What Is A Home Inspection?
A home inspection is a thorough, objective visual examination of the physical structure and systems of a home, from the foundation to the roof. Having a home inspected is like giving it a physical check-up. If problems or symptoms are found, the home inspector may recommend further evaluation.
What does it include?
A home inspection 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 and the visible structure.
Can I do it myself?
Even the most experienced home owner lacks the knowledge and expertise of a professional home inspector who has inspected thousands of homes in his career. Inspectors are familiar with all of the many elements of home construction, their proper installation, and maintenance. Inspectors understand how the home’s systems and components are intended to function together, as how as how and why they fail.
Above all, most buyers find it very difficult to remain completely objective and unemotional about the house they really want, and this may affect their judgment. For the most accurate information, it is best to obtain an impartial third-party opinion by an expert in the field of home inspection.
Can a house fail inspection?
No. an 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 home, but rather describe its physical condition and indicate what may need major repair or replacement.
When do I call for a home inspection?
Home Inspectors are typically contacted right after the contract or purchase agreement has been signed, and is often available within a few days. However, before you sign, be sure that there is an inspection clause in the sales contract, making your final purchase obligation contingent upon the findings of a professional home inspection. This clause should specify the terms to which both the buyer and seller are obligated.
Do I have to be there?
It is not necessary for you to be present for the inspection, but it is recommended. You will be able to observe the inspector and ask questions directly, as you learn about the condition of the home, how its systems work, and how to maintain it. You will also find the written report easier to understand if you’ve seen the property first-hand through the inspector’s eyes.
What if the report reveals problems?
No house is perfect. If the inspector identifies problems, it does not necessarily mean you shouldn’t buy the house, only that you will know in advance what too expect. A seller may adjust the purchase price or make repairs 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.
Does an inspection predict future performance?
Not really. Statistically, a one year old water heater should last at least 5 to 10 years. It may not. A 23 year old asphalt shingle roof probably will not last another year. It could last five years. Water use, heat settings, and maintenance differ from owner to owner.
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.