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 check-up. If problems or symptoms are found, the inspector may recommend further evaluation.
What does an inspection include?
The standard home inspector's report will review the condition of the home's heating system, central air conditioning system (temperature permitting), interior plumbing and electrical systems; the roof, attic, and visible insulation; walls, ceilings, floors, windows and doors; the foundation, basement, and visible structure.
Why do I need a home inspection?
The purchase of a home is probably the largest single investment you will ever make. You should learn as much as you can about the condition of the property and the need for any major repairs before you buy, so that you can minimize unpleasant surprises and difficulties afterwards. Of course, a home inspection also points out the positive aspects of a home, as well as the maintenance that will be necessary to keep it in good shape. After the inspection, you will have a much clearer understanding of the property you are about to purchase.
If you are already a home owner, a home inspection may be used to identify problems in the making and to learn preventive measures which might avoid costly future repairs. If you are planning to sell your home, you may wish to have an inspection prior to placing your home on the market. This will give you a better understanding of conditions which may be discovered by the buyer's inspector, and an opportunity to make repairs that will put the house in better selling condition.
What does a home inspection cost?
The inspection fee for a typical one-family house varies geographically, as does the cost of housing. Similarly, within a given area, the inspection fee may vary depending upon the size of the house, particular features of the house, its age, and possible additional services, such as inspection of a swimming pool, spa, or additional secondary structures. It is a good idea to check local prices on your own.
However, do not let cost be a factor in deciding whether or not to have a home inspection, or in the selection of your home inspector. The knowledge gained from an inspection performed by an experienced ASHI inspector is well worth the premium fee that he or she will command over other inspectors. The type of inspection report that your home inspector provides is also an important consideration. A detailed, typewritten narrative report is far superior to a handwritten checklist report, and is much easier to understand.
Ultimately, it is the inspector's qualifications, including his or her experience, training, and professional affiliations, and the type of report that he/she provides that should be the most important considerations, not the fee that is charged. In the end, you will get what you pay for.
Can't I do it myself?
Even the most experienced home owner lacks the knowledge and expertise of a professional home inspector who has inspected thousands of homes in his or her career. An inspector is familiar with the many elements of home construction, their proper installation, and maintenance. He understands how the home's systems and components are intended to function together, as well as how and why they fail. In addition, most homebuyers find it very difficult to remain completely objective and unemotional about the house they really want, and this may affect their judgment. For the most accurate information, it is best to obtain an impartial third-party opinion by an expert in the field of home inspection.
Can a house fail an inspection?
No. A professional home inspection is 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. A home inspector, therefore, will not pass or fail a house, but rather describe its physical condition and indicate what may need repair or replacement.
What is the American Society of Home Inspectors®?
The American Society of Home Inspectors® (ASHI®) is America's oldest and leading non-profit professional association for independent home inspectors.
Since its formation in 1976, ASHI®'s Standards of Practice have served as the home inspector's performance guideline, universally recognized and accepted by professional and government authorities alike. Copies of the Standards are available free from ASHI®.
ASHI®'s professional Code of Ethics prohibits Members from engaging in conflict of interest activities which might compromise their objectivity. This is the consumer's assurance that the inspector will not, for example, use the inspection to solicit or refer repair work.
In order to assist home inspectors in furthering their education, ASHI® sponsors a number of technical seminars and workshops throughout the year, often in cooperation with one of its nearly 50 Chapters. ASHI® also serves as a public interest group by providing accurate and helpful consumer information to home buyers on home purchasing and home maintenance.
Who belongs to ASHI®?
ASHI members are independent professional home inspectors who have met the most rigorous technical and experience requirements in effect today. To become an ASHI® Member, an inspector must pass two written technical exams, have performed a minimum of 250 professional fee-paid home inspections, and maintained his or her candidate status for no less than six months. ASHI® Members are required to follow the Society's Code of Ethics, and to obtain continuing education credits in order to keep current with the latest in building technology, materials, and professional skills.
Where can I find out more about ASHI®?
Please visit their web site - http://www.ashi.org/