Home Inspections and Warranties

Do I need a home inspection?

Buying a home “as is” is a risky proposition. Major repairs on homes can amount to thousands of dollars. Plumbing, electrical and roof problems represent significant and complex systems that are expensive to fix. Foundation issues are quite common in our area and repairs can cost several thousands.

How do I find a home inspector?

Your Realtor can recommend an inspector. You can ask for referrals from friends. Check out their license and references.

The American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) has developed formal inspection guidelines and a professional code of ethics for its members. Membership to ASHI is not automatic; proven field experience and technical knowledge of structures and their various systems and appliances are a prerequisite.  Rates for the service vary greatly. Many inspectors charge about $400 but they vary based on services and the size of the home.

What’s a home inspection?

A home inspection is when a paid professional inspector inspects the home, searching for defects or other problems that might plague the owner later on. They usually represent the buyer and or paid by the buyer. The inspection usually takes place after a purchase contract between buyer and seller has been signed.

A home inspection is a limited, non-invasive examination of the condition of a home; they will not remove walls to check electrical and plumbing conditions.

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. 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. 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 inspection.

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.

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 home inspection.

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. A lot of time the warranty company will not cover pre-existing conditions (or issues that were recorded in the inspection report).

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