FAQs about Home Inspection

Q. What is a home inspection?
A. A home inspection objectively examines a house’s physical structure and systems, from the roof to the foundation. On average, a single-family home inspection usually takes 2-4 hours to complete, though this is heavily dependent on the home’s size and condition. After the inspection process, the inspector will send the client an inspection report (often within 24-48 hours) that covers their findings, complete with pictures, analysis, and recommendations.

Q. What does a home inspection include?
A. The standard home inspector’s report will cover the condition of the home’s heating system; central air conditioning system (temperature permitting); interior plumbing system; electrical system; the roof, attic, and visible insulation; walls, ceilings, floors, windows and doors; and the foundation, basement and structural components. ASHI publishes a Standard of Practice and Code of Ethics outlining what to expect in the home inspection report.
It is important to note that there may be some exceptions. If certain areas are inaccessible (locked door, tenant’s belongings in the way) or unsafe conditions (severely steep roofs, poor structural integrity), the inspector will explain the situation and note that they could not assess that specific area or system.

Q. Why do homebuyers need a home inspection?
A. Buying a home is a significant investment and might be the largest one a homebuyer ever makes. It’s recommended that homebuyers gain as much knowledge as possible about the property before purchasing it. A thorough home inspection can reveal any significant repairs needed, potential oversights by the builder, or general maintenance required to keep the property in good condition. By going through the inspection process, homebuyers can better understand the property they are considering and confidently make informed decisions. Additionally, if a homeowner plans to sell their property, a home inspection can identify any repairs needed to improve the home’s selling condition.

Q. Do the homebuyers have to be there?
A. Although the homebuyer doesn’t need to be present during the home inspection, it is highly recommended. Many homebuyers find it to be a valuable and worthwhile experience. Being present during the inspection allows the homebuyer to observe the inspector’s findings and ask questions as they arise. Interacting with the inspector during the inspection can provide homebuyers with invaluable information to help them make informed decisions about their investment.

Q. Can a house fail a home inspection?
A. A professional home inspection is an examination and objective assessment of the current condition of a house. A home inspector will not pass or fail a house but rather describe its physical condition and indicate what components and systems may need major repair or replacement. A home inspection is not an appraisal and will not determine the home’s market value. It is also not a municipal inspection and does not verify local code compliance.

Q. What if the inspection report reveals problems?
A. It is important to note that no house is perfect. As stated earlier, an inspection can reveal significant repairs needed, potential oversights by the builder, or only general maintenance required to keep the property in good condition. The inspector’s role is not to tell the clients if they should buy the house but to help them understand the full cost of ownership. The home inspector’s goal is to leave their clients with a deeper understanding of their prospective home, so they can make a sound decision as they continue their homebuying process.

Q. What if an issue arises with the home inspection or report?
A. In some cases, the homebuyer may be displeased with the service the home inspector provided. Often in these situations, the homebuyer is left feeling that crucial defects or details were missed during the inspection process or left out of the inspection report. ASHI always suggests that the homebuyer should contact their home inspector and explain the concerns they have with the home inspection report. Sometimes, it may turn out to be a simple misunderstanding, with the inspector providing further explanation clarifying the issue. In many states, home inspectors are licensed and follow the regulations put forth by their state. If the homebuyer is not able to resolve their dissatisfaction with the home inspector directly, they are encouraged to contact their state governing body for information on how to proceed. It is important to note that any enforcement or sanctioning is specifically reserved for state governing bodies.