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Questions to Ask Home Inspectors


Will your inspection meet recognized standards?  Ask whether the inspection and the inspection report will meet all state requirements and comply with a well recognized standard of practice and code of ethics, such as the one adopted by the American Society of Home Inspectors. Customers can view each group's standards of practice and code of ethics online at www.ashi.org.


Do you belong to a professional home inspector association?  There are many national associations for home inspectors. Unfortunately, some groups confer questionable credentials or certifications in return for nothing more than a fee.  Insist on members of reputable, nonprofit trade organizations.


How do you keep your expertise up to date?  Inspectors commitment to continuing education is a good measure of their professionalism and service.  Advanced knowledge is especially important in cases in which a home is older or included unique elements requiring additional  or updated training.


Do you focus on residential inspection?  Make sure the inspector has training and experience in the unique discipline of home inspection, which is very different from inspecting commercial buildings or a construction site.


How long will the inspection take?  On average, an inspector working alone inspects a typical single family house in two to three hours; anything significantly less may not be thorough.  


Will I be able to attend the inspection?  The answer should be yes.  A home inspection is a valuable educational opportunity for the buyer.  

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What is a Home Inspection?

A home inspection is an objective visual examination of the physical structure and systems of a house, from the roof to the foundation.  The Home Inspectors service to the Purchaser is primarily one of education.  The goal of the inspector is to provide the purchaser with a better understanding of the physical condition of the home at the time of inspection in order to facilitate a well informed decision.


Why do I need a Home Inspection?

Buying a home could be the largest single investment you will ever make.  To minimize unpleasant surprises and unexpected difficulties, you'll want to learn as much as you can about the house before you buy it.  A home inspection may identify the need for major repairs or oversights, as well as the need for maintenance to keep it in good shape.  After the inspection, you will know more about the house, which will allow you to make decisions with confidence.


If you already are a homeowner, a home inspection can identify problems in the making and suggest preventive measures that might help you avoid costly future repairs or address energy and safety concerns.


If you are planning to sell your home, a home inspection can give you the opportunity to make repairs that will put the house in better selling condition.

What does a home inspection include?

The standard home inspection report will cover the condition of the home's heating systems, central air conditioning system (temperature permitting), interior plumbing and electrical systems, the roof, attic and visible insulation, walls, ceilings, floors, windows and doors, and the foundation, basement and structural components.


The American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) publishes a Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics that outlines what you should expect to be covered in your home inspection report. 


Can a house fail an inspection?

No.  A professional home inspection is an examination of the current condition of a house.  It is not an appraisal, which determines market value.  It is not a municipal inspection, which verifies local code compliance.  A home inspector, therefore, will not pass or fail a house, but rather describe its physical condition and indicate what components and systems may need major repair or replacement.


How much will it cost?

A typical home inspection is $325.00.  Larger homes or older homes may be slightly more.