|Frequently Asked Questions|
What is a professional home inspection?
Every home, including new houses, should be inspected by a professional home inspector. A professional home inspection is an objective examination of all the systems in a home. A home inspection report will give you information on all the major systems in your home: the structural, heating/cooling, plumbing, electrical, insulation, etc. If needed, an AZ ASHI home inspector will refer you to the appropriate professional for improvements or further consultation.
Why do I need a professional home inspection?
For the Buyer
For the buyer, the purchase of a home is usually your largest investment. A home inspection is a "snapshot" of the home on the day of the inspection. The inspection report will provide you with a wealth of information on the systems in the home. The inspection report will also alert you to important safety improvements or upgrades that may be needed, or expensive repairs that may be needed now or in the near future. The inspection and report will allow you to make an informed buying decision. Read a buyer’s checklist.
For the Seller
For the seller the home inspection will alert you to any improvements needed so you can sell a home in good condition. Many sellers hire a professional home inspector before their home goes on the market to prevent unexpected surprises during the sale. Read the seller’s checklist.
What does a home inspection cost?
Residential home inspections vary in cost from area to area and from house to house. Most inspectors have fees based on the size of the home. Some inspectors charge an additional fee for older homes or for items outside the scope of a regular home inspection, such as pools or spas. You should expect to pay $300 to $400 for an average sized home. As with many products or services, the cost should not be the deciding factor in your decision. AZ ASHI home inspectors try to be competitively priced, but a home inspectors qualifications and professional affiliations should be of greater importance to you.
Can’t I do it myself?
It is very difficult for a purchaser to remain objective about a home they have decided to buy. And if Uncle Harry offers to inspect the home, he may find he’s in over his head and discourage you from buying the home because he’s afraid there may be something wrong with the home. Very rarely will a home owner, or even a construction tradesman, have the knowledge and expertise of an experienced home inspector that has inspected hundreds of homes. A home inspector has to have some knowledge of all the building trades, and of all the components and systems in a home. More importantly, the inspector must know how all these systems interact with each other to make a safe and healthy home.
Can a house fail inspection?
There is no pass or fail in a home inspection. The inspection is an examination of all the major systems and components in a home. The inspection and report is not an appraisal of market value, although it can certainly influence your opinion of the home value.
If the home is in good condition, did I really need the inspection?
If you didn’t have a car accident last year, did you really need car insurance? The answer is yes, of course. Even if a home inspection and report does not reveal any major defects, it will give you lots of information on your new home. Most buyers keep their inspection report as a guide for future maintenance and repairs.
How do I find a professional home inspector?
You should always ask your inspector if he has affiliations with professional organizations, such as the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI). You can search the ASHI web site at ashi.com or the Arizona Chapter of ASHI (AZASHI) web site at azashi.com to find an inspector near you.
What is ASHI?
The American Society of Home Inspectors was founded in 1976 and is the oldest and leading non-profit professional association for independent home inspectors. ASHI’s Standards of Practice have become universally recognized and accepted by professional and government authorities. Copies of these Standards are available from this web site or from any local home inspector. Arizona ASHI is proud to be the largest single state chapter in ASHI.
In addition to following the ASHI Standard of Practice and Code of Ethics, ASHI members are required to have continuing education each year. ASHI provides a wealth of training, education and resources to its members, including the annual Inspection World Conference. ASHI serves as a public interest organization by providing accurate and helpful information to consumers.
AZ ASHI provides additional support to all our Arizona home inspectors, including several educational conferences every year.
When do I call in the home inspector?
Your purchase agreement should be contingent upon a home inspection. Typically you have 10 to 15 days after a seller accepts your offer to have a home inspection; check with your Realtor or the "Inspection Period" clause in you Purchase Agreement. You may wish to interview inspectors before you make an offer to determine how busy they are right now. As soon as the Seller accepts your offer in writing you should call the home inspector.
Do I have to be there?
It is not required or necessary for you to attend the inspection. Attendance is encouraged- you will learn a lot about your new home from your inspector, and may understand the report better. Many home inspectors prefer to have the buyer present for the entire inspection. Some home inspectors prefer to have the buyer meet them at the end of the inspection, when they have a full understanding of the home and all its systems.
Should the seller attend the home inspection?
The seller is welcome to attend the inspection. The seller should understand that the inspector is usually working for the buyer, and is prohibited from discussing the inspection with any other party. The inspector is required to inform the seller or occupants if he finds any major safety concerns. If a buyer is present, comments about flaws or defects in the home can be upsetting to some sellers. Often the inspector and buyer will request some privacy for their discussions.
How long does a home inspection take?
This depends on the home and inspector. It usually takes about three hours to inspect an average size home. Some inspectors use a "checklist" report format that is delivered on site. Other inspectors create a "narrative" report on a computer. A narrative report takes longer to complete and often includes digital pictures, so it is often delivered the day after the inspection. Emailing narrative reports is very common.
What if the report reveals problems?
There is no perfect house. Virtually all homes will have some minor problems, and an inspection report on an older home usually includes some safety upgrade recommendations. If the inspection and report reveal major or expensive problems, you now have this information to make an informed buying decision. A buyer may ask a seller to correct major problems.
What if I find problems after I move into my new home?
There are no guarantees that a home will not develop problems after you move in. Remember a home inspection is not a guarantee, but a report that reflects the current condition of the home. However if you believe that a problem was already visible at the time of the inspection and should have been mentioned in the report, your first step should be to call and meet with the inspector to clarify the situation. Misunderstandings are often resolved in this manner.