Home Inspections – Five Plus One Things You Should Know About Home Inspections
First, reasons you may want Home Inspections
- To inspect the home of your dreams, the one you wish to buy
- If you’re preparing to sell your home and want to avoid any hidden issues that may ruin the transaction
- The city requires an inspection whenever ownership / title holder changes
- If the buyer’s mortgage program or company demands it
Here are five things you should know about Home Inspectors and Home Inspections
1) You can choose the home inspector if your inspection is for above reasons #1 and #2 but not always for reason #3 and never for #4
In Minnesota Home Inspectors are licensed when they pay a fee and fill out an application to the state. Note I didn’t say anything about specific education, testing or continuing education. There isn’t any! If I wanted to become a home inspector I’d need to get a clip board, pencil and maybe a flashlight and call myself one. Granted business cards would be a plus, there again no verification of my ability is required. Like previously mentioned licensed by the state too is a plus but not a guarantee of my abilities. Depressing, isn’t it?
2) Your Realtor can recommend a home inspector do to past work experiences. Or you can find one through web sites like National Association of Home Inspectors, (NAHA).
- Here the inspector must complete an approved inspector program
- Demonstrate experience and competence as a home inspector
- Complete a written exam
- And adhere to the NAHA Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics
3) Home inspections are intended to point out adverse conditions (Safety), not cosmetic flaws (looks).
You should attend the inspection following the inspector throughout the inspection so you can learn what is important. It is quite common to find the inspector does not want or allow you to accompany to do so. However, the inspector will allow a set amount of time AFTER the inspection to go over adverse conditions. The inspector doesn’t have anything to hide during the inspection. Instead, the inspector doesn’t want any distractions causing something to be missed. Remember, due to aging and use, no home will be fault free even a new construction may have issues. During your appointed time with the inspector, the inspector will go over:
- items that need repair
- safety-related concerns
- items that may be close to worn out
The home inspector won’t comment on cosmetic items unless they impair the integrity of the home. Home inspectors will not do intrusive or destructive testing unless it is needed. And then only after getting written permission from the seller and seller’s realtor.
The forms used include basic safety issues found in residential homes. The average home inspection will require the inspector look and hundreds of items:
Outside and Basement
*Electrical components *Central heating *Air conditioning *Radon
*Basement / Crawlspaces *Garages *Steps
*Porches *Decks *Chimneys
*Roof *Windows *Doors
*Central Heating *Faucets *Toilets
*Electrical outlets *Electrical components
*Signs of pests (roaches, mice, etc…) if signs are found the inspector may recommend a separate pest inspection.
This is not all inclusive, remember there are hundreds of items in a normal single family residence! The report the inspector hands you should be concise and easy to understand. A good quality inspector will include photos showing adverse safety items found. Additionally, often photos of items near the end of their useful lifespan will be included as well.
4) Home Inspectors work for the person who is paying their fee.
The NAHI Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics that members act as an UNBIASED third party to the real estate transaction and discharge their duties with integrity and fidelity client. A reputable home inspector will not conduct a home inspection contingent on untruthful conclusions.
The inspector must maintain client confidentiality keeping report findings private, unless required by court order.
In Minnesota, you the seller are required to release any adverse findings in the “Seller’s Disclosure” form or use the “Seller’s Alternative Disclosure” form checking “Inspection by Third Party” and attach the actual inspection the third party has performed to that form. If the adverse items have been corrected prior to listing the home on the market you should clearly so state on the disclosure.
5) Hidden Conditions and Home Inspections
Inspections without written permission are not intrusive or destructive. They won’t be able to tell you of any issues within the walls or under the flooring. Additionally, if they miss something they should have found you may find you can’t recover repair costs. The form you were required to sign prior to doing the inspection may have included a waiver. At best, you may recover the fee you paid for the inspection.
With all this in mind you may decide to forgo an inspection, cost or pressure from your real estate agent or the seller. Really a home inspection is a good idea it can save you thousands of dollars. You can take it to a contractor, have them give a quote for needed repairs, then you negotiate a sales price. Or you walk away. It’s have an independent set of eyes evaluate your dream home or nightmare.
6) Here’s the mandatory exception to Home Inspections
If the buyer is getting a FHA or VA mortgage as well as some banks an inspection will be required. Several cities require a “Point of Sale” AKA “Truth in Sale Inspection” these are mandatory, normally required prior to listing. FHA, VA, Banks and cities normally have their approved inspectors do the inspections, at your cost.
Additional Link Where You May Find A Home Inspector