What’s in a home inspection?

What’s in a home inspection?

  Nashville Home InspectorSo you’re buying a home and want to know a little more about the home inspectors and the home inspection.

Most home inspectors have some type of construction related experience. This construction experience is really the backbone of their knowledge. Home Inspectors are usually aligned with one association or another. There are many associations some are for profit some are not for profit, but the major goal is to develop a standard of practice or guideline for the inspection. Basically a minimum set of requirements for the inspector to follow.  These associations usually have a code of ethics which helps to establish a professional code of conduct. One code which most inspectors follow, is not making repairs on the homes we inspect. There is a big conflict of interest when you start pointing out issues which need repairs, and then offer to make the repairs. When you stand to make money off the items you say need repair, it makes your list of repairs questionable. So look for a home inspector who is affiliated with an industry related association. Of course the number one requirement should be they are a licensed business. There are many states who have industry specific licensing requirements in addition to the business license. The states who require a home inspector license have minimum standards spelled out which inspectors have to meet prior to obtaining a state home inspector license.

So what’s in a home inspection? The standards of the associations or the states the inspector operates in, help to spell out the minimum requirements for the inspection.

The main categories of inspection are:

  • exterior
  • roofing
  • roofing
  • plumbing
  • electrical
  • structure
  • heating
  • cooling
  • interiors
  • insulation
  • fuel burning appliances

Of course the inspection is not technically exhaustive, meaning the inspector is well trained in all areas of the home, but the home inspection is not a trade specific inspection of each area of the home. The inspector uses their knowledge and evaluates to see if these areas are working properly. If not your inspector will make recommendations for repairs by a licensed professional in that related field. In certain cases the item in question is not operating as designed but the specific issue can’t be pinpointed, so the inspector will recommend evaluation & repair by a licensed professional ( i.e. engineer, heating and cooling contractor). There are some limitations to the inspection since your inspector is at the home for a brief period. Many homes that I personally inspect require in the neighborhood of 3-3.5 hours to inspect. Of course some homes take less time and some larger homes take most of the day. Your inspector is there to apply all of their knowledge in what truly is a brief period of time compared to living in the home, and provide you a report based on their findings.  Most reports today include multiple photos and some include video when necessary. In many cases there are issues which need addressing immediately and you can use this report to help you and your realtor negotiate repairs or adjust the price of the home. In the worst case scenario the client walks away from the home because there are structural issues which could potentially cost tens of thousands of dollars. In the best most common case scenario the inspection report can help the buyer negotiate repairs paid for by the seller. The report will also inform the buyer about the home.

It’s best to schedule as soon as possible. Most in demand inspectors book up quickly and you don’t want to make a last minute call to try to book the inspector with the best reviews and recommendations.

Jason Daley is the owner and inspector for Daley Home Inspections. Daley Home Inspections operates in the greater Nashville, Tn. area. http://daleyhomeinspections.com

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