FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What Is An
An inspection is a
visual examination of the structure and systems of a building. If you are
thinking of buying a home, condominium, mobile home, or commercial
building, you should have it thoroughly inspected before the final
purchase by an experienced and impartial professional inspector.
What Does An
A complete inspection includes a visual examination of the building from
top to bottom. The inspector evaluates and reports the condition of the
structure, roof, foundation, drainage, plumbing, heating system, central
air-conditioning system, visible insulation, walls, windows, and doors.
Only those items that are visible and accessible by normal means are
included in the report.
When Do I Request An
The best time to consult the inspector is right after you’ve made an offer
on your new building. The real estate contract usually allows for a grace
period to inspect the building. Ask your professional agent to include
this inspection clause in the contract, making your purchase obligation
contingent upon the findings of a professional inspection.
Can A Building “FAIL”
No. A professional inspection is simply an examination into the current
condition of your prospective real estate purchase. It is not an appraisal
or a Municipal Code inspection. An inspector, therefore, will not pass or
fail a building, but will simply describe its condition and indicate which
items will be in need of minor or major repairs or replacement.
What If The Report
If the inspector finds problems in a building, it does not necessarily
mean you shouldn’t buy it, only that you will know in advance what type of
repairs to anticipate. A seller may be willing to make repairs because of
significant problems discovered by the inspector. If your budget is tight,
or if you do not wish to become involved in future repair work, you may
decide that this is not the property for you. The choice is yours.
If The Report Is
Favorable, Did I Really Need An Inspection?
Definitely! Now you can complete your purchase with peace of mind about
the condition of the property and its equipment and systems. You may have
learned a few things about your property from the inspection report, and
will want to keep that information for your future reference. Above all,
you can rest assured that you are making a well-informed purchase decision
and that you will be able to enjoy or occupy your new home or building the
way you want.
Why Do I Need An
The purchase of a home or commercial building is one of the largest single
investments you will ever make. You should know exactly what to expect ---
both indoors and out -- in terms of needed and future repairs and
maintenance. A fresh coat of paint could be hiding serious structural
problems. Stains on the ceiling may indicate a chronic roof leakage
problem or may be simply the result of a single incident. The inspector
interprets these and other clues, then presents a professional opinion as
to the condition of the property so you can avoid unpleasant surprises
afterward. Of course, an inspection will also point out the positive
aspects of a building, as well as the type of maintenance needed 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 be able to
make your decision confidently.
As a seller, if you
have owned your building for a period of time, an inspection can identify
potential problems in the sale of your building and can recommend
preventive measures which might avoid future expensive repairs.
Can I Inspect The
Even the most experienced building or home owner lacks the knowledge and
expertise of a professional inspector who has inspected hundreds, and
perhaps thousands of homes and buildings in their career. An inspector is
equally familiar with the critical elements of construction and with the
proper installation, maintenance and inter-relationships of these
elements. Above all, most buyers find it difficult to remain completely
objective and unemotional about the building they really want, and this
may lead to a poor assessment.
What Will The
The inspection fee for a typical single-family house or commercial
building varies geographically, as does the cost of housing, similarly,
within a geographic area the inspection fees charged by different
inspection services may vary depending upon the size of the building,
particular features of the building, age, type of structure, etc. However,
the cost should not be a factor in the decision whether or not to have a
physical inspection. You might save many times the cost of the inspection
if you are able to have the seller perform repairs based on significant
problems revealed by the inspector. Consult your professional agent for
Should I Attend The
It is not necessary for you to be present for the inspection, but it is a
good idea. By following the inspector through the inspection, observing
and asking questions, you will learn about the new building and get some
tips on general maintenance. Information that will be of great help to you
after you’ve moved in.
What Is A New Home
A new home construction inspection (or “in-progress” inspection) is an
independent, third party inspection to ensure that the work completed is
in compliance with plans, specifications, and the construction schedule.
Once a home is built, many conditions that could have been observed during
construction are now covered and are no longer visible for inspection.
Often a poorly installed/constructed condition that could have been
visually reviewed during a construction progress inspection becomes
covered or concealed later in the building process cause a potential
financial burden for the property owner for future corrective action. For
these reasons, it is important that a home be inspected during
construction by the buyer’s representative whenever possible so that any
reportable defects can be corrected before completion and transfer of
It’s Brand New…What
Could be Wrong?
It is not good business to forego a home inspection on a newly constructed
house, regardless of how conscientious and reputable your home builder.
No home, regardless of
how well it is constructed, is totally free of defects. The construction
of a house involves thousands of details, performed at the hands of scores
of individuals. No general contractor can possibly oversee every one of
these elements, and the very nature of human fallibility dictates that
some mistakes and oversights will occur, even when the most talented and
best-intentioned tradespeople are involved. It is also an unfortunate
aspect of modern times that some builders/developers do not stand behind
their workmanship and may not return to fix or replace defective
components installed after the sale is complete.
The Municipal Code
Inspector Already Approved It
Often the builder/developer will state the home has been built to “code”
and that it was inspected at different stages and signed off by the local
jurisdiction. However, building codes are frequently “minimum in nature” —
that is, the primary intent of building regulations (codes) is to provide
reasonable controls for the construction, use and occupancy of buildings.
The builder is responsible to meet minimal standards at best — you may
want higher standards applied to your dream house. Also, it is an
unfortunate fact of the hectic pace of construction, that local building
department inspectors are often overbooked with inspections, which results
in their spending a minimal amount of time at the construction job site
and important details may be overlooked. Finally, jurisdictional
inspectors are not concerned with workmanship as long as all the systems
and components in a new home meet minimum code requirements.
Peace of Mind
A professional in-progress inspection is a great value to a new
construction homebuyer because the home inspector will spend whatever time
it takes to evaluate every readily accessible parts of the home they can
safely reach and then prepare an inspection report containing their
findings. This, in turn, will provide a “fix-it” list that can be brought
to the attention of the builder/developer. Additionally the homebuyer has
peace of mind in knowing they took the extra step in protecting their
investment by helping ensure they are made aware of any overlooked
A new construction progress inspection by a qualified professional allows
the inspector to become the “eyes of the homebuyer” through a series of
inspections that occur during different stages of the construction of
their new home. Typically, these inspections are performed at the
Foundation form work
before concrete placement
of support posts, beams and floor joists
of all rough framing, rough electrical wiring, heating/cooling duct work
and the building's sanitary pipe drainage and potable water supply
including roof coverings
inspection checking all visually accessible systems and components such
as: heating/cooling, electrical and plumbing systems including safety
items such as; smoke detectors, stairs, handrails and guard railings,
compliance with emergency-egress requirements, and proper installation
of safety/tempered glazing within hazardous areas.
My Builder Says I
Don’t Need a Home Inspection
It is important to let your builder know up front that you intend to have
the work inspected by an independent third party construction expert. This
will help set a tone with the builder and let them know that you expect
things to be done properly. Ideally, you will want to start communication
with your inspector as soon as you sign a contract with your builder. It
is recommended that have a professional inspection of the foundation prior
to the pour. A follow up inspection should be conducted after the
foundation has set up.
In addition to performing building inspections, many inspectors help
with analysis and solutions to specific problems, such as foundations,
energy conservation, and roofing problems. Inspectors are also frequently
called upon to review restoration and home improvement plans as well as
maintenance specifications, contracts and progress inspections for new
construction to help ensure proper completion of contracted work. If you
find that you are involved in a dispute regarding construction work
performed on your building, a home inspector can provide expert advice.
Also, many home inspectors evaluate commercial and investment properties,
multiple unit dwellings, condominiums, townhomes, mobile homes and perform
reserve studies as well.
Easing The Transaction
For A Home Seller
Home sellers are being urged to utilize home inspections prior to listing
their homes. Professional inspections can discover unknown conditions
allowing sellers an opportunity to perform desired repairs before placing
the property on the market. A professional “listing inspection” is just
good business, it may facilitate a smoother transaction by putting
potential buyers at ease, reducing negotiating points, and bypassing
Home Seller Disclosure
Most states require that a seller disclose relevant facts (including all
known defects) concerning the property for sale. While the listing
inspection report cannot be used as a substitute for that disclosure, it
does allow the seller to provide prospective buyers with additional
information, based on an unbiased, third party, professional inspection.
Do I Have to Repair
Everything Wrong With The House?
A listing inspection report is not intended to be a “do” or repair list
for the home. Sellers are not obligated to repair conditions noted in the
report, nor are they required to produce a flawless house. With a
pre-listing home inspection, potential repair items already known by both
parties are subject to any negotiations. A home seller can make repairs as
a matter of choice, not obligation; to foster good will or to facilitate
the sale. Sellers maintain the legal right to refuse repair demands,
except where requirements are set forth by state law, local ordinance, or
the real estate purchase contract
What Is An Listing
An inspection consists of a non-invasive physical examination of a home’s
systems, structures and components intended to identify material defects
that exist at the time of inspection. The heating and cooling equipment is
activated along with operating plumbing fixtures, testing accessible
electrical outlets and fixtures, and operating a representative sampling
of doors and windows. Visual inspection of the roof, walls and drainage
adjacent to the home are included. Because of the wide range of
construction practices and the “normal” wear and tear placed on the
components of home, a professional home inspection can help provide a
wealth of information to a home seller anxious to convey the condition of
their home to perspective buyers.
Do I Really Need An
As a seller, if you have owned your property for a period of time, an
inspection can help identify potential problems and recommend preventive
measures, which might avoid future expensive repairs. There is no such
thing as a home that is too new or too well built to benefit from a
professional inspection. Anyone advising against an inspection is doing a
disservice to the homebuyer. Many problems frequently encountered after
the buyer moves in, are a routine discovery for a qualified home
Is There Anything I
Can Do Better To Maintain My Home?
Inspection reports often identify the same neglected maintenance items.
Performing some basic maintenance can help keep your home in better
condition, thus reduce the chance of those conditions showing up on the
inspection report. To present a better maintained home to perspective
buyers follow these tips Most of these items can be accomplished with
little or no cost, while the benefits of selling a well maintained home
can be worth the effort.
Clean both rain
gutters and any roof debris and trim back excessive foliage from the
Divert all water
away from the house (for example, rain-gutter downspouts, sump pump
discharge locations, and clean out garage and basement interiors.
Clean or replace all
Remove grade or
mulch from contact with siding (preferable 6-8 inches of clearance).
Paint all weathered
exterior wood and caulk around trim, chimneys, windows, doors, and all
exterior wall penetrations.
Make sure all
windows and doors are in proper operating condition; replace cracked
Replace burned out
Make sure all of the
plumbing fixtures are in spotless condition (toilets, tubs, showers,
sinks) and in proper working order (repair leaks).
Provide clear access
to both attic and foundation crawl spaces, heating/cooling systems,
water heater/s, electrical main and distribution panels and remove the
car/s from the garage.
And finally, if the
house is vacant make sure that all utilities are turned on. Should the
water, gas or electric be off at the time of inspection the inspector
will not turn them on. Therefore, the inspection process will be
incomplete, which may possibly affect the time frame in removing sales