What is a Home Inspection?

When you buy a new house, it is always worth having it inspected by a house inspector who thoroughly examines the property and gives you an unbiased view of its technical status. Generally, the house inspection takes about 2-4 hours depending on the property.

Home inspection

A home inspection, as defined, is an examination of the physical structure and systems of a home that provides a detailed “snapshot” of the condition of the home at the time of inspection. The purpose of a home inspection is to reduce part of the risk of buying a home; however, it can not eliminate these risks, nor can the auditor anticipate future events or performance changes due to changes in usage or occupancy. The inspection will cover all potential health and safety issues in addition to areas requiring repair or replacement.

A house inspection can lead to significant savings by avoiding costly repairs in the future. If the house is not inspected by a professional house inspector, you might not know the actual structural status of your home. The inspector only performs a visual inspection of the property and its structure.

Preliminary remarks

The inspection of a normal house takes about 2 to 4 hours. The inspector will offer an agreement before the inspection, which will be signed before accepting the payment. Then the inspector gives his client an overview of the inspection and visits the location together with the client.

Items covered

The inspector carries a visual inspection of the following, though not necessarily in that order:

  • Interiors (non-aesthetic)
  • Foundation and basement
  • Roof and attic
  • Framing structure
  • Air conditioning system
  • Electrical systems
  • Chimney
  • Plumbing system
  • Heating system
  • Kitchen, laundry room, bathrooms
  • Garage

Extra services

The inspection of supplementary items like pools, barns or any outer structures, spas, docks & sea walls, wood annihilating insects, well flow, lawn sprinkler systems, gates, fences and EIFS (exterior insulation & finish systems) may be carried out at extra expense. The inspection agency can also conduct environment related inspection like:

  • Water testing
  • Lead testing
  • Radon testing
  • Formaldehyde testing
  • Asbestos testing
  • Septic inspection
  • Carbon monoxide testing

Completion

After the completion of the operation, the inspector gives a summarized report of his findings. The customer may ask questions and receive a signed written report on the inspection. The customer has exclusive rights to this report.

Ethics

The inspector must inform the customer about the condition of the inspected house. While he points out defects, he can give possible reasons for this and he can suggest how to fix them. It is not expected that the inspector recommends a contractor or estimates the likely costs of repairs / modifications unless he is himself an entrepreneur. He should not recommend if his client should invest in this property or not, or comment on the market price of the inspected property. In no case should he benefit from the repairs that the house needs.

Disclaimer

The inspection is carried out visually and only for the condition of the house as it exists at the time of its inspection. The clients should not take inspection as any kind of warranty. As mentioned above, the inspector would only need 2.3 hours for a visual inspection of the premises, apparently not enough time to check all the elements and components that make up a complete house. He must use his expertise to review the key factors in this limited time. The report of the same property, which was examined by two different inspectors is bound to be different.

Main Types of Home Inspections

Some of the different types of Home Inspections as they relate to intended use are:

  • The Pre-Purchase Inspection –

This is, by far, the most common type of inspection; it’s performed for and on behalf of a client that is buying a home. They want to know the condition of the home before they buy it…that makes sense, right?

  • The Pre-Listing Inspection –

This is an inspection that’s performed for the selling party…the people that might be selling their home. Typically, this type of inspection is performed before the house is offered for sale on the market. The seller wants to know about the condition of the home so that there are minimal surprises once the home has gone under contract. This type of inspection is sometimes referred to as a Sellers Inspection

  • Consult Inspection –

Sometimes, a person might want to know about a particular aspect of their home…they might not want to know about everything that might be wrong but are concerned about a single aspect of a home…say, the condition of the roof. This type of inspection is sometimes referred to a Consult Inspection or a Single-Item inspection and might be appropriate for some people in certain circumstances.

  • New Construction Inspection –

This is a very common type of inspection conducted for the buyer of a newly completed home.

  • The 11 Month Warranty Inspection –

This inspection is commonly requested by a home-owner who has purchased a newly constructed home and is nearing the end of their 1 Year warranty period. It helps to identify issues that might need to be corrected under the builders warranty program.

It is in the interest of the customer to thoroughly examine and make inquiries regarding the professional qualifications and experience of the prospective home inspector. Note that the services of a competent, experienced home inspector are not cheap. So, do not let an inspector charge you low fees as they lack the skills and experience needed to perform the inspection efficiently.

It always pays to hire a superior home inspector. The costs incurred in carrying out the inspection by a professional home inspector are justified by the defects or necessary repairs cited by the home inspector.

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