Buying A Home - The Home Inspection And You
What YOU, the consumer, need to know about the home you are planning to buy and the inspection issued for real estate transactions.
WHY HAVE A MECHANICAL AND STRUCTURAL INSPECTION?
Every year thousands of houses are bought and sold. Many of these homes are in excellent condition. But what about those that have problems? The seller may not be aware of existing or potential problems when his property is put on the market. The principle purpose of mechanical and structural inspections is to make sure that both the buyer and the seller are aware of the soundness of the property under consideration.
WHO ORDERS AN INSPECTION?
An inspection is usually ordered by the buyer. The buyer makes the final selection of the firm or inspector who is to make the actual inspections. The inspections are performed for nominal fees and, unless otherwise arranged, are usually paid by the buyer at the time of the inspections.
WHAT DOES THE INSPECTION INCLUDE?
A complete home inspection includes a thorough examination of the house from top to bottom. The inspector examines the heating system, the central air conditioning (when temperature permits) the interior plumbing and electrical systems, the roof and visible insulation, walls, ceilings, floors, windows and doors, the foundation, basement and structure. Tests for quality of water as well as the presence of termites, carpenter ants, and radon are also available.
The inspections are visual inspections. The inspector cannot disassemble air conditioners, stoves, furnaces or other such items. He can check for visual defects or for functional problems. Also, the inspector cannot see behind walls or paneling, or under slabs. He cannot remove carpeting or major items of furniture.
In spite of these limitations, there are usually many clues to warn the inspector of hidden problems. When these clues are spotted, a qualified inspector will be able to follow them and come to a solid understanding of what the hidden problems may be.
CAN A HOUSE "FAIL" INSPECTION?
No. A professional home inspection is simply an examination into the current condition of your prospective home. It is not an appraisal or a Municipal Code inspection. A home inspector, therefore, will not pass or fail a house, but will simply describe its condition and indicate which items will be in need of immediate or near future repair or replacement. The inspection report is a report and not a warranty.
HOW DO YOU SELECT AN INSPECTOR?
Recommendations from people who have had satisfactory experiences with an inspector in the past is one method. Your REALTOR or lending institution may be able to give you references about inspectors with whom they have had positive relationships. Make sure you select a qualified and recognized home inspector, a professional who has the necessary experience and background.