Home inspections generally take place when a home is placed on the market (at time of listing) or when an offer has been put on a house (usually within 10 days from date contract was accepted). A home inspection is an objective visual examination of readily accessible areas of the physical structure and systems of a home. The purpose of the inspection is to inform the buyer or seller on the condition of the home so they will have a better understanding of the home before purchasing or putting the home on the market.
The home inspector will visually examine and report on:
- Plumbing system and fixtures
- Built-in appliances
- General exterior
- Heating and cooling systems
- Electrical system
- General interior
A home inspection also may include pool/spa and equipment, lawn sprinklers and drip systems or other specialty systems. There is usually an additional fee for these systems.
Now let’s see what’s not inspected:
- Cosmetic items
- Compliance or certification for past or present governmental codes or regulations of any kind
- Geological stability or soil condition
- Flood potential
- Structural certification
- Presence or absence of rodents, termites, and other insects
- Building appraisal
- Shut down or inactive systems
- Wells and septic systems
- Underground piping
- Central vacuum systems
- Load-control systems
- Security or intercom systems
- Phone and cable systems
- Low-voltage lighting
- Water conditioners
- Solar systems
- Fire and safety equipment
- Heat exchangers
Also, environmental conditions, including but not limited to toxic or flammable chemicals, asbestos, radon gas, lead paint, urea formaldehyde, water and airborne hazards, and electromagnetic fields.
One of the biggest mistakes made during the inspection process is not having the buyers at the home during the entire inspection. This greatly increases the chance of a misunderstanding, overstating, or understating what the inspection revealed, which may lead to a blown deal or a lawsuit. The inspection is the buyer’s time to find out everything about the condition of the house and how systems operate, and even to receive maintenance tips for the house.
Let’s talk about cost and how long an inspection takes. A 2,000-sq. ft. home built in the last 25 years could cost between $250 and $350. The majority of home inspectors will be at $300. The inspection usually takes one to two hours per 1,000 sq. ft., but could take longer based on age and condition of the home.
The difference in price and time in most cases is going to be experience. In this industry, the old saying, “You get what you pay for” couldn’t be more accurate. The industry is flooded with start-up companies and part-time inspectors. The inspection industry is unregulated, so anyone can become a home inspector.
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