What is a Home Inspection

The real estate industry is a multi-billion dollar sector in the United States. There are many players in each real estate transaction with home inspectors being as important as the real estate closing itself. Families move, on the average, once every five to seven years. Also, just under 70% of all homes bought and sold in the United States are evaluated by a home inspector. Given these two statistics, the home inspection industry is a major player in most real estate transactions.

Home Inspection Defined A home inspection is a non-invasive visual examination of specific components in a residential property. The general components observed or evaluated are the structure, mechanical systems, and the lot or grounds. A home inspection is not a code inspection; they can be very different. Many states now require home inspectors to be licensed and insured. Licensed home inspectors are considered professionals.

So, before selecting a home inspector, ask for their credentials and find out whether your state licenses home inspectors. The licensing state will generally require that the home inspector have a certain number of classroom hours (some actually take correspondence), attend a specified number of "dead inspection", attend a certain number of "live inspections", and pass a national test. In many states, after the test has been passed but before the home inspector performs a home inspection on residential property for resale, the home inspector must obtain Errors and Omissions and General Liability insurances. States licensing home inspectors will typically have "Standards of Practice" or a "Code of Ethics" that the inspectors must follow.

The Standards typically outline the minimum you can expect from a home inspector or what can and cannot be expected in a home inspection. For example, home inspections are generally not technically exhausted. That is, home inspectors do not necessarily inspect the cause of certain problems; they merely report that there appears to be an issue and recommend further evaluation. Home inspections may contain items greater than the typical Standards but they should never contain less. For example an HVAC technician who is now performing home inspection may offer a very thorough evaluation of your heating and cooling system for an additional fee.

This is perfectly fine as the home inspector can always do more than the Standards of Practice. How Much Will A Typical Home Inspection Cost? The cost of a home inspection varies widely by location of the property, size of the buildings inspected, and the depth of the inspection. As a general statement, home inspectors must inspect certain systems in the home. They must also describe certain features of the home as well.

For instance, saying that the home has a roof is no more information than most of us can gather on our own. But saying that the dwelling has an asphalt shingled roof with OSB sheathing gives us a considerable amount of additional information. With that said and at the time of this writing, Baton Rouge home inspections run between $250 and $400 per inspection for a house under 2,500 square feet.

New Orleans home inspections and Lafayette home inspections run roughly in the same range. This price range may appear wide but certain inspectors offer a "bare bones inspection" that is relatively cheap while others offer a few more bells and whistles for a slightly higher price. Lower priced home inspections may be as equally thorough as a higher priced inspection but this is not always the case. Do keep in mind that a higher price does not necessarily mean less value in the home inspection business. The cliché, "You get what you pay for" definitely holds true when dealing with home inspections. What Can I Expect From My Home Inspector? Home inspectors should provide a thorough evaluation of your home as defined above.

After inspecting your home, home inspectors will give you a home inspection report. These reports will generally outline each area that the home inspector reviewed and, more importantly, those that he did not. Limitations are outlined in the home inspection report. Limitations of your home inspection are those items that prevented a thorough inspection. Home inspectors do not move furniture or rugs and many do not remove items such as child proof receptacle covers.

Given that a home inspection is a visual examination, furniture or grass around the foundation can really obscure the inspector's view. A typical home inspection report will contain a detail section as well as a summary page or pages. Many useful tips may be buried within the text of the home inspection report.

It is always good to take some time to sit down and review the whole report. Some reports may be in excess of 30 pages. Don't let this alarm you! Home inspection reports typically will explain the deficiencies found in your home as well as offer some very useful tips. Some inspection reports can be viewed as a mini homeowners ? owner's manual. Most home inspectors pay for a report template from third parties. This template may be either a paper template that is completed by hand or a computerized template that is completed on the computer.

There are advantages to each type of report, most of which deal with the speed that the client receives the home inspection report. The typical turnaround time for a home inspection report may be as quick as the inspection is complete to as long as 24 hours or more out. This is a question that you should ask your inspector when you are requesting your home inspection.

Must I Be at the Home Inspection Home inspectors typically like their clients to be at the inspection. They do realize that many times this is not possible. During a typical inspection, the client, the seller's real estate agent, and the client's real estate agent will attend the home inspection. It is wise for the client to take the time during the home inspection to walk around the house and make a list of questions that they would like to ask the home inspector. Making a list and asking the questions at the end of the inspection is most always preferable to asking individual questions as they come to mind. The more the client interrupts the home inspector, the more likely the home inspector is to overlook something.

That is not necessarily a deficiency in the home inspector but a quality of being human. The home inspector is concentrating on doing a good job for the client but the more interruptions, the more likely an error will occur. Home inspectors generally welcome questions from the client but most like them asked all at once at the end of the inspection.

Don't be afraid to ask but also remember that the inspector is not necessarily going to tell you what you want to hear. You are paying them for their unbiased point of view. They are trying their best to provide you with quality information about the current visible condition of your new home so that you will not be unpleasantly surprised in the future. Once the home inspection is complete, the home inspector will generally review the findings with the client.

Many call this their "post inspection interview" and there is no better place to do this than on site. The client can walk around with the home inspector and see the potential issues first hand. This is also the perfect opportunity for the client to ask the inspector about the issues on their list.

When Do I Pay for the Home Inspection The home inspection fee is typically paid to the inspector before the inspection report is delivered. Many inspectors prefer to have the money in hand before they begin the inspection process while others may wait until the report is prepared and ready to be delivered. This is a point that will come up so the client can ask the home inspector before the inspection at what point they require payment. If the client is unable to make the inspection, it is okay to send payment with the realtor or another representative. The client should keep in mind that the home inspector may or may not discuss their findings with the agent.

There is confidentiality between the client and the home inspector. The client should designate who can receive the home inspection information other than themselves. Good Luck! This should give you an idea of what to expect from a home inspector and how the inspection process will be handled.

Each home inspector is different and may use somewhat different techniques. Good luck and best wishes with your home inspection!.

Darren Dunner writer for Arbuckle LLC has been providing quality home inspection and quality service.

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