Frequently Asked Questions
- •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. The standard home inspector’s report will include an evaluation of the condition of the home’s heating system, central air conditioning system, interior plumbing and electrical systems; the roof, attic, and visible insulation; walls, ceilings, floors, windows and doors; the foundation and visible structure.
Having a home inspected is like giving it a physical check-up. If problems or symptoms are found, the inspector will refer you to the appropriate specialist or tradesperson for further evaluation.
- •Why do I need a home inspection?
- The purchase of a home is probably the largest single investment you will ever make. You should learn as much as you can about the condition of the property and the need for any major repairs before you buy, so that you can minimize unpleasant surprises and difficulties afterwards. Of course, a home inspection will also point out the positive aspects of a home, as well as the maintenance that will be necessary to keep it in good shape. After the inspection, you will have a much clearer understanding of the property you are about to purchase, and will be able to make a confident buying decision.
If you have owned your home for a long time, a home inspection can identify problems in the making and recommend preventive measures which might avoid costly future repairs. In addition, home sellers may opt for having an inspection prior to placing the home on the market to gain a better understanding of conditions which the buyer’s inspector may point out. This provides an opportunity to make repairs that will put the house in better selling condition.
- •What will it cost?
- The inspection fee for a typical one-family house varies, as does the cost of housing. Similarly, within a given area, the inspection fee may vary depending upon the size of the house, particular features of the house, its age, location and possible additional services, such as pool inspections. However, do not let cost be a factor in deciding whether or not to have a home inspection, or in the selection of your home inspector. The knowledge gained from an inspection is well worth the cost, and the lowest-priced inspector is not necessarily a bargain. The inspector’s qualifications, including his experience, and training should be the most important consideration.
- •Can't I do it myself?
- Even the most experienced home owner lacks the knowledge and expertise of a professional home inspector who has inspected hundreds, perhaps thousands, of homes in his or her career. An inspector is familiar with all the elements of home construction, their proper installation, and maintenance. He or she understands how the home’s systems and components are intended to function together, as well as how and why they fail. Above all, most buyers find it very difficult to remain completely objective and unemotional about the house they really want, and this may affect their judgment. For the most accurate picture, it is best to obtain an impartial third-party opinion by an expert in the field of home inspection.
- •Can a house fail inspection?
- No. A professional home inspection is an examination of the current condition of your prospective home. It is not an appraisal, which determines market value, or a municipal inspection, which verifies local code compliance. A home inspector, therefore, will not pass or fail a house, but rather describe its physical condition and indicate what may need repair or replacement.
- •What is the AMERICAN SOCIETY OF HOME INSPECTORS®?
- The American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI®) is the oldest and leading non-profit professional association for independent home inspectors. Since its formation in 1976, ASHI’s Standards of Practice have served as the home inspector’s performance guideline, universally recognized and accepted by professional and government al authorities alike. Copies of the Standards are available free from www.ashi.orgASHI’s professional Code of Ethics prohibits Members from engaging in conflict of interest activities which might compromise their objectivity. This is the consumer’s assurance that the inspector will not, for example, use the inspection to solicit or refer repair work.In order to assist home inspectors in furthering their education, ASHI sponsors a number of technical seminars and workshops throughout the year, often in cooperation with one of its nearly 50 Chapters. ASHI also serves as a public interest group by providing accurate and helpful consumer information to home buyers on home purchasing and home maintenance.ASHI® provides members with professional inspection guidelines, and prohibits them from engaging in any conflict of interest activities which might compromise their objectivity, such as using the inspection as a means to obtain home repair contracts.ASHI® also has rigorous membership and continuing education requirements to assure consumers of an inspector’s experience and technical qualifications.
- •Do home inspectors have to be a member of ASHI®?
- No, Arizona State licensed home inspectors adhere to the American Society of Home Inspectors Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice as part of their state licensing.
- •When do I call in the home inspector?
- A home inspector is typically called 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 buyer and seller are obligated.
- •Do I have to be there?
- It’s not necessary for you to be present for the inspection, but it is recommended that you are present at the end of the inspection to go over the inspection through the summary. By following the home inspector around the house, by observing and asking questions, you will be a distraction to the inspector who is on a strict time table, most likely your home is not the only home he or she has scheduled for that day, a distracted inspector is one who can miss things which detracts from the purpose of obtaining a home inspection. However that being said it is your inspection and you have the right to be there from start to finish. You will learn a great deal about the condition of the home, how its systems work, and how to maintain them at the end of the inspection during the inspection summary. You will also find the written report easier to understand if you’ve seen the property first-hand through the inspector’s eyes.
- •Should the seller attend the home inspection?
- The seller is welcome to attend the inspection although they should understand that the inspector is working for the buyer. Consequently, comments will be made in a critical sense about flaws, defects and problems in the house that could be upsetting to some sellers.
- •How long does a home inspection take?
- Time is dependent on the house, the inspector and the client. The average home inspection takes three to four hours. The inspector you select can best estimate the time when you schedule the inspection.[/toggle] [toggle title="What if the report reveals problems?"]No house is perfect. If the inspector finds problems, it doesn’t necessarily mean you shouldn’t buy the house, only that you will know in advance what to expect. A seller may be flexible with the purchase price or contract terms if major problems are found. If your budget is very tight, or if you don’t wish to become involved in future repair work, this information will be extremely important to you.
- •What if I find problems after I move into my new home?
- A home inspection is not a guarantee that problems won’t develop after you move in. However if you believe that a problem was already visible at the time of the inspection and should have been mentioned in the report, your first step should be to call and meet with the inspector to clarify the situation. Misunderstandings are often resolved in this manner.
- •If the house proves to be in good condition, did I really need an inspection?
- Definitely. Now you can complete your home purchase with peace of mind about the condition of the property and all its equipment and systems. You will also have learned a few things about your new home from the inspector’s report, and will want to keep that information for future reference. Above all, you can feel assured that you are making a well-informed purchase decision, and that you will be able to enjoy your new home the way you want to.