Home Inspection Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What is a home inspection?
A home inspection is a non-invasive examination of the accessible areas of the home. The general home inspection is based on the observations made on the date of the inspection, and not a prediction of future conditions.
Q. What does a home inspection include?
Our inspector’s report will cover the condition of the home’s heating system; central air conditioning system (temperature permitting); interior plumbing and electrical systems; the roof, attic and visible insulation; walls, ceilings, floors, windows and doors; the foundation, basement and structural components.
Q. Why do I need a home inspection?
Buying a home could be the largest single investment you will ever make. To minimize unpleasant surprises and unexpected expenses, you’ll want to learn as much as you can about the newly constructed or existing house before you buy it. A home inspection may identify the need for major repairs or builder oversights, as well as the need for maintenance to keep it in good shape. After the inspection, you will know more about the house, which will allow you to make decisions with confidence.
If you already are a homeowner, a home inspection can identify problems in the making and suggest preventive measures that might help you avoid costly future repairs.
If you are planning to sell your home, a home inspection can give you the opportunity to make repairs that will put the house in better selling condition.
Q. Why can’t I do it myself?
Even the most experienced homeowner lacks the knowledge and expertise of a professional home inspector. An inspector is familiar with the elements of home construction, proper installation, maintenance and home safety. He or she knows how the home’s systems and components are intended to function together, as well as why they fail.
Above all, most buyers find it difficult to remain completely objective and unemotional about the house they really want, and this may have an effect on their judgment. For accurate information, it is best to obtain an impartial, third-party opinion by a professional in the field of home inspection.
Q. Can a house fail a home inspection?
No. A professional home inspection is an examination of the current condition of a house. It is not an appraisal, which determines market value. It is not a municipal inspection, which verifies local code compliance. A home inspector, therefore, will not pass or fail a house, but rather describe its physical condition and indicate what components and systems may need major repair or replacement.
Q. When do I call a home inspector?
Typically, a home inspector is contacted immediately after the contract or purchase agreement has been signed. Before you sign, be sure there is an inspection clause in the sales contract, making your final purchase obligation contingent on the findings of a professional home inspection. This clause should specify the terms and conditions to which both the buyer and seller are obligated.
Are you selling your home? Let our InterNACHI Certified Professional Inspector inspect it before you even list it. A Move-In Certified home has been pre-inspected, which means that the seller can confirm that there are no major systems in need of immediate repair or replacement, and no known safety hazards. A Move-In Certified Seller Inspection informs you of any defects or problems with your home so that you can address them before prospective buyers discover them. You can then take the time you need to obtain reasonable repair estimates. Show prospective buyers that you are dealing in good faith. Avoid 11th-hour negotiations and delays, and justify your full asking price by having your home pre-inspected now.
Q. Do I have to be there?
While it’s not required that you be present for the inspection, it is highly recommended. You will be able to observe the inspector and ask questions as you learn about the condition of the home and how to maintain it.
Q. What if the report reveals problems?
No house is perfect. If the inspector identifies problems, it doesn’t mean you should or shouldn’t buy the house, only that you will know in advance what to expect. If your budget is tight, or if you don’t want to become involved in future repair work, this information will be important to you. If major problems are found, a seller may agree to make repairs.
Q. If the house proves to be in good condition, did I really need an inspection?
Definitely. Now you can complete your home purchase with confidence. You’ll have learned many things about your new home from the inspector’s written report, and will have that information for future reference.
Q. How will my Home Energy Report help me?
It will help you lower your energy bills, improve the comfort of your home and reduce your energy usage. Most times we can show you how to save more on your energy bills than you paid for your home inspection.
Q. What is Aging in Place?
“Aging in place” is the phenomenon describing senior citizens’ ability to live independently in their homes for as long as possible. Those who age in place will not have to move from their present residence in order to secure necessary support services in response to their changing needs.
Q. What is OverSeeIt?
Whether you’re replacing a roof, remodeling a bathroom or building a new house, you want to make sure your contractor is doing it right. As an OverSeeIt inspector I’ll stop by and check to see that the work is being done properly. This is a very important step before you make the final payment to the contractor.
Q. What are the advantages of Move-In Certified Home?
There are many advantages to a home that is Move-In Certified.
For Buyers it means the inspection has already been completed and paid for by the seller. This prevents delays and gives them important information about the home.
For Sellers it gives them a professional opinion of the conditions of the home and gives them a chance to fix any problems or get estimates without being rushed.
For Real Estate Agents it can be used as a marketing tool that goes beyond the seller’s disclosure. This kind of forthrightness is a great way to help sell the home and engage in a low-stress transaction.
Q. What is a pre-listing consultation?
Home Inspectors work for their client – nearly 80% of the time this is the buyer. A pre-listing consultation is a service offered to help the seller prepare the home to be sold before it is listed. Examples of our consultation services are:
Perform a visual inspection of major systems to check for maintenance issues or defects.
Explain to the seller what the issues are and how they can be corrected.
Provide a list of general things sellers can do to prepare the home for the home inspection.
Provide a list of common issues found on home inspections.
Provide a copy of the Standards of Practice for home inspections.
Provide a list of qualified contractors that can work on your home if needed.
THIS IS A CONSULTATION, NOT A HOME INSPECTION; NO WRITTEN REPORT WILL BE PROVIDED.
Q. What does your water test check for?
Our water test kit was specifically designed to test for the most common contaminants found in well water, including: iron, copper, lead, bacteria, pesticides, nitrates, nitrites, chlorine, pH and hardness.
Q. Can you describe the difference between a Limited Mold Inspection and a Complete Mold Inspection?
Both are performed by an IAC2-certified mold inspector following the IAC2 Mold Inspection Standards of Practice.
A Limited Mold Inspection includes a non-invasive, visual examination of the readily accessible, visible, and installed systems and components of only a specific room or area. At least three air samples (one indoor and two outdoor); and possibly one surface sampling at an area of concern.
A Complete Mold Inspection includes a non-invasive, visual examination of the readily accessible, visible, and installed systems and components of the whole building, including moisture, temperature and humidity measurements. At least three air samples (one indoor and two outdoor); and possibly one surface sampling at an area of concern.
Q. Are you a full time inspector?
Yes, some inspectors use inspecting as a second job but I’m a full time inspector. This allows me to be available for inspections all day and when it’s convenient for my clients. Also, since inspecting is my only job it allows me to fully concentrate on the homes I’m inspecting.
Q. Do I need to have a radon test?
The EPA recommends that all homes be tested for radon. Radon comes from the natural breakdown of uranium and can be found all across the U.S. and in all types of homes. Nearly 1 out of every 3 homes in Indiana is estimated to have elevated radon levels. The only way to know about the radon levels of a home is to test.
Q. What kind of radon test do you perform?
We use a continuous radon monitor that has four radon sensors to increase sensitivity which helps for short term tests used in real estate transactions. The monitor takes several hourly air samples and will produce a more accurate radon result. The monitor also has built in tamper resistance that will help our technician verify the radon results are reliable. You will receive your radon report the same day the radon test concludes.
Q. What is a WDI Inspection.
Although commonly referred to as a “termite inspection,” it’s actually a WDI inspection which stands for wood-destroying insect. A proper WDI inspection looks for evidence of infestation by termites, carpenter ants, wood-devouring beetles and carpenter bees, as well as evidence of past infestations, damage to wood, or conditions conducive to infestation. (The term WDO, for “wood-destroying organism,” is also sometimes used.)
Q. I see you’re a member of Independent Home Inspectors of North America (IHINA), how does that benefit me?
This is a controversial question, one that stirs ire among inspectors and that draws defensive reactions from many real estate professionals. Most people don’t realize that agents are the primary source of home inspector referrals. Most don’t seem to give it a second thought that it might be a conflict of interest. They simply hire the agent’s favorite inspector, without asking if this is the best one available.
The dilemma for agents and brokers is obvious: they make money when transactions are closed. Transactions close when buyers are satisfied with the condition of the property. The best home inspectors find more problems. Inspectors that do quick and cheap inspections don’t disclose as many of these conditions, posing less risk to the agent’s income. For many agents, the temptation to recommend a less thorough inspector is too great to resist. When temptation prevails, the lesser inspector becomes the agent’s choice, while the thorough inspector is written off as a “deal killer.”
Our membership in IHINA shows that we work for our clients and not the realtors. There are some great realtors in our area that know how through our inspections are and still recommend us. However, we always work in the best interest of our clients.
Q. What is an Expert Witness?
An “expert witness” is someone with expertise in a particular area who is called to testify during litigation. A “fact witness” is a person whose testimony is limited to giving facts. An “expert witness,” by contrast, is allowed to give his or her professional opinion.
Q. Do you accept credit cards?
Yes, we accept all major credit cards.