President's Column | Home Inspection
A Home Inspector Is Your Protector.
An inspector helps you make sure a house
isn’t hiding anything before you commit for the long haul.
A home inspector identifies any reasonably discoverable problems with the house (a leaky roof, faulty plumbing, etc.). Hiring an inspector is you doing your due diligence. To find a good one it helps to understand what the typical home inspection entails.
An inspection is all about lists.
Before an inspection, the home inspector will review the seller’s residential property disclosure statement. The statement lists any flaws the seller is aware of that could negatively affect the home’s value.
The disclosure comes in the form of an outline, covering such issues as:
· Pest infestation
· Roof leaks
· Foundation damage
During the inspection, an inspector has three tasks:
· Identify problems with the house that they can see
· Suggest fixes
· Prepare a written report, usually with photos, noting observed defects
This report is critical to you and your agent — it’s what you’ll use to request repairs from the seller.
The Inspector Won’t Check Everything
Generally, inspectors only examine houses for problems that can be seen with the naked eye. They won’t be tearing down walls or using magical X-ray vision, to find hidden faults.
Inspectors also won’t put themselves in danger. If a roof is too high or steep, for example, they won’t climb up to check for missing or damaged shingles. They’ll use binoculars to examine it instead.
They can’t predict the future, either. While an inspector can give you a rough idea of how many more years that roof will hold up, they can’t tell you exactly when it will need to be replaced.
Finally, home inspectors are often generalists. A basic inspection doesn’t routinely include a thorough evaluation of:
· Swimming pools
· Septic systems
· Structural engineering work
· The ground beneath a home
· Fireplaces and chimneys
When it comes to wood-burning fireplaces, for instance, most inspectors will open and close dampers to make sure they’re working, check chimneys for obstructions like birds’ nests, and note if they believe there’s reason to pursue a more thorough safety inspection.
It’s Your Job to Check the Inspector
Now you’re ready to connect with someone who’s a pro at doing all of the above. Here’s where — once again — your real estate agent has your back. They can recommend reputable home inspectors to you.
In addition to getting recommendations (friends and relatives are handy for those, too), you can look for professional inspectors at their trade association websites. The American Society of Home Inspectors' (ASHI) Find a Home Inspector tool lets you search by address, metro area, or neighborhood.
You’ll want to interview at least three inspectors before deciding whom to hire. During each chat, ask questions such as:
1. Are you licensed or certified? (Ohio requires certification)
2. How long have you been in the business? Look for someone with at least five years of experience.
3. How much do you charge? Home inspection costs range from $300 to $500, although pricing may vary regionally beyond this range. The costs depend on the size of your house as well as market conditions, demand, and supply.
4. What do you check, exactly? Know what you’re getting for your money.
5. What don’t you check, specifically? Some home inspectors are more thorough than others.
6. How soon after the inspection will I receive my report? A good home inspector will provide you with the report within 24 hours after the inspection.
7. May I see a sample report? This will help you gauge how detailed the inspector is and how they explain problems.
And remember, the next time you're in the market to buy or sell a home contact a REALTOR® member of the Marietta Board of REALTORS®.
David Chichester, President
Marietta Board of REALTORS®