Many problems in a home are not readily observable and most times the seller is unaware of potential problems in the home. Many times a buyer will say "They seem like such good, honest folks, I'm sure they are not trying to hide anything from us" The truth is, most times they are not. But they honestly "Don't Know" what defects exist in their home. I inspected a home where I found the main power cable, which runs from the power pole to the mast on the roof, had the ground wire touching one of the hot wires and a large section of wire had no insulation covering the hot wire. A real hazard!! These nice owners were not trying to hide this. They simply don't ever climb on there roof and if they did, they would not know the problem if they saw it!!
Another common comment is "The home has been totally remodeled and is in great shape" Maybe everything you "see", the cosmetic things, look great, but what about what you don't see. ie. Electrical changes, Plumbing, Roof structure, etc. I have found some of the worst problems in homes that the buyer and Realtor thought were in top notch condition. I also find a myriad of problems in condominium conversions. If you are buying a condo conversion and you don't have a home inspection, you are taking a huge risk!
Buyers also feel new homes "Must have been inspected by the county inspectors and therefore need not be inspected by a professional home inspector. I have found brand new homes where the builder "forgot" to install the roof vents! Also, an air conditioner that was installed so you could not remove the air filter.
A trained home inspector will find problems in areas that the untrained layman would never find. Or more importantly, he will be able to confirm true problems that the homeowner or other so called "authority" will try to tell you are not real problems. An good home inspector also uses many "specialty tools" which help find problems which would otherwise be undetectable.
If problems are found with the home, it doesn't necessarily mean you shouldn't buy the property, but it lets you know what repairs may be needed if you do buy the property. This also gives you additional bargaining power with the price of the property.
My rates are based on the size and age of the home, and if there are any additional items that need to be inspected. ie. Pool, Spa, Mold Testing, Dock, etc., there is an additional charge. Most homes under 2,000 Total sq ft should be in the $300-325. range depending on the aforementioned factors. Payment is due at the time of inspection.
The cost of the inspection is always the first question I am asked. But remember, this is probably the largest purchase of your life and you don't want to buy a home that is going to cost you thousands in repairs in the very near future, do you? Do you want the cheapest inspection, or do you want the best, most thorough inspection for the money? The home inspection industry has had a huge insurgence of new inspectors starting their business over the past couple of years. These people are willing to offer lower rates, but lack the experience to competently inspect all systems of the home. You truly will get a much less detailed report and who knows what they are going to miss! I save people thousands of dollars in repairs on a weekly basis, that they would not know about until after closing, when it would be too late to do anything about. The cost of the inspection will pay for itself many times over. Hire a competent, qualified inspector, NOT the lowest priced one.
A home inspection will typically take about 2 hours for an average home of 1200-2000 Sq Ft. A 3,000 Sq Ft home should take about 3 hours, etc.
Make sure the home will be open for the inspector and especially, MAKE SURE THE UTILITIES ARE TURNED ON! There is a $100 additional fee if I have to make an extra trip out to the home.
Although you do not have to be there, it is highly recommended that you attend the inspection. The information learned from the inspection as well as maintenance tips will be invaluable to you. If there is a problem, the inspector can show you how to repair it, and how to prevent it from happening again in the future.
All major components of the home are visually inspected. This includes the lot drainage, foundation and walls, roof, interior and exterior electrical panels and circuits, plumbing and fixtures, air conditioning and heating systems, shower walls are examined using a moisture meter, floors-walls-doors-windows and ceilings,kitchen appliances, attic, sprinkler systems, fireplace...
Inspection of pools, spas and crawl spaces are available at an additional fee.
Most people do not have the broad knowledge base needed for a thorough home inspection. ie. electrical, plumbing, roof, structure, etc. Would you know an electrical hazard if you were to see one? How would you know if the shower wall tiles need to be replaced? Are you going to into the attic and look for evidence of roof leaks? bad ductwork? Wiring hazards? Most people won't. You, as the buyer, also feel uncomfortable telling the owner what is wrong with their home. A licensed inspector does that on a daily basis and is used as the authority to tell the owner what needs to be repaired or replaced.
Many times buyers think that they have a relative "in the business" that can look over the home for them. Most times that is all they do is, "look the home over". There may be major defects in the home that can be missed by a layman. Everyone wants to save money, but to avoid a thorough inspection to save a few dollars is not a wise decision. It is very rare when the findings of my inspection don't save the buyer hundreds if not thousands of dollars. Hire a qualified, experienced inspector - not the cheapest one!
No. A home inspection is a written report, by a professional home inspector, detailing an opinion on the condition of the home and it's components. It is also limited to the areas visually accessible, which may be impaired by rugs, pictures, personal items, furniture, etc. The inspector cannot predict when an item may fail. There are warranties that can be purchased that will cover many items in your home.