Why you should get an Inspection
Whether you are buying or selling a home,
you should have a professional home inspection performed.
A home inspection will look at the systems
that make up the building such as:
Structural elements, foundation, framing etc
Cosmetic condition, paint, siding etc
If you are buying a home, you need to know
exactly what you are getting. A home inspection, performed by a
professional home inspector, will reveal any hidden problems with
the home so that they may be addressed BEFORE the deal is closed.
You should require an inspection at the time you make a formal
offer. Make sure the contract has an inspection contingency. Then,
hire your own inspector and pay close attention to the inspection
report. If you aren't comfortable with what he finds, you should
kill the deal.
Likewise, if you are selling a home, you
want to know about such potential hidden problems before your
house goes on the market. Almost all contracts include the
condition that the contract is contingent upon completion of a
satisfactory inspection. And most buyer's are going to insist that
the inspection be a professional home inspection, usually by an
inspector they hire. If the buyer's inspector finds a problem, it
can cause the buyer to get cold feet and the deal can often fall
through. At best, surprise problems uncovered by the buyer's
inspector will cause delays in closing, and usually you will have
to pay for repairs at the last minute, or take a lower price on
It's better to pay for your own inspection
before putting your home on the market. Find out about any hidden
problems and correct them in advance. Otherwise, you can count on
the buyer's inspector finding them, at the worst possible time.
Tips on Reading an Inspection
When interviewing a home inspector, ask the
inspector what type of report format he or she provides. There are
many styles of reports used by property inspectors, including the
checklist, computer generated reports, and the narrative style.
Some reports are delivered on site and some
may take as long as 4 - 6 days for delivery. All reporting systems
have pros and cons.
The most important issue with an inspection
report is the descriptions given for each item or component. A
report that indicates the condition as "Good", "Fair" or "Poor"
without a detailed explanation, is vague and can be easily
misinterpreted. An example of a vague condition would be:
Kitchen Sink: Condition - Good, Fair, or
None of these descriptions gives the
homeowner an idea what is wrong. Does the sink have a cosmetic
problem? Does the home have a plumbing problem? A good report
should supply you with descriptive information on the condition of
the site and home. An example of a descriptive condition is:
Kitchen sink: Condition - Minor wear, heavy
wear, damaged, rust stains, or chips in enamel finish. Recommend
sealing sink at counter top.
As you can see, this narrative description
includes a recommendation for repair. Narrative reports without
recommendations for repairing deficient items may be difficult to
comprehend, should your knowledge of construction be limited.
Take the time and become familiar with your
report. Should the report have a legend, key, symbols or icons,
read and understand them thoroughly. The more information provided
about the site and home, the easier to understand the overall
At the end of the inspection your inspector
may provide a summary with a question and answer period. Use this
opportunity to ask questions regarding terms or conditions that
you may not be familiar with. A good inspector should be able to
explain the answers to your questions. If for some reason a
question cannot be answered at the time of the inspection, the
inspector should research the question and obtain the answer for
you. For instance, if the inspector's report states that the
concrete foundation has common cracks, be sure to ask, "Why are
they common?" The answer you should receive will be along these
lines: common cracks are usually due to normal concrete curing and
or shrinkage. The inspector's knowledge and experience is how the
size and characteristics of the cracking is determined.
We recommend that you accompany your
inspector through the entire inspection if possible. This helps
you to understand the condition of the home and the details of the
Read the report completely and understand
the condition of the home you are about to purchase. After all, it
is most likely one of the largest investments you will ever make.