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Understanding Home Inspections

posted by Stephen Katz @ 1:14 PM
Tuesday, May 7, 2013

What Is a Home Inspection?
A home inspector evaluates the structure of the house, and gives feedback about other systems such as the roof, plumbing, electrical system, heating and air conditioning units, insulation, doors, windows and more.

Are Home Inspections Required?
Home inspections are an extra expense and usually optional, so do you really need one? Yes! Money might be tight for closing, but try to imagine moving in and finding out that the air conditioning unit isn’t capable of cooling the house, or that portions of the electrical system are substandard, or that the chimney needs extensive repairs.

What if the Inspection Uncovers Problems?
First, your offer to purchase should have included a detailed statement regarding your rights to a home inspection. The standard contract used by real estate agents may give you the right to back out of a contract if a home inspection discovers more problems than you anticipated. If it does not, the wording should be added in the form of a contingency.

Don’t assume the seller will make all the repairs. They may refuse to make any repairs at all. Read your contract carefully before signing it so that you understand the rights and obligations of all parties. Never rely on a verbal agreement–agreements must be in writing to be valid.

Who’s the best person for the job?
Evaluate your new home. Experienced inspectors have seen hundreds, or even thousands, of homes and have their routine down. They know exactly what to look for, including all the little quick-fix tricks. Some people may have a friend or family member who can perform an inspection. But even though your brother may have some building experience he may not have the equipment or expertise required to do a thorough evaluation of the home. What if he misses a major problem? Will it create hard feelings within the family? Stick to a professional!!

I’m in love with this house, so it doesn’t matter.
So much in love that you’re ignoring problems? An inspector takes a clinical look at the house, taking the emotion out of it. You’ll get only the facts, and that’s what is necessary to make decisions about moving forward with the purchase. If you don’t really care what problems you might run into, go ahead. You’re the only one who can determine how much time, energy and money you can devote to the house. But keep in mind that an inspection that uncovers safety issues can help you prioritize repairs.

It’s a brand new home. There won’t be any problems.
Maybe in a perfect world. But, new construction isn’t always problem-free.

Most states in the US offer little or no regulations for the home inspection industry. How do you find a good home inspector?
Talk to friends who have had an inspection recently. Did their inspector do a good job? You can ask the inspector for references too, but keep in mind they probably will only give you names of satisfied customers.

If you are working with a real estate agent whom you trust, ask who they recommend. Agents deal with inspections every day. They know who the good inspectors are. The agent should give you at least three references–not just one individual.

What does the inspection cover?
What systems are explored in the home inspection?

Are there some services that require an extra fee, such as a septic tank inspection? A septic report is required for FHA and VA financing. Doing it at the same time as the home inspection is usually cheaper than bringing the inspector back again at a later time.

Will you be given a detailed report with photos of problem areas? It should include a list showing results for all systems evaluated. It should also include reports in paragraph form. A thorough inspection can take 3-5 hours or more. Ask for a time estimate.

If statements in the appraisal or pest report cause the lender to ask for a structural inspection they will expect that inspection to be done by a licensed professional.
Before you select an inspector find out what type of licensing the lender requires if a structural inspection is necessary. If your inspector qualifies, it may save you time and money since you won’t have to hire a second person to ensure structural integrity.

Important Questions to keep in mind:

Where was the inspector trained?

Does he or she attend continuing education classes?

Does the inspector belong to a professional organization? If so, what are the requirements for membership? Entry should require more than just an application fee.
Does the inspector carry Errors and Omissions insurance? This type of malpractice insurance may come in handy if the inspector misses a major problem.

On Inspection Day

It’s best if you attend the inspection yourself. Inspectors report all defects they find, no matter how minor. Home buyers sometimes get excited about minor problems simply because they don’t have an understanding of what’s really wrong. Witnessing problems first-hand will give you a better grasp of what is and is not a large problem.


Stephen Katz

(770) 309-0939 (direct) or (866) 742-8400 —

For the past 18 years, Stephen Katz has built a successful business almost entirely on referrals. As your mortgage consultant throughout the home loan process, Stephen will explain the pros and cons of all available mortgage programs and help you choose the financing option that is best suited to your needs.
Throughout the loan process, he will keep you informed and will respond quickly to your requests with answers and solutions.

Consistently a top producer, Stephen is a Mortgage Bankers Association “Diamond” Award winner, a Georgia Mortgage “Top Gun” and has closed almost half a billion dollars in loans. Put his knowledge and experience to work for you!

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