Home Inspections

Often when a home buyer enters into an agreement of sale for the purchase of a home, the agreement contains a provision which entitles to home buyer to a home inspection. The home buyer's right to a home inspection is determined by the terms of the parties' agreement of sale. Certainly, purchasing a home is a significant financial transaction. A home inspection can be crucial to the home buyer's understanding of the condition of the home, as well as the necessity of any repairs.

What Is A Home Inspection?

A home inspection is an evaluation of the condition of a home. It involves an inspection of the structure of the home itself, as well as the systems within the home. When considering the extent of a home inspection, it is important to keep in mind that a home inspection is a visual inspection. In other words, a home inspector will not look behind walls or under floors.

A home inspection of an average-sized home will take at least 2-3 hours. During this short period of time, the home inspector will not be able to make an evaluation of every item within the home. It would be impossible for the home inspector to do so. Generally speaking, the home inspection is a process designed to assist the home buyer in determining the overall condition of the home.

What Factors Should I Consider In Selecting A Home Inspector?

The selection of a home inspector is an extremely important decision. Ask for referrals from friends, family members, or business associates. If necessary, consult the telephone directory or local referral associations. The key is to find a home inspector you trust.

Some factors to consider are

  • What is the cost of the home inspection?

  • What does the home inspection cover?

  • Does the home inspector charge an additional fee for water testing, radon testing, lead testing, asbestos testing, or other types of tests?

  • What certifications does the home inspector possess?

  • What is the home inspector's experience?

  • Does the home inspector seem comfortable discussing his or her knowledge and experience?

  • Has the home inspector ever had any complaints and/or law suits filed against him or her?

  • Will you receive a written report detailing the home inspector's findings? How quickly will you receive the report following the inspection?

  • Is the home inspector willing to provide references from other home buyers?

  • Does the contract for the home inspection limit the home inspector's liability for any errors? For example, does the contract limit the home inspector's liability to the cost of the home inspection itself?

  • Does the home inspector carry errors and omissions insurance and general liability insurance?

  • If you have any type of dispute with the home inspector as a result of the home inspection, how will be it resolved? Does the contract for the home inspection contain an arbitration clause?

Where Can I Find Additional Information?

The laws regarding the licensing of home inspectors vary from state to state. For more information, contact the Office of the Attorney General or the Better Business Bureau for your area.

Lastly, while it is not necessary for a home buyer to attend a home inspection, a home inspection provides an excellent opportunity for the home buyer to learn about the home. Attend the home inspection and ask questions!

Copyright 2012 LexisNexis, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc.