The Importance of Inspection

Real estate is a major investment. Before purchasing any property it is prudent to establish the condition of that property. A home inspection is an objective visual examination of the physical structure and systems of a home, from the roof to the foundation.

A home inspection as part of a purchase allows the buyer to know the condition of the home and thus helps the buyer to identify possible sources of future expense. A home inspection can also help owners of real estate to determine the presence or magnitude of problems in their home. Home inspections also make a homeowner aware of maintenance issues in and around the home.

The following frequently-asked questions were excerpted from the American Society of Home Inspectors web site:

Can’t I do the inspection 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, 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 judgement. 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?

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.

When do I call in 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.

Do I have to be there?

It is not necessary for you to be present for the inspection, but it is recommended. You will be able to observe the inspector and ask questions directly, as you learn about the condition of the home, how its systems work, and how to maintain it. You will also find the written report easier to understand if you’ve seen the property first-hand through the inspector’s eyes.

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 don’t wish to become involved in future repair work, this information will be extremely important to you.

If the house proves to be in good condition, did I really need an inspection?

Definitely. Now you can complete your home purchase with your eyes open as to the condition of the property and all its equipment and systems. You will also have learned many things about your new home from the inspector’s written report, and will want to keep that information for future reference.