American Residential Inspections, Inc.
Frequently Asked Questions
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 it 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 the 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 may 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 condition. 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 the 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 the opportunity to make repairs that will put the house in better selling condition.
Can't I just do it myself?
Even the most experienced home owner lacks the knowledge and expertise of a professional home inspector who has inspected hundreds, perhaps thousands, of homes in his or her career. An inspector is familiar with the many elements of home construction, and their proper installation and maintenance. He or she understands how the home's systems and components are intended to function together, as well as how and why they fail.
Above all, most buyers 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 inspection?
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 the oldest and leading nonprofit 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 of Practice 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 many 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?
Members of ASHI 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 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.
When do I call the home inspector?
A home inspector is typically contacted right after the contract or purchase agreement has been signed and is often available within a few days. However, before you sign, be sure that there is an inspection clause in the contract, making your purchase obligation contingent upon the findings of a professional home inspection. This clause should specify the terms to which both the buyer and seller are obligated.
What if the report reveals problems?
No house is perfect. If the inspector identifies problems, it doesn't necessarily mean you shouldn't buy the house, only that you will know in advance what to expect. A seller may adjust the purchase price or contract terms if major problems are found. If your budget is tight, or if you do not wish to become involved in future repair work, this information will be extremely important to you.
Do I really need a home inspection?
The answer is yes, and that is not only because we are in the business. Many families today have to scrimp and save to have the money to buy their first home or to move up to a larger home that meets their needs. When your budget is already stretched to the max a home inspection just makes good sense. Knowing as much as you can about the condition of a home can help prevent unpleasant surprises down the road. If the household budget is already stretched, an unexpected problem or condition may very well destroy your budget.
Can't I just get my friend who works in construction to take a look at the house?
Sure you can, but are they trained to use a systematic approach to examine the home and its components. Our inspection takes from two to three hours to complete and we work our way through the home system by system and room by room. Will your friend provide a written report that you can use to make decisions about asking for repairs to be made or negotiating the final sales price? Our inspection and final report provides you with information you can use to make informed decisions about the home you are considering.
We are getting an FHA loan and we were told that FHA inspects the house. Do I still need an independent Inspection?
The FHA appraiser will come out and look at the home to determine its value. They have a short list of items that they "inspect" to make sure the home meets the minimum standard that the FHA allows in order to give you a loan. The FHA knows that its minimum standards check is not the same as a professional home inspection and that is why they strongly recommend that you have a separate professional inspection of the home.
Should we attend the inspection?
Please do! - Attending the inspection is not required but it is strongly recommended. By attending the inspection, you will see the things that the inspector sees first hand. You will be able to observe the inspection process and ask questions directly as you learn about the condition of the house, how its systems work, and how to maintain it. You will also find the written report easier to understand if you attend the inspection.
What can we do if problems are found with the house?
When problems are found with the house, you should discuss the finding of the inspection with your attorney or the real estate agent to decide how best to proceed. Most real estate contracts have provisions about inspections and making repairs. It is important that you understand the provisions of your contract concerning inspections before you sign the contract.
Your options may include:
- Asking the seller to make the needed repairs.
- Asking the seller to adjust the purchase price.
- Paying for the repairs on your own.
- Deciding not to buy the home.
If you request that the seller make repairs, we always recommend that licensed professionals make all of the needed repairs.
Click here to schedule your inspection
Copyright 2009, ARI, Inc. All rights reserved.