Home Inspection " What Is A Home Inspection " Home Inspection Home Inspection " What Is A Home Inspection " Home Inspection Home Inspection " What Is A Home Inspection " Home Inspection
Home Inspection " What Is A Home Inspection " Home Inspection
A home inspection is a limited, non-invasive examination of the condition of a home, often in connection with the sale of that home. This is usually conducted by a home inspector who has the training and certifications to perform such inspections. The inspector prepares a written report, often using home inspection software, and delivers it to a client, typically the home buyer. The client then uses the knowledge gained to make informed decisions about their pending real estate purchase. The home inspector describes the condition of the home at the time of inspection but does not guarantee future condition, efficiency, or life expectancy of systems or components.
An inspector will check the roof, basement, heating system, water heater, air-conditioning system, structure, plumbing, electrical, and many other aspects of buildings looking for improper building practices, those items that require extensive repairs, items that are general maintenance issues, as well as some fire and safety issues. However, it should also be noted that a home inspection is not technically exhaustive and does not imply that every defect will be discovered. A general list of exclusions include but are not limited to: code or zoning violations, permit research, property measurements or surveys, boundaries, easements or right of way, conditions of title, proximity to environmental hazards, noise interference, soil or geological conditions, well water systems or water quality, underground sewer lines and/or waste disposal systems, buried piping, cisterns, underground water tanks and sprinkler systems to name a few. A complete list of standards and procedures for home inspections can be found at the NAHI, ASHI or InterNACHI websites.
A home inspector is sometimes confused with a real estate appraiser. A home inspector determines the condition of a structure, whereas an appraiser determines the value of a property.
Although not all states or municipalities in the U.S. regulate the home inspection industry (a topic of much debate), there are some professional associations for home inspectors that provide education, training and networking opportunities.
A home cannot "fail" an inspection, as there is no score or passing grade given. A professional home inspection is an examination of the current condition of a house. It is not an appraisal. It is not a municipal inspection, which verifies local building 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 a major or minor repair or replacement.
In Canada and the United States, a contract to purchase a house will often include a contingency that the contract is not valid until a home inspector has inspected the property (and the contract will usually provide for how problems found in inspection are to be remedied). In many states and provinces, home inspectors are required to be licensed, but in many states the profession is not regulated at all. Typical requirements for obtaining a license are to complete an approved training course and/or to pass an examination selected by the state's licensing board. Several states and provinces also require inspectors to periodically obtain continuing education credits in order to renew their licenses.
Ancillary services such as WDI (wood destroying insect), radon testing, septic inspections, water quality, mold & private well inspections are sometimes a part of home inspector's services if duly qualified.
Anyone entering the home inspection field should be trained in the unique discipline of home inspection. Assuming that the home inspector has been properly trained and has sufficient experience, they should be able to provide a satisfactory detailed inspection of a property within the scope of their education and any home inspector licensing requirements. Where licensing or certification is not a requirement, anyone can claim to be a home inspector, and there are no laws to prevent them from doing so.
In many provinces and states, the practical standards for home inspectors are those enacted by professional associations such as the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI), the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI) with chapters throughout the United States and Canada, the National Academy of Building Inspection Engineers (NABIE), the National Association of Home Inspectors (NAHI), and the Canadian Association of Home and Property Inspectors (CAHPI) with chapters throughout Canada.
British Columbia will become the first and the only province in Canada to license home inspectors, effective March 31, 2009. The Business Practices and Consumer Protection Authority will be responsible for licensing, processing complaints and monitor compliance of the program.
Currently, more than thirty U.S. states regulate the home inspection industry in some form.
A home inspector in the United Kingdom (or more precisely in England and Wales), was an inspector certified to carry out the Home Condition Reports that, it was originally anticipated would be included in the Home Information Pack.
On July 18, 2006, the Government announced the postponement of compulsory Home Condition Reports, which had been due to become part of the Home Information Packs on 1 June 2007, leaving the future for the inspectors somewhat uncertain .
Home inspectors were required to complete the ABBE Diploma in Home Inspection to show they meet the standards set out for NVQ/VRQ competence based assessment (Level 4). The government had suggested that between 7,500 and 8,000 qualified and licensed home inspectors would be needed to meet the annual demand of nearly 2,000,000 home information packs. In the event, many more than this entered training resulting in a massive over supply of potential inspectors.
With the cancellation of Home Information Packs by the coalition Government in 2010, the role of Home Inspector became permanently redundant.
Home inspection types
The pre-delivery inspection, which generally applies to newly-built homes, is a real estate term that means the buyer has the option (or requirement, depending upon how the real estate contract is written) to inspect the property prior to closing or settlement. These inspections generally takes place up to a week before a closing, and they generally allow buyers the first opportunity to inspect their new home. Additionally, the inspection is to ensure that all terms of the contract have been met, that the home is substantially completed, and that major items are in working order.
Along with a representative of the builder (generally the construction supervisor or foreman), the buyers may be accompanied by a home inspector of their choice. Any noted defects are added to a punch list for completion prior to closing. Often a second inspection is conducted to ensure that the defects have been corrected.
Many local governments within the United States and Canada require that new-home builders provide a home warranty for a limited period, and this typically results in home builders conducting a pre-delivery inspection with the buyer.
In a resale situation, this type of inspection is often termed the "final walk-through", and, based on the contract's provisions, it allows the buyer the opportunity to inspect the home prior to closing to ensure that agreed-upon repairs or improvements have been completed.
Structural inspections report on the foundation and supporting elements of a home. When performing a structure inspection, the home inspector will examine for a variety of signs that may include cracks in the concrete or brick and bowing and warping of support beams or joists of the foundation. The cracks may indicate a foundational shift that could compromise the integrity of the structure and sagging rafters may indicate an unsafe condition, which may cause them to either detach from the whole or break and place undue stress on the rest of the structure. The structure is the foundation of the home and must be inspected to help protect your real estate investment.
During an inspection of a home, an examination of the plumbing demands a home inspector to carry out a thorough analysis of each part that comprises the system. To do the task the home inspector will look at all pipes, fixtures and piping insulation, while searching for possible leaking or dampness. In addition, the inspector will review the types of plumbing connectors used and the type of waste removal sewage or septic system. The home inspector will also analyze water flow/pressure by running water through the pipes and sewage systems concurrently. The water heater will also be inspected for heating capabilities and safe operation which may include venting and the temperature and pressure relief valve. Water heater types include natural gas, solar, electric and electric on-demand. Most homes generally obtain the water supply from either a city, a nearby town or even a well. If the source of water happens to be a well, the home inspector may opt for an expert in well inspections to come in and evaluate the integrity of the well itself. Usually the home inspection report will not ask for an inspection of the well or its parts, however, all plumbing components should be analyzed during the home inspection, to mitigate future risks for the buyer.
Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) Inspection
A Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) home inspection reviews the heating and cooling system of a home. Heating is provided typically by a forced air furnace distributed by duct work or a water/steam boiler using radiators or convectors, but space heaters, heat pumps and other methods are also in use. The energy source is usually natural gas, fuel oil, or electric, but other sources include wood and Geo-thermal. Cooling can be described as a split system, packaged unit, fan coil, heat pump, an evaporative cooler, or window/through-the-wall a/c unit. A typical inspection would analyze the distribution system, make sure the air filters are up to the HVAC standards and that the supply/return air plenum is free of damage and debris. The heating and cooling components will be reviewed for functionality and safety issues. The home inspector will also check to make sure that the condenser/compressor components of your system are up to standards and free of clogs or damage and that the evaporator coil drain pans are working properly and are not backed up. Another key component of the HVAC system is the exhaust gas venting which is inspected to make sure they are working properly and safe. Venting issues include proper clearance to combustibles, slope, support as well as damage and restriction of the flue, vent connector and chimney. Other visual checks provided by the home inspector are the combustion air supply, the thermostat on all units located in the home, electrical connections and wiring, the condenser's working status, safety controls functioning properly, heat and cooling modes are working, and the natural gas or fuel oil piping and system. Sometimes the cooling mode is checked to see if the temperature differential between the supply and the return is between 14 and 21 degrees. The home inspection report should include a description of the system by its key components and a statement to repair, evaluate, or monitor any important issues.