Frequently Asked Questions About Inspections

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What is an inspection?
An inspection is an examination of the visible elements of the structure and systems of a building.  Whether the property you are anticipating buying is a site built home, manufactured home, or commercial building, you should have it throughly inspected before the final purchase by an experienced and impartial State Licensed Inspector.

Why Do I Need An Inspection?
The purchase of a home or commercial building is one of the largest investments you will ever make.  You should know exactly what to expect, both, indoors and out, in terms of needed repairs, possible trouble spots and maintenance.  A fresh coat of paint could be hiding serious structural problems.  Stains on the ceiling may indicate a chronic leakage problem or may be simply the result of a single incident.  The inspector interprets these and other clues, and 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.

If you are the seller of the property, you may wish to obtain an inspection report before placing your home on the market.  Knowing what is wrong with a house and making repairs before placing it on the market can result in a higher sales price and shorter marketing time by eliminating surprises found after the offer has been made.

When Do I Request An Inspection?
The best time to consult the inspector is right after you have made an offer on your new building.  The real estate contract usually allows for a grace period to inspect the building.  ask your professional real estate agent to include this inspection clause in the contract, making your purchase obligation contigent upon findings of a professional inspection.  It is much better to have spent a small amount of money on a professional inspection than to spend thousands of dollar down the road when problems become apparent.

What Does An Inspection Include?
Inspectors cannot predict the furture and they do not have x-ray vision.  An inspection cannot tell you the estimated life of the appliance, water heater or heating and cooling units.  They cannot tell you if the roof will leak in 5 years time.  They cannot tell you what is inside the walls of a building.  An inspector can only report on what he sees or on what his instruments tell him.  That is why it is so important for you to obtain a home inspection by a QUALIFIED PROFESSIONAL.  A professional has the education and experience necessary to understand the results of a visual inspection and to correctly interpret the readings of his instruments and from that information point out to you areas of possible concern and components that are not operating properly.

Inspection reports on pre-owned properties do not include "cosmetic imperfections".  A pre-owned property is expected to exhibit normal wear and tear.  the carpets may be stained, there may be small nail holes in the walls from pictures, curtain rods, etc.  and interior wall paint my show dirt or chips.  These types of things are expected in a pre-owned property and do not affect the integrity of the structure, nor are they hazardous or a safety violation.  A professional inspector is trained to recognize the difference between normal wear and tear and those things which could indicate a potential problem.

Let's use carpet stains as an example:  To a layman, a dirty carpet appears to be just that, but to a professional inspector it matters where the stains are.  Stains along the exterior walls could indicate a drainage problem outside the house.  Run-off water could be penetrating into the house from the exterior.  Is the carpet stained in front of the furnace or water heater closet?  This could indicate a past or present leak from these systems and further investigation may be required.  Are there stains in the rooms adjacent to the bathroom or utility room?  this could indicate a potential plumbing problem.

The condition of the interior paint is another consideration.  Most homes that have been pre-owned have a variety of imperfections on the painted surfaces.  Again it matters to the professional inspector where the imperfections are and how they look.  It may not just be dirt.  Water stains can appear just about anywhere and a indicative of a problem that requires further investigation.  Dirty ceiling paint could indicate that the heating and air conditioning duct work, or the units themselves are in need of attention.  These are the type of things that an inspector is trained to recognize and report on.

Can A Building "FAIL" The Inspection?
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 it's condition and indicate which items are in need of minor or major repairs or replacement.

What If The Report Reveals Problems?
If the inspector finds problems in a building, it does not necessarily mean you should not buy it.  But it will tell you in advance what type of repairs to anticipate having done.  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 decided that this is not the property for you.  The choice is yours and with a professional home inspection you can now make a more informed choice.

 If The Report Is Favorable, Did I reall 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 reswt 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.

Can I Inspect The Building Myself?
Even the most experienced building or home owner lacks the knowledge and expertise of a professional inspector who has inspected hundreds or 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 un-emotional about the building they really want, and this may lead to a poor assessment.

What Will The Inspection Cost?
The inspection fee for a typical single family house or a commercial building varies geographically, as does the cost of housing, similarly, within a geographic area.  the inspection fees charged by different inspection companies may vary depending upon 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 sellet perform repairs based on significant problems revealed by the inspector.  Consult your professional real estate agent for guidance.

Should I Attend the Inspection?
It is not necessary for you to be present for the inspection, but it is a good idea.  while most inspectors strive to use layman's terms in describing potential problems often the most informed consumer is confused by the report or overly concerned by items they do not fully understand.  Byn following the inspector through the inspection, observing and asking questions, you will learn about your prospective purchase and get some tips on general maintenance.  Information that will be of great help to you after you've moved in.