Whenever you contact a home inspector or an engineer, be sure to select a quality professional who will protect your investment. Here are just a few questions you should ask:
- Where did your employees earn their education and training?
- Do you have a contract we will sign which specifies what is offered and what limitations apply?
- Do you carry the proper amount of general liability insurance?
- How many inspections has your firm performed and can you provide references?
- Can you meet a tight deadline? If so, how long will the inspection take and when will I receive my report?
- Will the inspector traverse the roof, attic and full crawl space?
- As the potential buyer of the property in question, do you recommend that I attend all or part of the home inspection?
This last question is the most important and the answer must be "Yes, absolutely"! It is important for you to understand how the home works from a technical standpoint and to see first-hand the conditions that will be described in the detailed inspection report. If you have any particular concerns about the property, this is the time to get answers. A quality professional will encourage questions and take the time to explain items in the report so you can be more comfortable with your decisions. For that reason alone, it’s important for you to attend the inspection and make sure the inspector or professional engineer is available for a reasonable amount of on-site consultation. What is a Home Inspection?
A Home Inspection is an analysis of the condition and operation of various systems and elements which are reasonably accessible at the time of our scheduled visit.
What is an Engineering Assessment?
An Engineering Assessment or Structural Investigation is an analysis performed by a Registered Professional Engineer, who specializes in home inspection services, to investigate specific problems and identify the cause and origin of damages.
What does a home inspection include?
A standard non-intrusive visual inspection should cover everything from the roof to the foundation. The standard home inspector’s report will cover the condition of the home’s heating system; central air conditioning system (temperature permitting); interior plumbing and electrical systems; the roof, attic and visible insulation; walls, ceilings, floors, windows and doors; the foundation, basement and structural components.
Why do I need a home inspection?
It is important for our clients to understand that a home inspection is not a full-proof guarantee or warranty and the home inspectors report may point out the need to further investigate one or more areas of the home. For more detailed information, the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) has Standards of Practice that outlines what should be covered in your home inspection report.
Buying a home could be the largest single investment you will ever make. To minimize unpleasant surprises and unexpected difficulties, you should want to learn as much as you can about the newly constructed or existing home before you buy it. A home inspection may identify the need for major repairs or builder oversights, as well as the need for maintenance to keep it in good shape. The report could also identify any immediate unnecessary additional cost that may go unnoticed without the help of a home inspection. After the inspection, you will know more about the home, which will allow you to make major decisions with confidence. Your home inspection report is also a key negotiation tool before you go to closing.
What will it cost?
Our company firmly believes it is very important to know what you, as the primary investor, are getting for your money. If you already are a homeowner, a home inspection can identify problems in the making and suggest preventive measures that might help you avoid costly future repairs. If you are planning to sell your home, a home inspection can give you the opportunity to make repairs that will put the house in better selling condition.
All consumers are interested in obtaining competitive rates for services rendered. AHIEA offers a wide variety of services and has established a fee structure that has been commended by past clients as they feel they received “their monies worth”. For specifics, the Fee Structure portion of our web site.
Why can't I do it myself or have a contractor or friend who is handy to do it for me?
This is the biggest mistake many potential new homeowners make when purchasing a home. Although the person you are considering may be very skilled, they are not trained or experienced at professional home inspections. Even the most experienced homeowner lacks the knowledge and expertise of a professional home inspector. An inspector is familiar with the elements of home construction, proper installation, maintenance and home safety and they are intimately familiar with how the home’s systems and components are intended to function together, as well as why they fail.
When do I call a home inspector?
Professional home inspection is a unique skill like no other and our professional engineers and certified home inspectors develop instinctual abilities to recognize problems. This professional instinct develops after extensive training and lots of experience doing inspections. Our firm routinely performs home inspections and engineering assessments for contractors, professional tradespersons, realtors and engineers who, although they are familiar with the industry, want to hire a professional home inspector to inspect their future investment before they make a purchase.
Above all, most buyers find it difficult to remain completely objective and unemotional about the house they really want, and this may have an effect on their judgment. For accurate information, it is best to obtain an unbiased, third-party opinion by a professional in the field of home inspection. Again, AHIEA prides themselves in providing that desired, unbiased assessment for all of their clients.
Typically, a home inspector is contacted immediately after the contract or purchase agreement has been signed. Before you sign, be sure there is an inspection clause in the sales contract, making your final purchase obligation contingent on the findings of a professional home inspection. This clause should specify the terms and conditions to which both the buyer and seller are obligated.
Do I have to be there?
This is highly recommended, although it’s not required. If you elect to attend, you will be able to observe the inspector and ask questions as you learn about the condition of the home and how to maintain it.
How long will the inspection take?
It is important for you to understand how the home works from a technical standpoint as well as allowing you to see first-hand the conditions that will be described in the detailed home inspection report. If you have any particular concerns about the property, this is the time to get answers. A quality home inspector will encourage questions and take the time to explain things off the checklist so that you can be more comfortable with your decision to purchase the home. For that reason alone, it's important that you intend the inspection and make sure the inspector is available for a reasonable amount of follow-up consultation.
We do understand that sometimes you cannot not be there and our firm specializes in servicing out-of-area clients and can make the process seamless from e-mailing your report the day of the inspection to accepting credit card payments. The entire process can be handled via electronic communications and you will have the opportunity to discuss your report with the inspector.
Most inspections take three to five hours. The time the inspector is on site can vary depending on how much of the writtin report is completed on site. These times may also vary depending on the size, age & condition of the home.
How will you present the report to me, as your client?
An engineering assessment typically takes two to four hours on site, however due to the complex nature of the reports and the references necessary, these reports are sent several days after payment is received.
Your personalized home inspection report will be e-mailed to you, typically within 24 hours of payment being received. AHIEA reports are detailed in documentation, while still being easy to read and understand. When selecting a firm to perform your inspection, be sure that your home inspection report will be a detailed written report, not simply a hand written checklist. A checklist-type report may be void of details and will likely not provide all of the information first time home buyers need.
What if the report reveals problems?
No house is perfect. If the inspector identifies problems, it doesn’t mean you should or shouldn’t buy the house, only that you will know in advance what to expect. If your budget is tight, or if you don’t want to become involved in future repair work, this information will be important to you. If major problems are found, a seller may agree to make repairs.
If the house proves to be in good condition, did I really need an inspection?
Definitely. Obtaining a full home inspection will complete the process with your new home purchase, greatly increasing your knowledge of the property, allowing you to negotiate and sign the dotted line with confidence. WVAHI is confident that you will discover many items about your new home from the inspector’s written report and verbal consultation, and will have that information for your future reference.