"Why should I have a home inspection?"

Buying a home is the single most expensive purchase most of us will ever make. For a few hundred dollars you can use the services of a home inspector to get a much better idea of the homes physical condition than you would otherwise have known. Most states require that the purchase and sales agreement have a clause allowing you the right to have the home inspected to your satisfaction or get a full refund of your deposit. Exercising this right is definitely in your best interest. Large and costly problems may be brought to your attention before you buy the home, leaving you in a position to renegotiate the terms of the sale or just walk away from the deal. You may prefer to have the seller make repairs, or you may negotiate a price cut. The choice is yours. You will be in a far more difficult position if problems are discovered after the deal is closed. Just remember: Buyer beware. If the time allowed for the home inspection is unrealistic then insist on having it extended -- 10 days should be enough.

Before you put your house on the market, you may want to seriously consider the benefits of having it inspected. Without a doubt, this is the best time for a home inspection for all involved. All too often, a home inspection is performed as a final contingency of a sale with little time to absorb its impact. Any reported deficiencies at this time of high emotional stress can easily be blown out of proportion causing an over reaction and possibly the death of the deal. People are far more receptive to such deficiencies when they are disclosed to them up front, perhaps while they are viewing the home for the first time. The additional benefits to a seller are fewer renegotiations, less surprises, a better selling price, less likely litigation for improper disclosure and an increased chance that a deal will close. Having a pre-sale inspection given to a buyer does not remove the buyer's responsibility to perform their own due diligence and have their own inspection of the property.

Tips For Choosing A Home Inspector!

Is the inspector experienced?
A full-time inspector who performs 250 or more inspections per year and has many years experience is most desirable.

Is the inspector knowledgeable?
An inspector must have full working knowledge of every system in a home. Most inspectors had formal training in just one trade. To become inspectors they had to cross-train in all the other relevant trades. The more knowledgeable inspectors started with a degree in a field such as engineering or architecture that provides a broad background in general construction or they were trained to operate as a general contractor. These are good bases to build from. One does not acquire this kind of knowledge by taking a few courses or reading a book. A good rule of thumb is to look for fifteen years of combined formal training and on-the-job experience in related fields.

Who referred you to the inspector?
The best referral is from someone you personally know and trust who was satisfied with the inspector's performance. Although many real-estate professionals refer quality home inspectors there is a possible conflict of interest with this type of referral. If you were not reliably referred to the inspector then ask for references from past clients, preferably from several years past.

Which inspector will the inspection company send?
When dealing with an inspection company the reputations of both the company and the inspector who is assigned to your home are important. Request that an experienced inspector be assigned rather than a new one.

Is the inspector covered by errors and omissions insurance and general liability insurance?
It is to your advantage that your inspector has this coverage. Do not be afraid to ask for a copy of the policies.

How long does the inspection take?
Ask how long the inspection will take and how many other inspections will be performed on the same day as yours. If the inspection takes less than 2 hours find another inspector. Performing a thorough inspection is very tiring, so arrange to be the first or second one of the day.

How much does the inspection cost?
This is one area where you do not want to nickel and dime. A well-established, full-time professional inspector is going to be at the high end of the spectrum. Several hundred dollars is a small price to pay to get the best protection you can for perhaps the biggest purchase of your life.

What type of report do you get and when do you get it?
You may want to ask this question since there are several answers. An inspection should include a signed report that describes what was inspected and the condition of each inspected item. Some inspectors use a checklist type of form with stock responses. Other inspectors simply provide a written description of the conditions found. A modern alternative to these are computer-generated reports. The best of these are generated by advanced home inspection software systems and include comments specific to each home.

An important question to ask is, "When do I get the report?" The checklist type and the handwritten type are usually delivered to you on-site. Computer-generated reports are also available on-site from a few inspectors who bring a portable computer to the job. Otherwise, the inspector mails the report. You may want to know up front how long you can expect to wait for it.

Is the inspector affiliated with any organizations?
There are many local, Province, and national organizations that an inspector can join as well as many franchises that an inspector can purchase. However, membership in any organization does not guarantee a quality inspector.

What is a Home Inspection?

The goal
The goal of a home inspection is to give the client a much better understanding of the physical condition of the structure than would otherwise be known. To achieve this an inspector conducts a visual inspection of the home and its systems.

Typical homes take 2-3 hours to inspect. When the client arrives the inspector often presents a pre-inspection agreement to be signed followed by payment. A good inspector then gives the client an overview of the inspection process and invites the client to accompany him.

Items covered
Though the order may vary the inspector should at least visually inspect the following:

  • interior (non-cosmetic)
  • foundation / basement
  • framing / structure
  • roof / attic
  • chimney
  • kitchen / appliances / laundry bathrooms
  • plumbing system
  • electrical system
  • heating system
  • air conditioning system
  • garage

Each office is independently owned and operated