Home Buyer Resources
What is a Home Inspection?
The national standard for a home inspection is that it is a visual examination of a buildings systems and components. It does not use technical testing equipment nor is it an invasive or destructive analysis.
The conclusions are the inspector’s opinion of the condition of each of these systems, but it is not a future projection or warranty of any component. Because a home inspection is an opinion and not a guarantee, it is important that you value the opinion of your inspector.
ASHI Standards of Practice
The State of MN does not license home inspectors. For that reason, it’s necessary for an inspector to have a 3rd party establish the minimum standards of a home inspection. The American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI), a national trade association, were first to establish guidelines for professional home inspections. These guidelines have continued to be improved and, nationally, remain the basis of what a professional home inspection consists of. We are a certified member of this association, for the past 20 years, and have adopted their standards of practice for all our inspections.
What Does a Home Inspector Do and are They All the Same?
Not all inspectors are the same. The quality of any inspection is only as good as the inspector’s knowledge, skill, and experience. A normal home inspection will examine 100’s of building parts and an inspector must be skilled at evaluating them all. Only when these skills are mature, is an inspector capable of examining each part of the house with the same proficiency. A good inspector looks at the surface of things and passes judgment. A great inspector looks beyond to the core of each component as if they can ‘see thru the walls’. And only then does the building analysis have real value.
In addition to their technical abilities, a great inspector listens to your questions and concerns, is accessible during and after the inspection, respects your time, will smile and be happy during the entire encounter.
Before Your Home Inspection
There are a few steps you should consider in preparation for your home inspection.
Do I Hire My Real Estate Agent’s Inspector?
Historically, the public has viewed the relationship between the home inspector and the real estate agent as too cozy. There has been the perception that the home inspector is working to please the agent in order to generate future business. Typically, this is old school, few inspectors or agents would do such a dishonest thing. If you have a good working relationship with your agent, you should be able to trust their judgment. However, if you have any uneasiness over the matter, we recommend you do your own research and interviewing.
Who Should I Hire?
All inspectors are not the same. In MN an inspector doesn’t even need to be licensed. Absolutely nothing substitutes for experience in this profession. It takes thousands of inspections before an inspector is confident and comfortable inspecting all aspects of the home. No background or trade association membership can compare to the ‘in the trenches…get your boots dirty…hands on’ inspector. When you combine a seasoned inspector with great customer service, before and after the inspection, you have found the right team.
When Should You Schedule An Inspection?
Most home inspections are performed after a purchase agreement has been signed. The reason for this is buyers do not want to spend the money and risk not getting the home. A high demand home inspector will generally require a minimum of 48 hours’ notice.
After Your Home Inspection
What you should expect once your inspection is complete.
Many times the quality of the service you purchase is demonstrated in the company’s follow-up and support. Attention to detail and delivering what you promise is a huge responsibility and few home inspectors do it well. Your expectations must be met. This should include:
- A timely delivered and high quality customized report
- Reports distributed to all parties you request
- Prompt response to after inspection questions and concerns
- Fully prepared and confident to make an informed decision in the purchase of your home
- Fair and prompt complaint resolution…if required
Quality of Written Report
Many are persuaded that the length of a report equals a higher quality report. A better approach is to look at the ease of obtaining pertinent information from the report. Don’t be fooled by a lot of fluff…just the facts ma’am!
You should receive the finished document no later than the morning after the inspection and you should control who gets a copy.
Why Have a Home Inspection?
Buying a home could be the largest single investment you will ever make. To minimize unpleasant surprises and unexpected difficulties, you will want to learn as much as you can about the house before you buy it. A home inspection will identify major repairs, as well as the need for maintenance to keep it in good shape. After the inspection, you will know more about the house, which will allow you to make better decisions with confidence.
No home inspection is perfect, mistakes can be made. However, a great home inspector should never make mistakes on the major problems of the house. A home inspection should clearly protect the client from catastrophes such as these: