What is a home inspection?
A home inspection is a visual inspection of the structure and components of a home to find items that are not performing correctly or items that are unsafe. If a problem or a symptom of a problem is found the home inspector will include a description of the problem in a written report and may recommend further evaluation. Before a buyer goes to closing, he/she will need to consider whether or not repairs are needed immediately and if so, who is going to pay for them. All home inspections include Thermal Imaging. Using these cameras allows us to look for insulation losses and other building related defects. Finding insulation losses and repairing them can mean huge energy savings
Why are home inspections important?
The reason a buyer gets a home inspection is to gain a better understanding of the physical condition of the structure that would never be revealed. Buyers need home inspection to find out all the problems possible with the home before moving in. Once an inspection has been performed, it is best to review the inspection report and make a list of items the seller should address. While the inspection is not meant to be a tool for re-negotiations, many times it becomes one. Inspections should be conducted by trained professionals, relatives should not be considered for inspections. You are not saving any money by letting a friend look. Even if he is a contractor, it does not mean that he is a good inspector. You need a qualified, unbiased inspection, so when the inspector does find problems, they will not be easily minimized by the other parties because a friend or family member did the inspection.
Though the order may vary the inspector should at least visually inspect the following:
• interior (non-cosmetic)
• foundation / basement
• framing / structure
• roof / attic
• kitchen / appliances / laundry bathrooms
• plumbing system
• electrical system
• heating system
• air conditioning system
Pools, spas, barns & other outer structures, docks & sea walls, well flow, wood destroying insects, lawn sprinkler systems, fences & gates and EIFS (exterior insulation & finish systems) may be offered by the inspection company but may add to the fee. The inspection company may also offer environmental services such as:
• water testing
• radon testing
• lead testing
• asbestos testing
• formaldehyde testing
• carbon monoxide testing
• septic inspection
Upon completion of the inspection the inspector should give the client a summary of what was discovered and an opportunity to ask questions. The client then receives a signed written report of the findings. The report is the client's property; no other party is entitled to see it.
The inspector's job is to inform the client of the condition of the home. He can describe any problems discovered, explain how and why they occurred, and even make repair recommendations. The inspector should not recommend contractors, estimate repair costs (unless the inspector is an active contractor in the particular field), recommend whether or not the client should purchase the home, comment on its market value, or benefit in any way from the repair or sale of the home.
The inspection is limited to the condition of the house at the time of inspection and what is visually accessible. It is important to understand that an inspection is not a warranty and that it is limited. Due to industry pressures, an inspection is expected to take no more than 2-3 hours. It is impossible for an inspector to inspect every one of the thousands of components that make up a home in this 2-3 hours. He must rely on his experience to optimize the time available and focus on the most important items. No two inspectors will make exactly the same report.