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Frequently Asked Home Inspection Questions (FAQ's)

Q: What is a Home Inspection 

A: An inspection is an objective visual examination of the physical structure and systems, from the roof to the foundation. The standard inspector's report will include an evaluation of the condition of the structures heating system, central air conditioning system, plumbing and electrical systems; the roof, attic, and visible insulation; walls, ceilings, floors, windows and doors; foundation,visible structure and site conditions. Having an inspection is like giving the structure a physical check-up. If defects or symptoms are found, the inspector will refer you to the appropriate specialist and or tradesperson for further assessment.

Q: Why should I choose to have a professional home inspection?

A: We cannot emphasize enough the value and necessity of a professional inspection. Many purchasers, either in the desire to save money or due to simple ignorance, have spent enormous sums of money repairing items that any good home inspector would have pointed out. Any offer to purchase you make should be contingent upon a professional inspection with a satisfactory report. Do not let anyone, not your family, friends, individuals that have a stake in the sale and or especially not the seller or builder discourage you from having the property thoroughly inspected! You will sleep much sounder after your purchase and a professional inspection can give you the ability to opt out of a contract if the property is found defective. If the contract is written contingent on an acceptable inspection, any defects in the structure must be either repaired or monetarily compensated for. If you are not satisfied, you have the option to cancel the contract. Don't wait until you have placed an offer before you begin the search for a home inspector. There will be an option time limit in the contract designating when the inspection must be completed (typically within 7 to 10 days). If you start trying to find an inspector at that point,and may not find an acceptable one to schedule it in the necessary timeframe, you will only have two choices: go with an inspector that is not your first choice, or run the risk of running past the deadline for the inspection (which could void any chance of having the seller take careof repairs). Neither is an acceptable alternative!

Q: Why do I need an inspection?

A: The purchase of any property is probably the largest single investment you will ever make. You should learn as much as you can about the condition of the property and the need for any major repairs before you buy so that you can minimize unpleasant surprises and difficulties afterwards. Of course, an inspection will also point out the positive aspects of a structure, as well as the maintenance that will be necessary 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 will be able to make a confident buying decision.

Owners: If you have owned your home for a long time, a home inspection can identify problems in the making and recommend preventive measures which might avoid costly future repairs. Sellers: home sellers may opt for having an inspection prior to placing the home on the market to gain a better understandingof conditions which the buyer’s inspector may point out. This provides an opportunity to make repairs that will put the house in better selling condition and it can be used as a marketing tool.

Q: Do I need a Home Inspector or a Structural Engineer?

A: Your home inspector gives you the Big Picture analysis of the house you are purchasing. If the home inspector identifies the need for a costly, detailed analysis of any of the houses' systems or structures, the inspector will recommend the appropriate professional,which may be an experienced engineer with expertise analyzing that particular system or structure. The need for this kind of expensive,detailed analysis is rare.

Hiring a Professional Engineer on your own can be a disappointing experience. The term Professional Engineer does not mean that the individual has training or experience conducting home inspections. Additionally, a home inspection does not involve engineering analysis. Therefore, hiring a Professional Engineer to complete a home inspection undoubtedly costs more, but it may not give you the results you desire and deserve. 

Q: What will a home inspection cost?

A: The inspection fee for a typical single family residence and commercial property varies. The inspection fee will depend upon the size of the house, particular features of the house, its age, and possible additional services, such as swimming pools, spas, septic systems or the many other services offered. However,do not let cost be a factor in deciding whether or not to have a home inspection, or in the selection of your inspector. The knowledge gained from an inspection is well worth the cost, and the lowest priced inspector is not necessarily a bargain. The inspector's qualifications,including his experience, training, and professional affiliations,should be the most important consideration.

Consider this fact, the average real estate commission is 5%to 7%. The average home inspection costs is between 0.140 % to 0.175%. If defects are observed you will be in a better position to bargain down the asking price as well, so the inspection can actually be a tool of value.

Q: Can't I do a home inspection myself?

A: Even the most experienced home owner lacks the knowledgeand expertise of a professional inspector who has inspected hundreds, perhaps thousands, of homes in his or her career. An inspector is familiar with all the elements of construction, their proper installation,  maintenance and the science of buildings. He or she understands how the buildings systems and components are intended to function together, as well as how and why they fail. Above all, most buyers find it very difficult to remain completely objective and unemotional about the house they really want, and this may affect their judgment. For the most accurate picture, it is best to obtain an impartial third party opinion by an expert in the field of home inspection with the proper tools and who is constantly being educated.   

Q: Does a newly constructed home need an inspection?

A: Absolutely. A professional inspection of a new home is important. We can spot potential problems early, while they are still easy to correct. It's especially valuable to arrange an inspection before the interior walls are finished. As building professionals, we may find problem areas where the builder has taken shortcuts or not performed professional work.

Q: Can a building or home fail inspection?

A: No. A professional inspection is an examination of the current condition of your prospective purchase. It is not an appraisal,which determines market value, or a municipal inspection, which verifies local code compliance. An inspector, therefore, will not pass or fail a building or a house, but rather describe its physical condition and indicate what may need repair or replacement.

Q: How do I find a home inspector?

A: The best source is a friend, or perhaps a business acquaintance, who has been satisfied with, and can recommend an inspector they have used. Real Estate Attorneys are another good source. Always be a bit aware of anyone who might have a stake in the sale for the referral might be biased, always get three names and interview them all, experience trumps all licenses and certificates. Whatever your referral source, be sure to ascertain the home inspector's professional qualifications, experience, business ethics and licensing with the State of Florida. Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulations mandated on July 1, 2010 that all home inspectors in the state will need to be licensed and insured by July 1, 2011. Licensure will include carrying General Liability Insurance and a criminal background check as well as fingerprinting.

Also be sure your inspector is a member of an accredited, reputable inspection association like NACHI, ASHI or FABI.These organizations should also have rigorous membership and continuing education requirements to assure consumers of an inspector's experience and technical qualifications. Above all ask the company “who” is my inspector and what their personal background is and are they licensed. Don’t be fooled by the inspection company owned by a person with a wealth of knowledge and then send out a person with limited construction or inspection background and experience. It takes years to learn this business and you do it by field experience not by a simple online course. Always ask to see a sample report. Be sure your inspection report is written in a narrative and check list format with lots of digital photos. Do not rely on a simple check list format type report done in one to two hours.

Q: When do I call the home inspector?

A: An inspector is typically called right after the contractor purchase agreement has been signed, and is often available within a few days. However, before you sign, be sure that there is an inspection clause in the contract, making your purchase obligation contingent upon the findings of a professional inspection. This clause should specify the terms to which both the buyer and seller are obligated.

Q: Should I attend the home inspection?

A: It’s not necessary for you to be present for the inspection, but it is recommended. By following the inspector around and by observing and asking questions, you will learn a great deal about the condition of the building, how its systems work, and how to maintain it. You will also find the written report easier to understand if you’ve seen the property first hand through the inspector’s eyes. At least showing up for the last hour of the inspection the inspector should take the time to go over the report and show you first hand any defects and deficiencies he or she has uncovered.

Q: What if the inspection report reveals problems?

A: No building is perfect. If the inspector finds problems, it doesn’t necessarily mean you shouldn’t go through with the purchase, only that you will know in advance what to expect. A seller may be flexible with the purchase price or contract terms if major problems are found. If your budget is very tight, or if you don’t wish to become involved in future repair work, this information will be extremely important to you.

Q: What if I find problems after I move into my home?

A: A home inspection is not a guarantee that problems won't develop after you move in. However if you believe that a problem was already visible at the time of the inspection and should have been mentioned in the report, your first step should be to call and meet with the inspector to clarify the situation. Misunderstandings are often resolved in this manner. If necessary, you might wish to consult with a local mediation service to help you settle your disagreement.Though many inspectors today carry Errors & Omissions and general liability insurance, litigation should be considered a last resort. It is difficult, expensive, and by no means a sure method of recovery.

Q: If the house or building proves to be in good condition, did I really need an inspection? 

A: Definitely. Now you can complete your home purchase with peace of mind about the condition of the property and all its equipment and systems. You will also have learned a few things about the property from the inspector's report, and will want to keep that information for future reference. Above all, you can feel assured that you are making a well informed purchase decision, and that you will be able to enjoy your investment the way you want to.

Q: Should I use the Home Inspector that my real estate agent recommends?

A: A good agent should give you three names. You want to make sure that the inspection company you use will be independent and not a mouthpiece for the real estate service that gives them the business. A good question to ask the inspector would be: how many inspection are you referred to in a year from this agent ? If it is more than five be cautious.

If you have any further questions please give us a call at: 239-936-7579 and we will be more than happy to answer your questions.  Remember"It's as easy as ABC"

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