Home Inspection Explained

A home inspector is a person who is qualified to carryout an inspection of your house, on behalf of a buyer, or if you wish to hire one, yourself.

The buyer, for many reasons, but mainly to find out if there are any faults in the property that they should know about before they buy it, usually asks for a home inspection. The inspection will inform the buyer if there are any repairs that need doing, and also to make certain that they know what they are buying. The home inspector acts independently of the buyer and although they are working on their behalf, they are not on their side, so to speak, so you should not treat them as if they are.

After you've worked out to whom you want to sell your property to, as well as all the first round of contract details, one of the final steps is having your house inspected by a home inspector.

Although this can appear to be an intimidating prospect it does not need to be. As long as your property is in a good state you should not worry about the inspection and what the inspector may or may not find. They are not looking to find every flaw in your property, rather major faults that the feel the buyer should be made aware of.

Smooth Sailing

Making the whole process go through as smoothly as possible is important during any inspection, by a home inspector. Be polite to the inspector. Do not view them as an adversary; trying to degrade your home, they are simply doing a job that will give credibility to the assessment and condition of your property. They are not on a campaign to find imperfections!

If possible always allow the inspector about 2 hours to complete inspection. During this time you should not be at your property.

The majority of the states in the U.S do not specifically have licenses for home inspectors; therefore home inspections can be carried out by anyone with a business license. There are some standards however, which have been established by the professional association of the industry: the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI).

The American Society of Home Inspectors has produced a set of standards and a policy of principles that cautiously defines the rules and responsibilities of the professional home examiner. To be a member of the ASHI you need extensive experience, training and testing, as well as a continuing education plan.

The Pre-Listing Inspection

In some circumstances real estate sellers may decide that before they list their property on the Multiple listing service they wish to have a home inspection carried out by a licensed ASHA (American Society of Home Inspectors) home inspector.

There maybe any number of reasons as to why they would want a home inspection carried out before listing their home, however the most normal reason is that they want to see if there are any little faults with the house that can be fixed, relatively cheaply, before it goes on the market.

These easy to fix faults will give the property more credence and can be used as a negotiating tool with the buyers, as the sellers will have a report indicating how good the condition of the house is. The report will also improve the quality level of the property on the listing service and therefore make the house appear more desirable than it may have looked before the inspection. This can also affect the sale price.

Disclosing Faults

One thing to remember, however, is that is there are any major faults that are found by the home inspector during the inspection, then you (the seller) maybe liable to disclose these faults to the prospective buyers. Because of this possibility before allowing an inspector to undertake any inspection of your property, you should consult with your attorney, (or realtor) as to your legal responsibility to the buyer and how disclosure laws apply to pre-listing inspections.

Having a pre-listing inspection carried out doesn't necessarily guarantee that the prospective buyer will not want an inspection of their own to be carried out. A buyer may feel that the pre-listing inspection maybe biased, in favor of the seller, and wish to have his or her own, unbiased inspection, carried out, for piece of mind and credibility.

Buyers may also have an inspection carried out to quantify the condition of the property with respect to the possibility of adding additions and making alterations.

If for, example the buyer wants to eventually put in a new bathroom or lighting fixture, then they may want to know the condition of the electrical and water supplies before they go ahead and seek planning permission from the state.