There are two types of home inspections, the standard inspection, and the specialized inspection. The standard inspection is a necessary part of the home buying process. The standard home inspection may not give you the full picture of the home you are buying. Although the specialized inspection is more costly, it may save you more costly fixes down the road. It will inspect places not normally looked at by the standard inspector. Remember the purchase offer is dependent on what the inspector finds. Home Inspectors are licensed by the state they are in. *I will put a link at the bottom to aid you in finding a qualified inspector.
Standard Home Inspections
The standard home inspection is usually a visual inspection only, with a disclaimer at the bottom. This disclaimer states that the Inspector is not legally required to perform a physical inspection of certain areas, such as the roof. Below is a list of what a standard inspection includes:
- Heating and cooling systems
- Interior and exterior
- Kitchen, which includes cabinets, counters, sinks, faucets, garbage disposal and other built-in appliances
- Exterior walls
- Parapets, trim
- Chimney and Fireplace
- Basement and crawl space
- Examination of the attic and roof to assess the insulation, ventilation, framing, roof surface, flashing, penetrations, drainage, overhangs, gutters, and downspout
- Termite Bond
This inspection may take two to three hours, and usually, cost up to Eight hundred dollars. They can go higher depending on the structure. The seller has the right to be present at this inspection. You are required to be there and should pay attention to the good and bad points the Inspector points out.Asks questions if you would like and learn everything you can about the place you may spend the next fifty years. A through visual inspection may find evidence of leaks, infestations, unsafe wiring or plumbing, mold, mildew, or failed septic systems.
The written report should contain a description of the damage, the location of the defect also pictures to show the extent of the damages. The will aid you in getting estimates for repair, or to decide if you wish to continue with the purchase the home. It is important to remember that the Inspector will never catch every defect in a home.
The Specialized Inspection
This type of inspection will make visual and physical examinations of areas of concern. It is always a good idea to have areas of the home physically inspected, that may be costly to the new buyer. This is done by Inspectors that are licensed experts in that area of the home. Below is a short list of places of particular concern:
- The Roof – Inspectors licensed by the NRCIA may issue a roof certification ensuring the quality and life expectancy of the roof.
- Heating, Ventilation, and Air-conditioning (HVAC) – defects in this area may go unnoticed with only a visual inspection. A specialist in HVAC will give a status of the unit and will also certify the findings.
- Water Damage – The surface damage can be seen visually, but it is what damage underneath that is of special concern. Hire an Inspector that utilizes an Infrared camera (IR), to locate and document and moisture or mold issues.
- Flooring – A weak sub-floor will have a moldy or musty smell indicating wood rot. It also may feel spongy and soft when walking on it. If this is a major issue you can hire a specialist through the National Institute of Certified Floorcovering Inspectors.
- Asbestos – While not harmful if not disturbed, you can get a quote for removal or may back out of the purchase offer.
- Radon – a naturally occurring radioactive gas you cannot see, smell, or taste — and it causes cancer. Radon tests around forty dollars, but are not covered in an inspection.
- Methamphetamine Testing – This is another test I recommend. It costs around thirty-five dollars and will detect if the house has ever been used as a meth lab. Stack against the twenty thousand it may cost to remove it the low-cost of this test is well worth the price.
- Foundation Issues – Should be discovered during the visual inspection, but worth mentioning it may require a Structural Engineer.
- Drainage Issues – Have a sewer scope inspection performed. This test will show the health of the septic and drainage system.
This may seem excessive but if you are not an experienced handyman; your dream house may become a nightmare. Specialized inspections are not mandatory, they are optional. After the standard inspection, it is up to the owner and buyer as to the next step of the purchase offer. The seller may file a claim with their insurance to fix damages or may lower the purchase price to have the buyer fix any defects.
A Standard Inspector is familiar with all systems of a house, and its structural parts, giving them a full picture of the house. The Inspectors may not be regulated in your state, so it is up to the buyer to diligently research the credentials so the Inspector. Look for certifications by the American Society of Home Inspectors. Check any licenses and also check their complaint record. Check his experience and homes he has inspected. In most cases, you have a limited amount of time to have the inspection performed, so don’t be afraid to ask questions. If you are thinking about purchasing a home, it may be helpful if you read the Standards of Practice for Inspectors from the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors. I have also added this link at the bottom of the page.
Links & References