Home Inspections FAQ's

 


 The Beach Home Inspections Team has answered many of the general questions about Home Inspections that our clients have asked us through the years. We hope that you find the answers to the questions below informative. Scroll down the page to view all of the questions and answers or <CLICK> on the specific question at the top of the page to view the answer.

If you have any questions about Home Inspections that we can answer for you and/or that you believe would be useful to others, please e-mail the questions to us at:
Information@BeachHomeInspections.com


 


 

 

 

What is a “Home Inspection”?   A Home Inspection is an objective visual examination of the physical structure and major mechanical systems of a home, from the roof to the foundation and everything in between. If problems, signs of future problems, or needed maintenance are found, we may recommend further evaluation by contractors or licensed tradesmen.

 

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Who needs a Home Inspection?   Home Buyers:  The purchase of a home is probably the single largest investment you will ever make. You should learn as much as possible about the condition of the property and the need for any major repairs or future maintenance before you buy, thus reducing the risk of unpleasant surprises afterwards. A Home Inspection will also point out the positive aspects of a home and some of the maintenance that is required to maintain the home. After the inspection you will understand more about the home that you are getting ready to purchase. Many home buyers have saved literally thousands of dollars through information provided by a Home Inspection.

Home Owners / Sellers:  A Home Inspection can be used to identify problem areas and maintenance needs that may save you money if addressed early in the repair process. If you are planning to place your home on the market, a Pre-Listing Inspection will help you to learn the condition of your home and give you the opportunity to repair any problems before the buyer’s Home Inspector finds them. Thus, reducing your stress in one part of the home selling negotiations and the time that it takes to get to the closing table.

 

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What is included in the inspection?   The Home Inspection includes the physical structure and major systems of the home, from the roof to the foundation and everything in between. Beach Home Inspections exceeds the Standards of Practice of the National Association of Certified Home Inspectors as well as ASHI and NAHI. The major systems generally include and are not limited to:
                             
Structural Components: Foundations, floors and walls, crawl spaces, basements, etc.
                              Exterior Components: Siding, trim, windows, doors, garage doors, decks, driveways, drainage systems, etc.
                              Roofing: Coverings & roofing materials, flashings, chimneys, vent pipes, guttering, skylights, etc.
                              Plumbing: Piping, fixtures, faucets, water heaters, fuel storage systems, etc.
                              Electrical: Wiring, main service panels, conductors, switches, receptacles, etc.
                              Heating: Equipment, safety controls, distribution systems, chimneys and flues, thermostats, filters, etc.
                              Air Conditioning & Heat Pumps: Cooling and air handling equipment, controls and ducting, thermostats, etc.
                              Interior: Partitions, ceilings, floors, railings, doors and windows, etc.
                              Insulation & Ventilation: Attics, walls, floors, foundations, kitchens and bathrooms, etc.

 

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What does a Home Inspection cost?   The Home Inspection Fee is based on the size of the home, particular features in the house, special structures and type of report. However, the cost should not be a factor in the decision as to whether or not to have an inspection. You might save many times the cost of the inspection if you are able to negotiate the repairs of any significant problems that are found by the inspector. The knowledge gained from an inspection is well worth the cost, and only pennies compared to the price of the home, since they aren’t always in good condition. The lowest priced Home Inspector is not necessarily a bargain. The inspector’s qualifications, including experience, training and professional affiliations, should be the most important considerations.

 

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How long does a typical inspection take?   Most Home Inspections take between 2 and 4 hours. Times may vary depending on the size, age, and condition of the house and property. The Home Inspection process is not an area that you want to rush through! The length of the inspection should not be important if the end results in thoroughness! In most case we can provide you with an estimated time frame based on the particulars of the property being inspected.

 

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Why can’t I, a family member, or a friend do the inspection?   This is the biggest mistake that many potential homeowners make when purchasing a home. Although you or the person you are considering may be very skilled, they are not trained or experienced with Professional Home Inspections. A Professional Home Inspection is a unique skill unlike any other. An inspector is familiar with many elements of home construction, materials and systems, and their proper installation and maintenance. Inspectors understand how the home’s systems and components are intended to function together, as well as how and why they fail. Most homebuyers find it very difficult to remain completely objective about the house they really want which 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 Inspections. Many contractors, and other trades professionals hire a professional Home Inspector to inspect their homes when they make a purchase.

 

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Can a house “fail” an inspection?   No! A Home Inspection is simply an examination into the current condition of the home and is not an appraisal or a Municipal Code inspection. A Home Inspector will not pass or fail a house. Instead a Home Inspector will describe its condition and indicate which items will need immediate or near future repairs or replacement.  Any needs for maintenance to maintain the home in good condition and safely for the occupants will also be disclosed.

 

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How do I find a Home Inspector?   The best sources are friends, business acquaintances or your Realtor, who have been satisfied with and can recommend Home Inspectors that they have used in the past. In addition, the names of local Home Inspectors and Home Inspection firms can be found in the Yellow Pages or Internet Yellow Pages listed typically under “Building Inspection Services” or “Home Inspection Services” and by contacting professional home inspection organizations.

Whatever your referral source, you will want to make sure that the Home Inspector is a member of one of the major independent and nonprofit Home Inspection Organizations, such as the National Association of Certified Home Inspectors (NACHI), the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) or the National Association of Home Inspectors (NAHI) as well as a member in good standing with the Better Business Bureau. You also may consider a locally owned and operated organization versus a large franchise.

 

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When do I schedule the Home Inspection?   The Home Inspection is typically scheduled right after the seller accepts the offer to buy the home with the purchase being contingent on a Home Inspection. Schedule a Home Inspection as soon as you can since the time limit for an inspection is usually 7 days and many inspectors have very busy schedules and will need time to schedule you in.

 

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Do I need to be at the inspection?   It is not necessary for you to be present for the Home Inspection, but it is highly recommended. Being there will allow you to observe the inspection process and ask questions directly. You will also learn more about the home, how the systems work, and how to maintain them. You will also find the written report easier to understand if you have seen the property first-hand with the inspector. If you are unable to be present for the entire inspection, we recommend that you arrive between the middle and end of the inspection to review the Home Inspection Report.

 

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How long is the Home Inspection Report?   Our Home Inspection Reports average between 18 to 25 pages, depending on the condition and size of the property. The report has two main sections, the main body which describes all of the components of the home and their condition and the summary page which is a list of only the components that have deficiencies. The report will also include any pertinent information about upcoming maintenance needs and any suggestions for future upgrades and/or improvements. Our binder also includes several other documents including a “Home-Owners Handbook” on how to take care of your investment; an Environmental Concerns Booklet from the EPA addressing issues such as mold and radon; an Energy Savers Booklet published by the US Department of Energy; and some other useful pieces of information.

 

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Do you inspect swimming pools, spas, alarm systems, wells, septic systems, EIFS, etc.?   We only inspect the main structure and systems of the house and not any sub-systems. Sub-systems typical require specialized training and testing equipment. It is highly recommended that you do have a well inspected by a licensed testing company if it is being used as the primary source of drinking water The septic system should also be evaluated by a professional septic contractor who will perform a specialized intrusive inspection of the entire septic drain system.

 

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Do I really need a Home Inspector or an Engineer?   You need a Home Inspector. When you hire a Home Inspector, you are hiring an experienced professional who has experience and training in the building industry. It is the job of the inspector to not only evaluate the condition of the house’s major systems and structural integrity, but also to evaluate how these systems are working together and identify those areas that need to be watched, monitored, evaluated and repaired or replaced. Your Home Inspector will give you the “Big Picture” analysis of the home you are purchasing. If the Home Inspector identifies the need for a costly, detailed evaluation of any of the house’s systems or structures, he will generally recommend the appropriate professional tradesman. The need for this kind of expense is rare.

 

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Do I need a Home Inspection when my lender is having the house appraised?   YES! A house appraisal is an independent evaluation of the current market value of a house or property. In general, the purpose of an appraisal is to set the current value so that the lender can determine how much money it can loan the buyer. The appraiser looks at similar properties in the area and the prices at which they sold to set the value of the house you are buying.
A Home Inspector conducts a thorough evaluation of the house’s major systems and structural integrity. Whereas the appraiser is typically working for the bank, the Home Inspector is working for YOU! The Home Inspector identifies items that need repairs or replacement prior to closing which will help reduce your risk and possible out-of-pocket expense for major repairs.

 

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Do you fix any of the problems that you find?   The Code of Ethics of the National Association of Certified Home Inspectors as well as those of ASHI, NAHI and the State Certification through the DPOR prohibits members from doing repair work on homes they inspect. This assures that there will not be any conflict of interest by the Home Inspector which assures a completely unbiased inspection.

 

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What if I have a question after the Home Inspection?   You can call us and discuss anything about your new home, whether it concerns an item that was inspected, or any improvements after the inspection for as long as you own that home. Our Home Inspection Service is a long term investment!

 

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What happens when problems are discovered during the inspection?   Our Home Inspection Report will tell you about the condition of the home, including any need for maintenance, repairs or replacement of components of the home. It is up to you and your Realtor to decide how the problems are to be addressed, whether through asking the seller to repair the items through negotiations or having the repairs done yourself after you close on the property. These issues are also affected by the current market and the value of the property at the time of the sell. In some cases the seller will not agree to do any repairs which will leave you open to “walk away” from the negotiations or continue with the purchase of the home without the needed repairs completed by the seller. The seller may also reduce the price of the home so that you can take care of the problems after the closing. But in most cases, the Home Inspection findings will give you the power to negotiate.

 

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NACHI: The National Association of Certified Home Inspectors is a non-profit organization helping home inspectors achieve financial success and maintain inspection excellence.




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