Buying a home? The process can be stressful. A home inspection is supposed to give you peace of mind, but often has the opposite effect. You will be asked to absorb a lot of information in a short time. This often includes a written report, a checklist, photographs, environmental reports, and what the inspector himself says during the inspection. All this, combined with the seller's disclosure and what you notice yourself, makes the experience even more overwhelming. What should you do?
Relax. Most of your inspection will be maintenance recommendations, life expectancies for various systems and components, and minor imperfections. These are useful to know about. However, the issues that really matter will fall into four categories:
Most sellers are honest and are often surprised to learn of defects uncovered during an inspection. Realize that sellers are under no obligation to repair everything mentioned in the report. No home is perfect. Keep things in perspective. Do not kill your deal over things that do not matter. It is inappropriate to demand that a seller address deferred maintenance, conditions already listed on the seller's disclosure, or nit-picky items.
6. How much will it cost?
Costs vary dramatically, depending on the region, size and age of the house, scope of services and other factors. A typical range might be $300-$500, but consider the value of the home inspection in terms of the investment being made. Cost does not necessarily reflect quality.
5. How long will the inspection take?
The average on-site inspection time for a single inspector is two to three hours for a typical single-family house; anything significantly less may not be enough time to perform a thorough inspection.
4. Do you offer to do repairs or improvements based on the inspection?
Some inspector associations and state regulations allow the inspector to perform repair work on problems uncovered in the inspection. Other associations and regulations strictly forbid this as a conflict of interest. Be sure you understand the difference.
3. Are you specifically experienced in residential inspection?
Related experience in construction or engineering is helpful, but is no substitute for training, licensing and experience in the unique discipline of home inspection. If the inspection is for a commercial property, then this should be asked about as well.
2. How long have you been practicing in the home inspection profession and how many inspections have you completed?
The inspector should be able to provide his history in the profession and perhaps even a few names as referrals. The inspector's work history and experience is very important.
1. What does your inspection cover?
The inspector should ensure that their inspection and inspection report will meet all applicable requirements in your state if applicable and will comply with a well-recognized standard of practice and code of ethics. You should be able to request and see a copy of these items ahead of time and ask any questions you may have. If there are any areas you want to make sure are inspected, be sure to identify them upfront.
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