Q: What is a home inspection?
A home inspection is an
objective visual examination of the physical structure and systems
of a home from the roof to the foundation. A home inspection is
the equivalent of having a physical from your doctor. If problems
or symptoms of problems are found, the inspector may recommend further
Q: What does
a home inspection include?
A standard home inspection
summarizes findings from a visual inspection of the condition of
the subject home’s heating system, central air conditioning
system (temperature permitting), interior plumbing and electrical
systems; roof, attic, and visible insulation; walls, ceilings, floors,
windows and doors; foundation, basement, and the visible structures
of the home.
do I need a home inspection?
A home inspection
summarizes the condition of a property, points out the need for
major repairs and identifies areas that may need attention in the
near future. Buyers and sellers depend on an accurate home inspection
to maximize their knowledge of the property in order to make intelligent
decisions before executing an agreement for sale or purchase.
A home inspection
points out the positive aspects of a home, as well as the maintenance
that will be necessary to keep it in good shape. After an inspection,
both parties have a much clearer understanding of the value and
needs of the property.
For homeowners, an
inspection may be used to identify problems in the making and to
learn about preventive measures, which might avoid costly future
repairs. If you are planning to sell your home, an inspection prior
to placing your home on the market provides a better understanding
of conditions which may be discovered by the buyer's inspector,
and provides you an opportunity to make repairs that will make your
home more desirable to potential buyers.
does a home inspection cost?
Inspection fees for
a typical single family home vary by geography, size and features
of the property, and age of the home. Additionally, services such
as septic inspections and radon testing may be warranted depending
upon the individual property. Prices vary. It is a good idea to
check local prices in your area as you consider a professional home
Do not let the cost
deter you from having a home inspection or selecting an inspector
you are comfortable with – knowledge gained from an inspection
is well worth the time and expense. The lowest-priced inspector
is not necessarily a bargain. The inspector's qualifications, including
experience, training, and professional affiliations, should be the
most important consideration in your selection.
Q: Can I do
Even the most experienced
homeowner lacks the knowledge and expertise of a professional home
inspector. A professional home inspector has the experience, depth
of knowledge and training to make an unbiased and informed report
of the condition of a property. An inspector is familiar with the
many elements of home construction, their proper installation and
maintenance. An inspector understands how the home's systems and
components are intended to function together, as well as how and
why they fail and knows what to look for and is uniquely suited
to interpret what their findings reveal about the condition of the
Most buyers find it
difficult to remain objective and unemotional about the house they
really want, and this may affect their judgment. For the most accurate
information about the condition of a home, always obtain an impartial
third-party opinion by an expert in the field of home inspection.
Q: Can a house
No. A professional
home inspection is an examination of the current condition of your
home. It is not an appraisal, which determines market value, or
a municipal inspection, which verifies compliance to local codes
and standards. A home inspector will not pass or fail a house. A
home inspection describes the physical condition of a property and
indicates what may need repair or replacement.
Q: How do I
find a home inspector?
Word of mouth, the
experiences and referrals from friends and neighbors is one of the
best ways to find a home inspector. Someone who has used a home
inspection service and is satisfied with the level of customer service
and professionalism of that service will likely recommend a qualified
In addition, names
of inspectors in your area can be found by searching our online
database, or can be found in the local Yellow Pages directory where
many advertise under "Building Inspection Service" or
"Home Inspection Service." Real estate professionals are
generally familiar with the inspection services in your area and
can provide a list of qualified professionals.
Regardless of your
referral source, make sure that the home inspector is a member of
the American Society of Home Inspectors® (ASHI). ASHI members
have the highest professional qualifications, experience, and business
ethics in the industry.
Q: What is
the American Society of Home Inspectors®?
The American Society
of Home Inspectors® (ASHI) is the oldest and most widely recognized
non-profit professional association for independent home inspectors.
ASHI's "Standards of Practice" serve as the home inspector's
performance guideline, and are universally recognized and accepted
by professional and government authorities. Copies of the Standards
are available free from ASHI.
Code of Ethics prohibits members from engaging in conflict of interest
activities, which may compromise their objectivity. This is the
assurance to the consumer that the inspector will not, for example,
use the inspection to solicit or refer repair work.
ASHI sponsors continuing
education, technical seminars and workshops and serves the public
interest by providing accurate and helpful consumer information
to home buyers on home purchasing and home maintenance.
Q: Who belongs
Members of ASHI are
independent professional home inspectors who have met the most rigorous
technical and experience requirements in the industry. Prospective
ASHI members must pass two written technical examinations, must
have performed a minimum of 250 professional fee-paid home inspections,
and must maintain their candidate status for no less than six months.
ASHI members are required to follow the Society's Code of Ethics,
and to obtain continuing education credits in order to keep current
with the latest in building technology, materials, and professional
Q: When do
I call in the home inspector?
Before you sign the
contract or purchase agreement, make your 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. Contact a home inspector immediately after the contract
or purchase agreement has been signed. Home inspectors are aware
of the time constraints involved in purchase agreements and most
are available to conduct the required inspection within a few days.
A home inspector is
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
contract making your purchase obligation contingent upon the findings
of a professional home inspection. This clause should specify the
terms to which both the buy and seller are obligated.
Q: Do I have
to be there?
While it is not necessary
for you to be present, it is always recommended that you make time
to join the inspector for their visit. This allows you to observe
the inspector, ask questions as you learn about the condition of
the home, how its systems work, and how to maintain them. After
you have seen the property with the inspector, you will find the
written report easier to understand.
Q: What if
the report reveals problems?
No house is perfect.
When the inspector identifies problems, it does not indicate you
should not buy the house. His findings serve to educate you in advance
of the purchase about the condition of the property. A seller may
adjust the purchase price or contract terms if major problems are
discovered during an inspection. If your budget is tight, or if
you do not want to be involved in future repair work, this information
will be extremely valuable.
Q: If the house
proves to be in good condition, did I really need an inspection?
Yes. Now you can complete
your home purchase with confidence about the condition of the property
and all its equipment and systems. From the inspection, you will
have learned many things about your new home, and will want to keep
that information for future reference.
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