What is a home inspection?
It is a visual inspection of the structure and components of a home to find items that are not performing correctly or items that are unsafe. If a problem or a symptom of a problem is found our home inspector will include a description of the problem in a written report and may recommend further evaluation. Home buyers need a home inspection to find possible problems with the home before moving in.
Why is a home inspection important?
We are emotional beings and buying a home is a very big decision. While you’re picturing your future in a home you love you may find it hard to imagine any problems with the home. You also may lack the experience and expertise to identify any potential flaws in the home. Our certified professional home inspector is there to assist you by providing an honest, non-biased, third party evaluation. Once the inspection is complete you should thoroughly review the inspection and then talk to your real estate agent, or building professionals with the appropriate expertise, about any concerns.
What should you expect from your home inspection?
As your home inspector, you have trusted us with the task of completing a thorough evaluation of your home. We will spend as much time as it takes to walk through and look at as many of the home's components and systems as we can. If you are present for the inspection we will talk to you and discuss aspects of the home that you may want to know more about.
Our goal is to provide you (our client) with as much information about the current condition of the home as we can. Our attention to detail and our thoroughness are reflected in our narrative reporting format. From the first contact with us through the inspection delivery and explanation of your report, you will experience the ultimate in professionalism. Our report will provide valuable information and peace of mind while you consider your new home purchase.
What should you not expect from your home inspection?
A home inspection is not protection against future failures. Stuff happens! Components like heat systems and appliances can, and will, break. 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 ask your real estate agent about purchasing 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.
- Home inspectors do not “pass or fail” a house.
- The home inspector does not evaluate “desirability” of a property
- The home inspector cannot predict future repairs or possible malfunctions in the homes components
ACK…What if the Home inspector finds something during my home inspection?!?!
It isn’t a matter of IF the inspector will find something it’s a matter of WHAT they find. The reality is every home (even brand new ones) have issues, some of them minor, some more serious . You should evaluate the report with an open mind and be aware that every home comes with its share of maintenance responsibilities.
The conditions stated in our Report are not repair requirements. Some items in the Report are, by definition, subjective and the “opinion only” of the Inspector stating the relative conditions encountered. Our intention is to provide an unbiased analysis. Our Inspector is not allowed to make repair solutions or comment on the quality of materials and workmanship. Decisions regarding maintenance or repairs are left to you and your repair tradesperson. In addition, our Inspector is not allowed to answer the question, “Would you buy this home if you were me?”
Our purpose is to create a Report that can help you in your decision, but you should not base the decision to buy solely on our Report. Your decision to purchase this home includes responsibility for the future maintenance of the grounds, structure, and mechanical/electrical/plumbing systems.
What about building code compliance?
Building codes are constantly changing and a house built in 1950 was built to a completely different standard than a house built last week. Since we are not time travelers (although this would be another awesome superpower!) we can only assume that the home built in 1950 was built “to the standard of the day.” We have no way of knowing when remodeling may, or may not, have occurred and what the codes were at that specific time. Without the time travel superpower we can only do an inspection based on “Serviceability,” NOT Code Compliance.
We inspect a variety of structures which may have older types of wiring, plumbing, heating, etc. As an illustration, today, most local building departments require ground fault interrupter circuits, insulation in the exterior walls, anchor bolts, and dozens of other items which have not always been included in the building codes. Homes absent these installations can be “serviceable,” even though they do not meet current codes, (or may not even be desirable for modern life styles.) We assume that the “then current” codes were complied with at the time of construction.
We assume that if you are purchasing an “old” home, you are aware that it likely contains old wiring, old plumbing, old heating systems, old florring etc… The desirability of owning an older home is a matter of taste and is the decision of the buyer. The Code of Ethics of the American Institute of Inspectors® EXPLICITLY EXCLUDES COMMENTING ON “DESIRABILITY.”
Sorry - X-ray vision isn’t one of our super powers
As much as we think x-ray vision would be awesome... we cannot see through walls, furniture, dirt or concrete - or pretty much anything. What that means to you is that our inspector, despite his best efforts, is not capable is seeing all conditions that actually exist within a house. We make an evaluation of some components and, of course, cannot move furniture, or other things that are in the way, to get a better view. Even with our thorough effort to see everything we can, these are some examples of the types of things our Inspection cannot determine:
- Improperly made wiring connections.
- Roof, wall, or basement leaks that only occur under unusual conditions.
- Random outlets or switches that do not function.
- The inner workings and integrity of mechanical items including combustion chambers.
- Cracks in fireplaces, chimneys or liners.
- Underground and/or concealed pipes, drains, foundations, or wiring.
- A drafty or hard to heat home.
- Concealed rot and damage inside wall, floor, and ceiling cavities.
Buyers are always at risk. Our visual inspection may illuminate some areas of risk but cannot eliminate it. Our inspector is limited to the existing clues and symptoms on the day of the inspection and we cannot be liable for non-visible, obscure or concealed faults.
Owning a home comes with great responsibility of repairs and maintenance but even greater rewards in the long run.
Moisture is bad for everyone… not just swamp creatures
If we find evidence of moisture problems, like a plumbing leak we will certainly let you know. BUT, keep in mind that this is NOT a mold inspection. However, if moisture is found, then it is scientifically known that moisture and mold are inter-related. We do not claim to have the background, education, or experience necessary to formulate an opinion as to the existence or non-existence of mold. If moisture is listed in any portion of the report, then we want our client's to understand that mold may also be present and that they should meet with the experts of their choice to determine if there is a health risk.
Hazardous materials found during my Home Inspection
Hazardous materials and indoor air quality are beyond the scope of the Home Inspection Report. If asbestos, molds, fungi, concealed rot, sick home syndrome, indoor air quality, electromagnetic fields, fiberglass, formaldehyde, hazardous wastes, lead, radon, soils contamination, underground storage tank contamination, or other quality of drinking water and waste disposal are a concern, please contact an appropriate expert.