What Is A Buyer's Home Inspection?
It 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 you close, you need to consider
whether or not repairs are needed now and who's
going to pay for them.
Why is a home inspection important?
Emotion often affects the buyer and makes it hard to
imagine any problems with their new home. A buyer
needs a home inspection to find out all the problems
possible with the home before moving in. Once your
inspection is performed, do not wait on the agent to
assist you. Review the inspection and make a list of
items you think the seller should address and
present them to the agent in a timely manner. While
the inspection is not meant to be a tool for
re-negotiations, many times it becomes one. Don't
let your brother or uncle or a friend do it. 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 won't be easily minimized by the
other parties because your uncle or friend did the
What if the report reveals problems?
All homes (even new construction) have problems.
Every problem has a solution. Solutions vary from a
simple fix of the component to adjusting the
purchase price. If the inspector recommends further
inspection by a qualified person, this means that
you need to get an opinion by a qualified person
before your inspection time period runs out on your
real estate contract.
What does a home inspection include?
A home inspector's report will review the condition
of the home's heating system, central air
conditioning system (temperature permitting),
interior plumbing, electrical systems, roof, attic,
visible insulation, walls, ceilings, floors,
windows, doors, foundation, basement, and visible
structure. Many inspectors will also offer
additional services not included in a typical home
inspection, such as mold testing, radon testing,
water testing, thermal imagery and heat/air loss
inspections typically known as energy audits,
without the diagnostics.
What should I NOT expect from a home inspection?
A home inspection is not protection
against future failures. Stuff happens!
Components like air conditioners and heat
systems can and will break down. A home
inspection attempts to reveal the condition of
the component at the time the component was
inspected. For protection from future failure
you may want to consider a home warranty.
A home inspection is not an
appraisal that determines the value of a home.
Nor will a home inspector tell you if you should
buy this home or what to pay for this home.
A home inspection is not a
code inspection, which verifies local building
code compliance. A home inspector will not pass
or fail a house. Homes built before code
revisions are not obligated to comply with the
code for homes built today. Home inspectors will
report findings when it comes to safety concerns
that may be in the current code such as
ungrounded outlets above sinks. A home inspector
thinks "Safety" not "Code" when performing a
Should I attend the home inspection?
It is often helpful to be there so the home
inspector can explain in person and answer any
questions you may have. This is an excellent way to
learn about your new home even if no problems are
found. But be sure to give the home inspector time
and space to concentrate and focus so he can do the
best job possible for you.
What is a Home Warranty?
A home warranty does protect you against components
that fail in the future. You may have to pay a
deductible (service call fee) when you have a
problem. If you choose to have a warranty, be sure
and qualify coverage of your problem over the phone
with the warranty company before they send a
repairman. If you do not, you may find out that your
problem is not covered and you still must pay the
deductible or trip service fee. If you have a home
inspection and you know your furnace or another
major component is old, you may be better off to buy
a warranty before you purchase. We recommend you
look closely at what is NOT covered in warranty
company policies as you compare prices.