A home inspection often means the difference between a sale and a no sale, even if the results aren't exactly what the owner expected. Buyers and Sellers typically recognize the need for a home inspection, however it may put both sides of a sale on edge. Sellers fear the inspector will find something amiss that could open up negotiations on the sale price, and Buyers fear the house they want will have problems. Today with so many houses for sale, home inspections have become the chief tool for haggling over sale price. Buyers are more apt to use an inspection report as leverage. The Buyers goal is to get the Seller to pay for repairs or cut their price to reflect their cost. The result usually depends on the financial position of the Seller and the comfort level of the Buyer which means a lot is riding on the accuracy of the inspection and the quality of the inspector.
Home Inspections are not intented to point out every small defect, though it can feel that way. They are used to highlight the good points of a house, be sources of information, and educated Buyers and Sellers. They are most definetly not appraisals, which are used to determine market value. An inspector will not pass or fail a house but will describe its condition and indicate which components and systems may not be up to the most modern standards. The standard report covers the condition of the heating system, central air-conditioning system, interior plumbing and electrical systems, roof, attic, visible insulation, walls, ceilings, floors, windows and doors, foundation, basement and structural components. An inspector is not required to advise whether a Buyer should buy the house, that's solely the decision of the Buyer. If a Buyer has concerns about issues raised in the report such as a crack in the foundation, the inspector is required by law to suggest further investigation by the appropriate expert.
WHAT GETS INSPECTED: The Standard inspection report covers the following:
- Heating System
- Central Air Conditioning System (Temperature Permitting)
- Interior Plumbing & Electrical Systems
- Roof, Attic, and Visible Insulation
- Walls, Ceilings, Floors, Windows, and Doors
- Foundation, Basement and Structural Components
HOME INSPECTOR 411: Some things to consider before choosing an inspector:
- Credentials. Know if the inspector you choose is licensed, or affiliated with an association.
- Experience. Has the inspector been in business long enough that you know he/she will be there in a year or five years if you have questions or problems.
- Professional Affiliations. These require adherence to codes of ethics and standards.
- Staff. If you have a problem or question can you get in touch with someone when you call or e-mail?
- Sample Report. Is it concise, readable, or is it a vague checklist that's not tailored to your home?
- Other Services. Does the prospect offer more than just the standard inspection?