home inspection is that property buyers make significantly more informed purchases.

Screening for Problems: All homes have strong and weak points, they are not always what they seem. Gain the perspective and sound information you need to make better decisions with a home inspection performed by an experienced professional home inspector. A good home inspector works through a very long checklist of potential concerns to identify the major and minor deficiencies in the home. A good report will clearly describe the problems and illustrate them along with the what-to and how-to of repairs.

Provide Owners Benefits: Home owners who are planning to make improvements to their homes in order to increase its market value would be well advised to have it inspected first. A home inspectors can help prioritize home improvements and offer advice on the best ways to approach repairs. More importantly, an inspectors can help the seller identify potential or undiscovered problems before those problems become material for contract contingencies. By taking a pro-active approach one can avoid the frustrations many owners encounter when they are asked to renegotiate their contracts because of unanticipated problem areas.

Credentials: Like any other professional, home inspectors (even those with licenses) have varied degrees of expertise. All home inspectors should be carefully screened. Inspectors learn from experience. It takes a few thousand inspections and a more than a few complaints for a home inspectors to LEARN what it takes to satisfy clients.

Recently passed legislation allows New Jersey home inspectors to be licensed with as little as three weeks of class room training and just one week in actual homes. Licensing is a minimum qualification. Make sure you ask for resume! Belive it or not the standards in many states are LOWER!

Many people without specific home inspection credentials offer home inspection services. Likewise, credentials are not always what they seem. Engineering and architectural credentials alone do not prepare anyone to competently inspect homes and communicate the findings. A helping attitude, good communication skills, and mature judgment must supplement technical competence. Make sure you work with a company employing a contract which specifies both what is inspected and what limitations apply.

Additional services like the ones listed below are usually NOT included in the standard home inspection are available for an additional fee.

Code compliance: to determine what changes and upgrades are necessary for the home to comply with modern (or when built) building, fire, plumbing, zoning, mechanical and electrical code and to determine if the required permits and inspection were obtained when changes were made to the home.

Engineering analysis: structural, heating, cooling, soils, electrical, geological, site, investigate for latent structural defects or problems, evaluate the condition of playground equipment, determine if private waste disposal systems are functional, determine if cantilevers are safe, evaluate traffic density and noise, evaluate insulation efficiency, perform flood plain review and issue flood hazard certification, evaluate easements and encroachments, determine the quantity and cost of wood replacement made necessary by rot, age, water infiltration and insect damage.

Hazardous materials: to determine the presence or absence of: asbestos, lead paint, lead in water, formaldehyde, radon gas, lead paint, fungus, mold, mildew, water and air quality, toxic or allergenic substances, flammable materials, underground oil or fuel tanks and other environmental hazards.

Pest evaluation: to determine the presence of animal, rodent, termite, pest or insect infestation and to provide an opinion as to the cost of repairing damage caused from these infestations.

Pool and spa: to evaluate the necessary changes and upgrades to pools, pool equipment, gates and fences.

Plumbing: to determine the condition and necessary upgrades and repairs to the waste piping, main sewer pipe, supply piping, venting, shower pans and tub walls, lawn and fire sprinklers, water wells (water quality and quantity) condition of underground and under slab piping.

Electrical: to determine the condition and necessary upgrades and repairs to the electrical system, telephone system wiring, intercom system, security systems, heat detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, smoke detectors, provide circuit mapping, determine the electrical system capacity, adequacy of ground bonding, perform voltage testing, to evaluate electro magnetic fields, check voltage drops and circuit impedance.

Chimney sweep: check condition of flue, safety of wood burning stoves and perform level II chimney flue inspections as recommended by National Fire Protection Association.

Appraisal: determine the value of building and suitability for intended use, check zoning ordinances and provide an opinion on the advisability of purchase.

Mechanical contractor: determine the adequacy of the heating and cooling system size and provide efficiency measurement, provide an underground storage tank evaluation, perform heat exchanger leakage test, check the condition of evaporator coils, determine air flow velocity and balance system.

Appliance service person: test and calibrate oven and range temperature, test for microwave leakage, check to determine if appliances secured to floor as required.

Roofing contractor: more detailed evaluation of the roofing, flashing, chimney, provide tall ladder roof inspection and a detailed evaluation of the life expectancy of the roofing, feasibility of repair vs. replacement.

Home buyers are advised to make sure they check all of the following items carefully. If any of these problems after the purchase of the home the problems come with the home and they are now the YOURS (without costly litigation).

GENERAL

Were all your questions answered by the home inspector?

Were all your questions for the home owner answered in writing?

Have the previously agreed to repairs been professionally completed?

Have warranties and guarantees been provided for agreed upon repairs?

Were the home inspectors recommendations to have all recommended additional inspections and invasive inspections performed? If not open ended risks may be more than most buyers budgets can bare?

EXTERIOR

Check the operation of the windows and screens?

Has water been stopped from accumulating near the building?

Check doors, decks, siding, windows & fences for damage / deterioration?

Are there any signs of water infiltration from the roof, siding or windows?

Are there any signs of gutter or downspout problems?
Are the downspouts discharging water away from the foundation?

Has the soil around the home been pitched away from the foundation?

INTERIOR

Have all the areas listed in the home inspection report as inaccessible or not traversed been accessed & professionally inspected to determine if defects exist?

Do the garage doors and their openers function?

Was the reversing devices for the garage door openers tested?

Did you find out why any stains or cracks on any of the walls or ceilings that have become larger or have appeared since the time of the home inspection?

Have all cracked windows or mirrors been repaired?

Have all the clouded double pane windows been replaced?

Are all the permanently installed fixtures or appliances been in place and in good condition?

Are there any signs of birds, rodents or animals?
Has any damage to damage to the walls, floor or ceilings been repaired?

PLUMBING

Do the plumbing fixture faucets leak or drip?

Are the plumbing fixtures chipped or damaged?

Was water for a time through all plumbing fixtures and check for leakage?

Was water for a time through all plumbing fixtures and check for stoppage?

ELECTRICAL

Are all the light fixtures are all in place?

Do the light fixtures, switches and receptacles all function?

Does the door bell work?

HEATING AND COOLING

Do the thermostat, heating and cooling systems function?

Is there adequate air flow through the heating and cooling registers?

Did all the radiators or convectors get warm in a reasonable amount of time?

KITCHEN

Do all the appliances function properly?

Are the counter tops or cabinets damaged?

Do the cabinets and drawers operate?

Complete this check list during the walk through and go over it with your attorney prior to closing on the property Most inspection companies accept no liability for changes and problems that occur after the home inspection takes place. Please take the time to carefully and completely perform your pre-settlement walk though. Contact the home inspection company if there are any questions.

 

Tips for Choosing A Perfect Home Inspection Company

Purchasing a new home is a big investment. Before investing your hard earned money in buying a house that you have dreamt of, it is important that you check every aspect of it. One of the most significant aspects is getting the entire home inspected before you sign any contract in the process of buying a house.

The industry of home inspection is full of competent home inspectors. There are dozens of home inspection companies that offer reliable home examination services to their clients. But along with the availability of professional home inspectors, the home inspection industry is also plagued with fraud companies who call themselves competent home inspectors. So, it is a must to screen and qualify a company before hiring their inspection services.

There are a number of things that you must keep in mind while selecting a good home examiner for inspecting your new house. Some of them have been mentioned below:

Experience– You must consider hiring the services of a professional who performs at least 300 inspections per year. House inspectors having more years of experience are most desirable for the job of home inspection.

Knowledge– The home inspection company you choose must be knowledgeable enough to understand every system in a home. Professionals having a relevant degree in the field of engineering or architecture are considered best for the work of home assessment. Professionals dealing in general construction are also considered ideal for the role of house inspectors.

Reputation– When you are dealing with a professional company, it is important to note the reputation of both the company and the inspector who will be performing the work of inspection for your house. You must always request your hired company to send you a trained and reputed inspector for inspecting your home.

Getting relevant reports– Ensure that your hired house inspection company provides you a report that covers all the aspects of scrutiny. The inspection of your new house must include a signed report that describes what inspection was carried and also it will include the conditions of the inspected items. There are a number of home assessors who provide a checklist of items that they inspect. On the other hand, there are professionals who provide a written description of all the items that are inspected.

The cost of the inspection – Before you hire the services of a professional home examination company, you must also ask them to give you an estimate of the total cost associated with the inspection of the house. Once you get an estimate, you can compare it with other companies before hiring any particular company.

You must consider all the above points because at the end, it is the knowledge and experience of the home examiner that matters a lot in the work of home inspection.

 

Home Inspection Checklist: What to Look for in a Home Inspection Company

Are you buying a home? Buying a home is probably the most complicated (and important) purchase most of us will make in our lifetime. Like any major purchase there are features and specifications for all homes. On paper it may be the features that sell the home but if any of those features are in disrepair, you might be signing up for more than you bargained for and getting less than you paid for.

When you’re purchasing a home, you need to know what you’re getting. There are a few ways you can help protect yourself — one of them is with a thorough home inspection. Hiring a qualified home inspection company to take a look at the home you’re interested in buying is very important. At the same time, you need to understand what’s involved with a home inspection so years after your purchase, you can keep up with the maintenance of your home. Here’s why…

When you are buying a home it is important that you understanding what’s involved with a home inspection. It can pay dividends for the rest of the time you own your house.

First, it’s important to note that some things are not covered in a standard home inspection:

    • Pests – Pest inspections require a licensed pest control specialist to perform inspections of building structures to determine damage or possibility of damage from pests.

 

    • Radon — Radon gas is an invisible, odorless gas produced by the normal breakdown of uranium in the soil.

 

    • Lead paint – Inspecting a home for lead-based paint is not typically included in a home inspection because it takes place over several days and requires special equipment.

 

    • Mold – Mold inspection is a separate inspection because it requires three separate air samples and surface sample analysis. Since mold inspection is beyond the scope of a traditional home inspection, be sure to specifically ask your home inspector if he or she would recommend a mold inspection.

 

    • Asbestos – Asbestos is generally outside the scope of a home inspection because asbestos requires its own thorough review. Like with mold inspections, be sure to specifically ask your home inspector if he or she would recommend a separate asbestos inspection.

 

  • Orangeberg Sewer Pipe — Also known as “fiber conduit”, Orangeberg Sewer Pipe is bitumenized fiber pipe made from layers of wood pulp and pitch pressed together. It was used from the 1860s through the 1970s, when it was replaced by PVC pipe for water delivery and ABS pipe for drain-waste-vent (DWV) applications.

The first thing to point out is that every home and home buyer are different which means that every home inspection is different and the importance of home inspection items are different. Below are some common things that are inspected during a home inspection. Keep in mind that some items in this checklist may not be necessary for your particular home – and that this list does not include all the item inspected by a professional home inspection service.

General Home Inspection Checklist

Lot and Neighborhood

Lot Area

  • Does the grade slope away from the home or towards the home
  • Are there any areas where the soil has settled near the foundation or driveway?
  • What is the elevation of the home in relation to the street and neighbors?

Exterior

Roofing

  • Is the peak of the roof straight and level? Or is there sagging?
  • What is the condition of the roof vents? Are they visible?
  • Are there gaps between flashing and chimneys, walls or other parts of the roof?
  • Is there sagging anywhere else on the roof such as between the rafters or trusses?
  • What kind of shingles are used? How much deterioration has set in such as curling, warping, broken shingles or wider gaps between shingles in the roof?

Chimney

  • Is the chimney square to the home and level? Or is it leaning?
  • What is the condition of the bricks? Are any bricks flaking or missing?
  • What is the condition of the mortar? Is it cracked, broken or missing entirely?

Siding

  • Is the siding original to the house? If not, how old is the siding and how is it holding up?
  • Are the walls square and level or bowed, bulged or leaning
  • What material is the siding? Brick, wood or plastic?
  • What condition is the siding in?
  • Is there loose, missing, rotten or deteriorated siding or paint?
  • How does the siding fit connect to the foundation?

Soffits and Fascia

  • What are the soffits and fascia made of? Common materials include wood, aluminum or plastic?
  • Are there any problems such as rotting or broken pieces?
  • Are there any missing pieces of soffit or fascia?

Gutters and Downspouts

  • Are there any leaks or gaps in gutters or downspouts?
  • Does the gutter slope toward downspouts?
  • Is there any rust or peeling paint?
  • Are all gutters and downspouts securely fastened?
  • Is there a sufficient separation of the downspouts from the foundation?

Doors and Windows

  • Are there any problems with paint, caulking or rotten wood?
  • Are the windows original to the home? If not, how old are they?

Decks or Porches

  • What is the porch or deck made of? Check for paint problems, rotted wood and wood-earth contact.
  • Is there any settlement or separation from the house?
  • If possible, inspect the underside of the porch or deck.

Foundation

  • Are there any cracks, flaking or damaged masonry?
  • Are there any water markings and powdery substances on the foundation? If so where are they located?
  • Are the walls square vertically and horizontally? Or bowed, bulged or leaning?

Basement

  • Is there any evidence of water penetration (stains, mildew/odors, powdery substances, loose tiles, etc.)

Flooring

  • Is there any deterioration of flooring or carpet?
  • Are there any cracks in the tiles or mortar?
  • Do you notice any water damage or stains from previous water damage?
  • Is there any sagging or sloped flooring?

Interior Walls

  • Check that the majority of windows and doors work.
  • Are the walls square and vertically and horizontally straight?
  • Is there any cracked or loose plaster?
  • Look for stains, physical damage or evidence of previous repair.
  • Are there any drywall seams or nails showing?

Ceilings

  • Review all plaster for cracks or loose or sagging areas.
  • Are there any stains from water or mechanical damage or evidence of previous repair?
  • Are there any seams or nails showing?

Kitchens and Bathrooms

  • Check that all fixtures are secure including sinks, faucets, toilets and cabinetry
  • Are there any cracks in the fixtures?
  • What is the condition of the tiles and caulking surrounding sinks and tub and shower areas?
  • What is the condition of the faucets? Do they work? Is there sufficient water pressure?
  • Check under countertops for any water stains or rotting materials.
  • Check that the majority of the cabinet doors and drawers are in working order.

Electrical and Mechanical

  • Type, style and age of heating and cooling systems with service history.
  • Type, age and condition of water supply piping and drains.
  • Size and age of electrical service — Are the outlets grounded? Visible wiring in good condition?

The Importance of a Home Inspection Professional

As you can see, the home inspection checklist is exhaustive (and this list doesn’t even cover it all!) So if you’re in the market for a new house or are in the process of purchasing a new home, make sure you have a home inspection done by a reliable home inspection company – so you can protect yourself from the unforeseen. Also periodically review the items on this home inspection checklist so you can ensure the working order of your home for years to come.

 

So What Is A Home Inspection Exactly?

Sometimes, as a professional Home Inspector, I get asked “Exactly what is a Home Inspection?”. And for someone who hasn’t ever been directly exposed to a residential real estate transaction, and perhaps for some that have, it is an excellent question.

In large part, any definition to be applied to the phrase Home Inspection is dependent on where the Home Inspection is being conducted (in what State or municipality) and on what organization, if any, the Home Inspector might have an affiliation. Many states have adopted licensing requirements; some have not. It is worthy of note that an inspection of a home (note that I did not refer to it as a Home Inspection…) conducted in a State with no licensing requirements, by an individual with no or minimal experience and no professional association affiliation, may just be whatever he or she decides it will be at any given time…very, very scary indeed! And, If things are as they should be, we ought to be able to answer the subject question without having to determine what the definition of “Is” is.

According to the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI), one of the oldest and most generally respected Home inspector associations, a Home Inspection is a conducted in accordance with the ASHI Standards of Practice is an inspection of the readily accessible, visually observable installed systems and components of a home. ASHI Standards of Practice also state that an inspection performed to their Standards of Practice are intended to provide the client with objective information regarding the condition of the systems and components of the home as inspected at  the time of the Home Inspection. The inspector is required to provide a written report that identifies any systems or components inspected that, in the professional judgment of the inspector, are not functioning properly, are significantly deficient, are unsafe, or are at the end of their useful life. Further, reasoning or explanation as to the nature of the deficiencies reported must be provided if they are not self-evident.

In a state such as North Carolina, the state with which the author has the most familiarity and where licensing laws have been in effect since October of 1996, inspection reports must comply with the state requirements…period. Compliance isn’t voluntary…it’s the Law!  According to the North Carolina Home Inspector Licensure Board (NCHILB), a home inspection is intended to provide the client with a better understanding of the property conditions, as inspected at the time of the inspection. The NCHILB Standards of Practice further require (among a myriad of other specific requirements), that a Home Inspector must:

  • Provide a written contract, signed by the client before the Home Inspection is performed, that states that the inspection is conducted in accordance with the Standards, that states what services are to be provided and the cost of those services, and that stated when an inspection is for only one or a limited number of systems or components and exactly which systems or components those might be;
  • Inspect readily visible and readily accessible systems and components that are listed in the Standards as being required to be inspected;
  • State which systems or components that are required to be inspected, but that were not inspected, and the reason that they were not inspected;
  • State any systems or components that were inspected that do not Function As Intended, allowing for normal wear and tear, or that adversely affect the habitability of the building;
  • State whether any reported condition requires repair or subsequent observation, or warrants further investigation by a specialist; the statements shall describe the component or system and how the condition is defective, explain the consequences of the condition, and provide direction as to a course of action with regard to the condition or refer the recipient to a specialist:
  • State or provide the name, license number, and signature of the person(s) conducting the inspection.

The ASHI Standards of Practice (SOP) can be viewed HERE. Additionally, ASHI prescribes a Client Bill of Rights and as Professional Home Inspectors, our Raleigh Home Inspection firm subscribes to those key principles that serve to protect clients/customers.

The preceding has been a short and partial commentary regarding what a Home Inspection is…by definition. But much can be added to arrive at an answer to the initial question…”What Is A Home Inspection…Exactly?”.

A client typically uses the contents of a Home Inspection report as an assessment of the general condition of the property so that they can make a more informed and intelligent purchasing decision related to their real estate transaction.

  • A Home Inspection report should generally address the following systems and/or components (note that this may not be a complete list):Structural Components – Foundation, floors, walls, ceilings, etc.
  • Exterior Components –  Wall cladding, Door and Windows, Decks, flashing, eaves, fascia, driveways, walkways, steps, grading, drainage, any evidence of water penetration into the building envelope or etc.
  • Roofing – Roof covering, flashing, gutter systems, skylights, chimneys, roof penetrations, evidence of leakage or abnormal condensation, etc.;
  • Plumbing – Water distribution systems, drain/waste/vent piping systems, fixtures and faucets, functional flow and functional drainage, water heaters, safety controls, normal operating controls, fuel storage equipment, leakage, etc.;
  • Electrical – Service entrance conductors and equipment, main and distribution sub-panels, over-current devices, grounding equipment, fixtures, switches, receptacles, smoke detectors, Ground Fault protective devices, Arc Fault protective devices, etc.;
  • Heating – Furnaces and heat pumps, safety controls, operating controls, flues and vents, heat distribution systems, energy sources, etc,;
  • Air Conditioning – Cooling and air handling equipment, operator controls, distribution systems, energy sources, etc.;
  • Interior – Walls, floors, ceilings, stairs, railings, balconies, counter-tops, cabinets, door, windows, any evidence of water penetration or abnormal condensation, etc.;
  • Insulation and Ventilation – Insulation, vapor retarders, the absence of any required insulation, ventilation systems in kitchens/bathrooms/laundry rooms, attic ventilation systems/fans, etc;
  • Built-in kitchen appliances – Dishwashers, ranges, cook-tops, microwave ovens, trash compactors, garbage disposals, range hoods, etc.

So, what are some other “factoids” that might help us understand What a Home Inspection is…Exactly.

Home Inspections, by most all accepted definitions, are general and visual in nature and are not technically exhaustive.

A Home Inspection is a fee-paid service, prepared for a specific client (usually, but not always, a home buyer) that should give that client a good general assessment of the physical condition of the property to assist them is making a more sound purchasing decision.

A Home Inspection typically costs between $300.00 and $600.00, depending on the size and age of the home. Other ancillary services are often chosen by a home-buyer e.g. Radon Testing, Water Testing, etc.; but those additional services are usually provided outside the scope of the Home Inspection

A Home Inspection will typically take between 2 and 5 hours to complete, with that time period also being dependent on the size and age of the home.

It is recommended that a client, who has contracted for a Home Inspection, be present during the duration of the inspection so that they can learn about, and observe “first hand”, any reportable issues. Further, the client should be made to feel completely at ease to ask any question at any time; there should be no “silly” questions during a Home Inspection.

The report generated by a Home Inspector should be clear, concise, and able to be readily understood without the use of jargon or “techno-speak”; in other words, the Home Inspector should be capable of communicating using complete sentences and plain, common language. The report should contain digital photos of any significant issues. The completed inspection report should be delivered in a timely manner because, during a real estate transaction, time is typically of the essence and the information should be made available with that in mind.

In summary, a Home Inspection is a well-defined procedure intended to provide a good, thorough representation of the physical condition of a property on the date of the inspection. A report resulting from a Home Inspection is typically used by a home-buyer to make a more well-informed and intelligent purchase decision.

So…what is a Home Inspection…exactly? It is many things and is comprised of many different facets, both technical and practical. But mostly it is a valuable professional service that is…invaluable…to a home-buyer. Choosing to purchase a home, without the benefit of a professional assessment of the property, may not be a wise decision because…If you don’t “Inspect It”…then you very well may end up owning a home that is very much different than what you...thoughtthat it wasthat you bought!

 

Quality Home Inspection: Does It Matter? What Should It Cost?

When you need a home inspection, you want to make sure you get a good one. First, you need to know what a good home inspection is. Then you need to know how to find a home inspector who can, and will, give you the home inspection that serves you well. And last, you want to know how much you should pay for this quality home inspection by a good home inspector.

What Is a Home Inspection?

Let’s start with what a home inspection is – and isn’t. A home inspection is a professional and objective evaluation of the current condition of a house. It is not the same as an appraisal which attempts to place a value on a house and which may be required by a lending institution. Nor is it the same as a building code compliance inspection which may be required by local building regulations.

Who Needs a Home Inspection?

Home inspections are typically part of the home buying process, most often performed at the request of the buyer. It can protect the buyer from unseen issues and may sometimes even be required by the buyer’s bank to protect it from risky investments. In the event problems are found, a seller may be asked to effect repairs, to pay for the repairs or to renegotiate the sale price.

Sometimes the service is requested by a home seller so that problems with a house may be addressed prior to putting it on the market.

Homeowners not involved with a real estate transaction often have an inspection just as a way of learning more about their house. Home inspection, in this case, can be a valuable tool for helping to plan and budget maintenance, repairs or renovations.

What Makes a Good Home Inspector?

Not all states license home inspectors. The ones that do, generally follow guidelines enacted by the four main home inspection organizations: the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI), the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI), the National Association of Home Inspectors (NAHI) and the National Academy of Building Inspection Engineers (NABIE). If your state does not currently license home inspectors, membership by your home inspector in one of these organizations is regarded as a trusted alternative.

The best home inspector is likely to have acquired considerable knowledge of common home repairs and of their costs. He may have great value for his clients as a source of general information – as one who can help them make sense of conditions the inspection has unearthed. However, objectivity demands that he not be an agent for repair contractors who might be trying to sell services.

The most valuable thing about a professional home inspection is that it is knowledgeable and unbiased.

What Is Included in a Good Home Inspection?

A quality home inspection performed according to industry accepted standards is non-invasive. An inspector will not drill holes or remove wall surfaces. He will view accessible areas of the house and will inspect:

Roof

general shingle condition, flashings, gutters and downspouts, and the general structure of the roof that can be readily accessed for viewing

Exterior

defects in siding, flashings, brick, or other wall coverings; doors and windows for fit, locks, etc.; porches and steps for proper rails and general conditions including rot; general vegetation and surface drainage as it may affect the structure of the house

Foundation

signs of shifting – cracks, out of square door frames, etc.; signs of water penetration; improperly cut or notched framing members

Heating and Cooling

type, age, energy rating if applicable, and testing for normal operation

Plumbing

determine type of supply, i. e., public or private; look for poor water pressure; look for poor drainage from sinks, tubs, etc.; inspect supplies – faucets and other fixtures; inspect toilets; inspect water heating equipment, including its type, capacity, venting

Electrical

inspection of the service drop, meter enclosure, disconnects and service panel – breakers or fuse box, verify GFCIs, smoke detectors and test representative number of switches, fixtures and outlets

Attic, Ventilation and Insulation

inspect insulation in unfinished, i.e., accessible, areas; inspect ventilation of attics and mechanical ventilation

Interior

inspect for loose plaster, drywall, moldings; inspect stairs and railings; test a representative number of doors and windows

Miscellaneous

garage, garage door operation, cracks in floor, viewable structure; inspect general conditions of driveway

How Much Should It Cost and Is It Worth It?

Given the value added by the reliability and certainty of a professional quality home inspection, its cost is well worth it and a minor part of the overall cost of a real estate transaction. The cost of no knowing can be considerable – you just never know.

A home inspector will have looked at hundreds of items. The inspection report will identify problems with the home. It will describe the findings in clear and easy to understand language, often accompanied by photographs. The home inspector may visit the home with the client to point out the various findings in person.

The cost of a professional quality home inspection is usually in a range between $250-$500, and varies according to the size and the age of the house. Some inspectors offer special deals at a lower cost but it is important for the prospective client to determine if the special deal follows all industry accepted standards.

Many home inspectors also offer ancillary services that are not considered to be a part of the standard inspection. These can relate to the client’s specific concerns about ensuring a safe and healthy environment for themselves and their families. These ancillary services may include tests for radon, asbestos, mold, lead and water or air quality. Another useful form of testing is thermal imaging which evaluates heat loss from the house and aids the client in minimizing heating bills. Consultation with the home inspector can help determine if these additional tests should be included.

A quality home inspection can mean great value to the client – depending on the need.

  • If you are a seller, an inspection can help you market your house more effectively. You may be able to make some minor repairs which will pay off in getting a better price.
  • If you are a buyer, an inspection may warn you of unnoticed and potentially costly repairs which will be needed for the house. They may be deal breakers. And if not, then having the inspector’s evaluation can help you get the very best deal.
  • If you’re a homeowner — neither buying nor selling at the present time, an inspection can simply help you to be sure that your home is a safe and healthy environment for you and your family. It can aid you in planning smart maintenance and repairs, renovations or refinancing.

In all cases, a quality home inspection provides way more value than cost because it can be that difference that helps you become a smarter homeowner, buyer or seller.