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House inspection questionsFrequently Asked Questions

What is a home inspection?
A home inspection is an objective visual examination of the physical structure and systems of a home, from the roof to the foundation. Having a home inspected is like giving it a physical checkup. If problems or symptoms are found, the home inspector may recommend further evaluation by local, qualified professionals in a particular field.

A home inspection is NOT an exhaustive evaluation of every system within the home.  Such an examination would require the resources of a variety of specialized professionals, would take an extensive amount of time and would cost much more money, typically cost prohibitive.

What does the inspection include?
See Standard Home Inspection page

Why do I need a home inspection?
For the Home Buyer:  The purchase of a home is probably the largest single investment you will ever make. To minimize unpleasant surprises and difficulties after the purchase, you should learn as much as you can about the condition of the property and the need for major repairs before you buy.

In addition to outlining maintenance needs, a home inspection also points out the positive and important aspects of a home, such as the location of all safety shut off switches or valves or the life expectancy of the installed fixtures. After the inspection, you will have a much clearer understanding of the house you are about to purchase.

For the Home Owner: If you are already a home owner, a home inspection may be used to identify problems in the making and learn preventive measures that might avoid costly future repairs. If you are planning to sell your home, you may wish to have a home inspection prior to placing your home on the market. This will give you a better understanding of conditions that may be discovered by the buyer's inspector, and give you the opportunity to make the repairs that will put the house in better selling condition.

What are your inspection fees?
Our inspection fees for single family homes are based on the size of the house, not its selling price.  When contacting us, it would be helpful to know the official square footage of the home's interior living spaces.  We use this number to calculate price.

The inspection fees will also vary depending on the scope of the services provided.  If we are providing other ancillary services in addition to the standard building inspection, additional fees will apply.  Such services may include a wood destroying pest inspection ("termite" inspection; performed by a third party) or a radon gas test.  Please inquire about these ancillary services.

IMPORTANT: Don't let cost be a major factor in deciding whether or not to have a home inspection, or in the selection of your home inspector. The knowledge gained from a home inspection is well worth the cost, and the lowest-priced inspector is not necessarily a bargain. The inspector's qualifications, including experience, training, and professional affiliations, should be the most important consideration.

Can a house fail your inspection?
No, a house cannot fail a private, non-municipal home inspection.  A professional home inspection is simply an examination of the current condition of your prospective home. It is not an appraisal which determines market value, or a municipal inspection, which verifies local code compliance.  Appraisals and municipal inspections may be performed on the house, but not by us.  A private home inspector, therefore, will not pass or fail a house, but rather describe its physical conditions and indicate what may need repair or replacement.

When should I call a home inspector?
A home inspector is typically contacted immediately after the contract or purchase agreement has been signed, and is often available within a few days. However, before you sign, be sure there is an inspection clause in the sales contract, making your final purchase obligation contingent upon the findings of a professional home inspection. This clause should specify the terms to which both buyer and seller are obligated.

Do I have to attend the inspection?
While it is not required for you to be present for the inspection, it is highly recommended. You will be able to observe the inspector and ask questions directly, as you learn about the condition of the home, how the systems work, and how to maintain it. You will also find the written report easier to understand if you've seen the property first-hand through the inspector's eyes.  Plus, your attendance may be required in order to sign the Inspection Agreement and take care of payment for our services, if these have not already been done on-line.

What if the report reveals problems?

No house is perfect. If the inspector identifies problems, it doesn't necessarily mean you shouldn't buy the house, only that you will know in advance what to expect. A seller may adjust the purchase price or make repairs if major problems are found. If your budget is light, or if you wish to become involved in future repair work, this information will be extremely important to you. There are several paths to take after the condition of the house has been disclosed to you.  Check with your Realtor for what to do next.

If the house proves to be in good condition, did I really need an inspection?

Definitely. Now you can complete your home purchase with your eyes open as to the condition of the property and its equipment and systems. You will also have learned many things about your new home from the inspector's written report, and will want to keep that information for future reference.  For example, you may find out from our inspection that your electric panel is already full to capacity which will make your future plans to add circuits in the basement or finished attic more expensive.

How long does the inspection usually take?

The majority of our home inspections take between 2 and 3 hours, depending on several variables.  Some larger homes can take between 4 and 5 hours.


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