In many parts of the country a pre-purchase home evaluation of a home’s condition has become routine, providing buyers with the vital information they need to make a sound purchasing decision.
However not all home buyers know what to expect from a home inspector.
Home Inspectors are generally expected to follow the professional Standards of Practice of the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI). This document specifies all the components of a home that are to be included in an inspection, from the roof to the foundation.
The ASHI Standards are considered by government and professional real estate groups to be the benchmark of performance for all home inspectors.
Professional real estate experts advise most consumers to look for a member of the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI), especially companies that buy houses for cash.
ASHI is the only national organization that rigorously tests home inspectors on their technical knowledge and diagnostic expertise in residential construction.
ASHI membership requires experience prior to admission, as well as continuing education annually after admission in order to keep current with new technology and building practices.
Many home inspector organizations require only an application fee. Some claim to offer certification, but don’t require exams or proven credentials.
Still others boast of engineering licenses as assurance of qualification, though licenses do not indicate competence in home inspection.
Literally dozens of groups and organizations have been formed to capitalize on the marketing opportunities of this profession making the selection of a qualified professional extremely difficult.
Consumers should ascertain before the inspection that the inspector will not offer to do any repairs on the inspected property, and that the inspectors firm has no financial interest in the transaction or in the real estate agent’s commission.
Any indication of such conflict should send up a red flag. Be sure the home inspector is ethical and professional.
Consumers should expect the home inspector to describe the actual condition of the home at the time of the inspection based on visual observation, and to provide an indication of major repairs.
Home inspectors are generalists. They know how the home’s many systems and components work, both independently and together, and why they fail.
Do not expect any destructive testing. Home inspectors can not see through walls. Consumers should not expect a report on every nail, wire, or pipe.
Home inspectors are primarily concerned with pointing out large expenses and safety related concerns rather than small cosmetic items.
The report is not a guarantee that the home’s component will never fail or need some future repair.
No house is perfect; they all need regular maintenance and repair.
The national average for a hoe inspection is between $250 and $450 and will take 2 to 3 hours to complete. Home inspectors should welcome the client to tag along.
The inspection is for them not for the inspector. A written report should be provided.