House Inspections

house inspectionsA house inspection is a limited non-invasive review on the condition of a house, usually in connection with the sale of the current house. This kind of inspections are often conducted by house inspectors, who have the training and certification performing those inspections.

The inspector prepares and delivers to the client a written report of findings. 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.

House Inspectors

House inspectors are 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. In the United States, although not all states or municipalities regulate home inspectors, there are various professional associations for home inspectors that provide education, training, and networking opportunities. A professional home inspection is an examination of the current condition of a house. It is not an inspection to verify compliance with appropriate codes; building inspection is a term often used for building code compliance inspections in the United States. A similar but more complicated inspection of commercial buildings is a property condition assessment. Home inspections identify problems but building diagnostics identifies solutions to the found problems and their predicted outcomes.

The Formation of the House Inspections

The formation of the Home Inspections and of the Profession itself is clouded in mystery and myth.

It is certain, that in the United Kingdom Properties have been inspected prior to the sale for many years. These inspections were performed by members of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors. This organization dates back to 1868, so it is undoubtedly the catalyst for global property condition assessment during a sale process.

The modern-day form of Home Inspection started in North America, in the United States.

Types of Inspection

  • House buyers inspection

  • Houser sellers inspection

  • Disaster inspection

  • Foreclosure inspection

  • Four-point inspection

  • Pre-delivery inspection

  • Section 8 inspection

Buyers Inspection

Buyers inspections are the most common type of inspection in the United States. The persons purchasing the property hire an inspector to help identify major defects and other problems so they can make an informed decision about the building's condition and the expense of related repairs.

Sellers Inspection

A homeowner who is selling their house hires an inspector to identify problems with their house. The seller can elect to share the report with any potential buyers or to make any necessary repairs so the house is known to be in good condition encouraging a quick sale. One home inspectors' organization offers a program which helps market a house as "Move-In Certified", that is, the house is in a condition where the new owners can promptly move in without making substantial repairs.

Foreclosure inspections

Foreclosure inspections are often referred to as REO (real estate owned) inspections. Professional home inspectors are qualified to do these, but there are other inspectors that also do only minimal foreclosure inspections: Certified Field Inspectors and Certified Property Preservation Specialists. These inspectors may or may not be qualified to do state licensed home inspections.

Four-point inspection

Four-point inspection is when Insurance companies sometimes require an inspection of a house's roof and the HVAC, electrical, and plumbing systems before providing homeowners insurance. This inspection is usually only required on homes that are 20–25 years old or older and is commonly required in Florida and other coastal states. The name derives from the four areas of interest.

Disaster Inspection

A disaster inspection occurs after a natural disaster such as a hurricane, earthquake, or tornado in which large numbers of buildings may have been damaged. In the United States, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) prepares for and coordinates large scale disaster relief efforts, including the inspection of damaged buildings. Disaster inspectors document conditions of buildings for government disaster relief payments.

In the United States, the federal and state governments provide housing subsidies to low-income people through a program often known as Section 8. The government expects that the housing will be "fit for habitation" so a Section 8 inspection identifies compliance with HUD's Housing Quality Standards (HQS).

The Pre-delivery Inspection 

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 take 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.
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.

A better inspection of a newly built home is to inspect the home during the stages it is being constructed. The typical inspection stages include:

  • foundation pour

  • structure

  • pre-drywall

  • insulation, and

  • Final.

During a Home Inspection

Here’s what to expect during a home inspection:

A home inspector will look at a house’s HVAC system, interior plumbing, and electrical systems, roof, attic, floors. windows and doors, foundation, basement, and structural components, then provide a written report with results.

A home inspection generally takes two to four hours but may take more time depending on the size of the house.

Attend the inspection so you can explore your new home in detail and ask questions as you go. This process can give you much more information than the report alone.

Don’t be concerned with the quantity of defects listed on your report — many will be so minor you won’t bother fixing them. Instead, pay attention to the seriousness of the home’s issues. Some can be deal-breakers. Talk to your home inspector and real estate agent about your best ways forward.