Buying a home represents a major investment of time, money, and effort. It also is an exciting and rewarding experience. Now is the time to be an informed consumer, and to select the inspection company that offers you value. We suggest you ask some questions when comparing home inspection companies to help you select which one best meet your needs.
Q: Why have a home inspection?
A: In general, Home Inspectors have a very keen knowledge of construction, systems and products used in the home. This gives the home buyer insight into the construction types and ages of various systems in the home. Most home inspectors will demonstrate the proper operation, and maintenance needs of the systems incorporated in the home as well as tips on how to use the systems to peak efficiency.
Q: When do I get my home inspection report?
A: Your home inspection report will be computer generated ON-SITE via email by the end of the day with digital pictures at the home inspection. Why should you have to wait for your report?
Q: How long should a home inspection last?
A: The average home inspection should last between 2 and 3 hours. The home inspection should allow time for the home buyer to ask all pertinent questions pertaining to the property. The purpose of a home inspection is for the home buyer to have a good understanding of the condition and the operation of the systems, and the structural components that make up the property they are purchasing.
Q: What systems will be covered in the home inspection?
A: Structural, basement/crawl space, heating, interior plumbing fixtures and faucets, electrical, air conditioning, walls, ceilings, floors, windows, insulation, ventilation, kitchens, appliances, roofing, gutters, downspouts, chimney, drainage, grading, etc...
Q: What qualifications should my home inspector have?
A: Your home inspector should be licensed, insured and should have a background in constructions, engineering or trade experience. The home inspector should perform all inspections to meet or exceed the New Jersey Standards of Practice.
Q: What if the report reveals a problem?
A: If a home inspection reveals problems it does not necessarily mean you should not buy the home. The home inspection is meant to educate you on the condition of the property in advance of purchase and can be used as a negotiating tool.
Q: How Do I Select A Good Inspector? Is the inspector properly licensed and certified?
A: Make sure the inspector is state-licensed and certified by a national professional association, such as the National Association of Home Inspectors (NAHI) or the America Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI).
Q: Does the company carry General Liability (GL) and Errors and Omissions (E & O) insurance?
A: Appropriate risk insurance protects businesses, clients, and property owners. Many new inspectors joining the industry do not carry insurance. Check the inspection company's insurance status.
Q: How are the inspection reports delivered?
A: Inspection reports should be clear, concise, easy-to-read, and available quickly. You'll want to have a firm understanding of the condition of the home prior to the contingency period of your real estate contract. Ask whether they deliver reports on site or via e-mail soon after the inspection.
Q: Does the report provide a summary of defective items and pictures?
A: The report should provide a summary of defective items. This "summary page" allows you to easily see what functional or safety concerns exist with the property. Additionally, digital cameras allow inspectors to effectively illustrate their reports, especially items that are difficult to describe. No other item has so positively affected communication of reports in recent years as the digital camera.
Q: What is the inspector's experience and background?
A: Inspectors should have attended an in-depth training course to learn how to perform home inspections. They should also have an excellent experience base and ideally be part of an organization with a strong continuing education program. Find out how long the inspection company has been in business.
Q: Can you order more than one inspection at the same time?
A: Check to see if the inspection company can save you time by offering additional inspections on the same day, such as radon and termite.
Q: Is the fee too high? Too low?
A: Newer inspectors tend to compete based on price; therefore you may have to pay more for an experienced inspector. The $25, $50, or $100 to hire the "right" inspection company is minimal compared to the thousands of dollars it could cost you by hiring the "wrong" inspection company.
Q: Does the company encourage you to attend the inspection?
A: Attending the inspection is a great opportunity for you to learn first-hand what is included in the inspection and about the systems and components in the house you are purchasing. Be wary of inspectors that do not include you in the inspection process.
Q: I am thinking of selling my home. Should I get a home inspection prior to listing it?
A: Yes, a home inspection is advisable. This gives you an idea of the issues and you can decide which ones you will repair and which ones you will disclaim.
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