What Is An Inspection?
An inspection is a visual examination of the structure and systems of a building. If you are thinking of buying a home, condominium, mobile home, or commercial building, you should have it thoroughly inspected before the final purchase by an experienced and impartial professional inspector.
What Does An Inspection Include?
A complete inspection includes a visual examination of the building from top to bottom. The inspector evaluates and reports the condition of the structure, roof, foundation, drainage, plumbing, heating system, central air-conditioning system, visible insulation, walls, windows, and doors. Only those items that are visible and accessible by normal means are included in the report.
Why Do I Need An Inspection?
The purchase of a home or commercial building is one of the largest single investments you will ever make. You should know exactly what to expect --- both indoors and out -- in terms of needed and future repairs and maintenance. A fresh coat of paint could be hiding serious structural conditions. Stains on the ceiling may indicate a chronic roof leakage concern or may be simply the result of a single incident. The inspector interprets these and other clues sometimes utilizing specialized equipment then presents a professional opinion as to the condition of the property so you can avoid unpleasant surprises afterward. Of course, an inspection will also point out the positive aspects of a building, as well as the type of maintenance needed to keep it in good shape. After the inspection, you will have a much clearer understanding of the property you are about to purchase, and be able to make your decision confidently.
As a seller, if you have owned your building for a period of time, an inspection can identify potential items of concern in the sale of your building and can recommend preventive measures which might avoid future expensive repairs.
When Do I Request An Inspector?
If you are a buyer the best time to consult the inspector is right after you have made an offer on your new building. The real estate contract usually allows for a grace period to inspect the building. Ask your professional agent to include this inspection clause in the contract, making your purchase obligation contingent upon the findings of a professional inspection. If you are a seller or the agent for a seller I suggest obtaining an inspection prior to finding a buyer; this will alow you time to prepare your home for sale and avoid any unpleasant surprises that can delay or even hault your sales transaction.
Should the inspector be licensed?
Yes, but unfortunately, unlike your Realtor who had to complete extensive schooling and testing to receive his/her license, home inspectors are not legally required to be licensed or certified in California. Therefore, it is highly recommended that you hire a home inspector who is either a retired General Contractor or a licensed General Contractor with the State of California
Who should I call?
A professionally trained home inspector who has been certified by a governing body like the American Institute of Inspectors, preferably one with many years experience.
Can a Building “FAIL” The Inspection?
No. A professional inspection is simply an examination into the current condition of your prospective real estate purchase. It is not an appraisal or a Municipal Code inspection. An inspector, therefore, will not pass or fail a building, but will simply describe its condition and indicate which items will be in need of minor or major repairs or replacement.
What If The Report Reveals Problems?
If the inspector finds challenges in a building, it does not necessarily mean you should not buy it, only that you will know in advance what type of repairs to anticipate. A seller may be willing to make repairs because of significant reportable conditions discovered by the inspector. If your budget is tight, or if you do not wish to become involved in future repair work, you may decide that this is not the property for you. The choice is yours.
If The Report Is Favorable, Did I Really Need An Inspection?
Definitely! Now you can complete your purchase with peace of mind about the condition of the property and its equipment and systems. You may have learned a few things about your property from the inspection report, and will want to keep that information for your future reference. Above all, you can rest assured that you are making a well-informed purchase decision and that you will be able to enjoy or occupy your new home or building the way you want.
Can I Inspect The Building Myself?
There are thousands of components to be evaluated in every property. Even the most experienced building or home owner typically lacks the knowledge and expertise of a professional inspector who has inspected hundreds, and perhaps thousands of homes and buildings in their career. A knowledgable/experienced inspector is familiar with the critical elements of construction and with their proper installation, maintenance and inter-relationships of these elements. Above all, most buyers find it difficult to remain completely objective and unemotional about the building they really want, and this may lead to a poor assessment.
What Will The Inspection Cost?
The inspection fee for a typical single-family house or commercial building varies geographically, as does the cost of housing, similarly, within a geographic area the inspection fees charged by different inspection services may vary depending upon the size of the building, particular features of the building, age, type of structure, etc. However, the cost should not be a factor in the decision whether or not to have a physical inspection. You might save many times the cost of the inspection if you are able to have the seller perform repairs based on significant conditions revealed by the inspector. Consult your professional agent for guidance.
Should I Attend The Inspection?
It is not necessary for you to be present for the inspection, but it is a good idea. By following the inspector through the inspection, observing and asking questions, you will learn about the new building and get some tips on general maintenance. Information that will be of great help to you after you’ve moved in.
How is the industry regulated?
In California all inspections should be performed to some type of standard. Vaious inspector organizations have adopted standards of practice that regulate their members inspection process. To become an inspector member, your inspector typically must pass a written examination to prove their competency. American Institute of Inspectors (AII) and other professional training and certifying agencies train and certify their members through rigorous classroom and field testing. Inspectors typically participate in continuing education courses to maintain their certification. Certified inspectors typically adhere to a strict code of ethics and standards of practice.
What Is CREIA?
Once I find a qualified inspector, what specific questions should I ask?
You may have heard of The California Real Estate Inspection Association, (CREIA), was established in 1976 in California as a non-profit voluntary professional association. CREIA’s Standards of Practice and professional Code of Ethics provides the consumer with some assurance of quality and professionalism. Rite-Way Inspections considers the basic CREIA Standars of Practice to be a good starting point for your average inspection, however Rite-Way Inspections considers these standards minimal and inspects to a much higher standard. Refer to Rite-Way Value Chart.
How long to complete the inspection?
A typical inspection will take from two to eight hours depending on the size of the home and it's components. Then another two to eight hours of document preparation.
Ask if they plan to meet with you on-site to review the report.
This service is crucial to understanding your report and is an important part of any professional home inspection.
What kind of report will I receive?
Many reports are hand written on a few pages, they look very unprofessional, and are hard to read. Look for a computer generated report that includes digital photos of reportable conditions.
What happens if you honestly miss something?
Errors & Omissions Insurance, typically comes with a very high deductible, this means your home inspector must be financially able to pay the deductable, from his/her own pocket, if there is ever a claim. Do a little background check to make sure his/her reputation is good within the community. Ask for the phone number of his/her banker, ask for his/her contractor's license number and his/her inspector's certification number and check them out.
How much does the inspection cost?
This is sometimes the first question asked but tells the least about the inspector. Fees are generally based according to size, age, and components of the home. Inspection fees from a certified professional home inspector generally range from $395 and up. A quality inspection backed by a company who's been in business a long time with a reputation for standing behind their work. You'll avoid headaches later on down the line.