Home Inspection...is it really necessary?
A home inspection gives the buyer more detailed information about the overall condition of the home prior to purchase. In a home inspection, a qualified inspector takes an in-depth, unbiased look at your potential new home to:
- Evaluate the physical condition: structure, construction, and mechanical systems;
- Identify items that need to be repaired or replaced; and
- Estimate the remaining useful life of the major systems, equipment, structure, and finishes.
Appraisals are Different from Home Inspections
Value and Condition of your Potential New Home
Appraisals are for lenders; home inspections are for buyers. An appraisal is required to:
- Estimate the market value of a house;
- Make sure that the house meets FHA minimum property standards/requirements; and
- Make sure that the property is marketable.
Finding a Qualified Home Inspector
FHA Does Not Guarantee the Value or Condition of your Potential New Home. If you find problems with your new home after closing, FHA can not give or lend you money for repairs, and FHA can not buy the home back from you. That is why it is so important for you, the buyer, to get an independent home inspection. Ask a qualified home inspector to inspect your potential new home and give you the information you need to make a wise decision.
Radon Gas Testing
As the homebuyer, it is your responsibility to carefully select a qualified inspector and pay for the inspection. The following sources may help you find a qualified home inspector:
- State regulatory authorities. Some states require licensing of home inspectors.
- Professional organizations may require home inspectors to pass tests and meet minimum qualifications before becoming a member.
- Phone book yellow pages. Look under “Building Inspection Service” or “Home Inspection Service.”
- The Internet. Search for “Building Inspection Service” or “Home Inspection Service.”
- Your real estate agent. Most real estate professionals have a list of home inspectors they recommend
National Lead Information Clearinghouse
Be an Informed Buyer
Many homes built before 1978 have lead paint, and some of these have lead hazards. To protect your family, it is recommended that you get a lead-based inspection and/or risk assessment. For more information, contact the National Lead Information Clearinghouse at 1-800-424-LEAD.
Spending Hundreds May Save Thousands
It is your responsibility to be an informed buyer. Be sure that what you buy is satisfactory in every respect. You have the right to carefully examine your potential new home with a qualified home inspector. You may arrange to do so before signing your contract, or may do so after signing the contract as long as your contract states that the sale of the home depends on the inspection.
10 Home Inspection Questions
When you make a written offer on a home, you should insist that the contract state that the offer is contingent on a home inspection conducted by a qualified inspector. You will have to pay for the inspection yourself, but it could keep you from buying a house that will cost you far more in repairs down the road. If you are satisfied with the results of the inspection, then your offer can proceed.
- 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 up front.
- 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 or her history in the profession and perhaps even a few names as referrals. Newer inspectors can be very qualified, and many work with a partner or have access to more experienced inspectors to assist them in the inspection.
- Are you specifically experienced in residential inspection?
Related experience in construction or engineering is helpful, but is no substitute for training 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.
- 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.
- 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. Additional inspectors may be brought in for very large properties and buildings.
- 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. HUD Does not regulate home inspection fees.
- What type of inspection report do you provide and how long will it take to receive the report?
Ask to see samples and determine whether or not you can understand the inspector's reporting style and if the time parameters fulfill your needs. Most inspectors provide their full report within 24 hours of the inspection.
- Will I be able to attend the inspection?
This is a valuable educational opportunity, and an inspector's refusal to allow this should raise a red flag. Never pass up this opportunity to see your prospective home through the eyes of an expert.
- Do you maintain membership in a professional home inspector association?
There are many state and national associations for home inspectors. Request to see their membership ID, and perform whatever due diligence you deem appropriate.
- Do you participate in continuing education programs to keep your expertise up to date?
One can never know it all, and the inspector's commitment to continuing education is a good measure of his or her professionalism and service to the consumer. This is especially important in cases where the home is much older or includes unique elements requiring additional or updated training.
Source: Housing and Urban Development
Serving Central Florida Homebuyers for over 30-years
ORANGE COUNTY HOUSING FINANCE AUTHORITY
2211 E. Hillcrest St. | Orlando, FL 32803 | 407-894-0014