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How Do I Get A Good Home Inspection?

Home Inspection: What is it?  Who needs one? What does a good home inspection include? How do I choose a quality home inspector? Should I have a brand new home inspected?

These are the most common questions asked by home buyers, home sellers and even real estate agents.  The simplest way to begin is to say that with very few exceptions, everyone buying a house, used or brand new, should have the home inspected. Purchasing a home is a large investment. You wouldn’t buy a used car without having your own mechanic check it out first. The same goes for your house. We all live in some kind of house. We flush the toilet, turn the lights on and off, take a shower, expect there to be heat in the winter and air conditioning in the summer, but very few of us know how where the power comes from, where the water and sewage goes, how the furnace works. We hardly ever recognize the signs that something is wrong until the system shuts down. You want a professional to help you as much as you can about what condition the house is in before you buy in order to avoid being saddled with unexpected repairs or difficulties after the home is yours.

Brand new homes are no exception. Mistakes are made. Home inspections routinely reveal as many deficiencies and building code violations in new homes as in used homes. While county inspectors do the best they can, they usually have many houses to inspect every day and cannot possibly dedicate 2-3 hours to each home as does a home inspector. As home inspectors become more and more trained and certified, the adversarial relationship that used to exist between builder and inspector has mostly disappeared and both parties realize they are working toward the common goal of providing a good quality home to the buyer while reducing the chance of future repair costs or lawsuits.

The standard home inspection report will cover the home’s heating and air conditioning system; the interior plumbing and electrical systems; the roof; the attic and visible insulation; walls; ceilings, floors, windows and doors; the exterior drainage pattern; the foundation, and the basement structural components.  (Note: to avoid the possibility of causing harm to the units, air conditioning systems should not be tested if the temperature has been below 65 degrees during the previous 24 hours)

If you are building a house from the ground up, a “framing inspection” is strongly advised before the drywall is installed. Inspecting the framing and  the electrical system and the plumbing systems installation before they are hidden by the drywall can save thousands of dollars in future repairs and lets the builders know that they cannot use short cuts on this home.

Depending on the size of the house, a home inspection will take between 2-3 hours to complete. A computerized report with digital picture will usually be delivered the same day.

The inspection fee for an average single family home typically run between $300-$450 dollars but fees can and do run higher depending on the size of the home. Additional services like radon testing, septic tank testing, pool inspections, etc. are additional.

The lowest price is not always a good deal.  You are paying an inspector their knowledge and expertise. As in most things, you get what you pay for is a good rule of thumb. When you are choosing an inspector, be sure:

1. They are insured
$1,000,000 Errors and Omissions Insurance is the minimum, $3,000,000 is best.

2. They are Trained and Certified
ICC (Building Code) Tested and Certified;
ASHI  (American Society of Home Inspectors) Certified; and/or
GAHI (Georgia Association of Home Inspectors) Certified

3. You are comfortable with their level of experience, their availability for future consultations and their ability to communicate.

A home inspection is a snapshot of the current condition of a house. It is not a warranty guaranteeing future performance. It is not an appraisal to determine value. It is not a pass/fail municipal code compliance verification. A home inspector does not pass or fail a house, but rather describes the physical conditions of a house and indicates what components and systems may need major repair or replacement so that the buyer can make an informed buying decision.  Call Jeff Camp locally for a home inspection in and around the Atlanta area at 404-988-9929.

oXYGen Financial Insurance Agency is a client focused, full service, independent fixed insurance agency

Ted Jenkin, CFP®, AAMS®, AWMA®, CRPC®, CMFC®, CRPS®
Co-CEO and Founder oXYGen Financial, Inc.
Request a FREE consultation: www.oxygenfinancial.net

oXYGen Financial, Inc. co-CEO Ted Jenkin  is one of the foremost knowledgeable professionals in giving financial advice to the X and Y Generation.

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About the author  ⁄ Ted Jenkin @ Your Smart Money Moves

Ted Jenkin @ Your Smart Money Moves

Hey!

My friends and family all think I’m a workaholic, but I say I’m just a guy that loves to help people do better in life.

My mother is still the only one that calls me by my real name Theodore Michael, my wife calls me Teddy, but for the rest of you it is just plain old Ted.

Ever since I was a little kid, I always loved money and being an entrepreneur. In fact, I still have cassette tapes of me talking to my grandmother at the age of five and my mother tells me all the time how much I played with money as a kid...

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Ted Jenkin is a frequent guest columnist for the Wall Street Journal and Headline News Weekend Express. He is the co-CEO of oXYGen Financial. You can follow him on LinkedIn @ www.linkedin.com/in/theceoadvisor or on Twitter @tedjenkin.

Securities offered through Kestra Investment Services, LLC (Kestra IS), member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advisory services offered through Kestra Advisory Services, LLC (Kestra AS), an affiliate of Kestra IS. oXYGen Financial is not affiliated with Kestra IS or Kestra AS. Kestra IS and Kestra AS do not provide tax or legal advice.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and may not necessarily reflect those held by Kestra Investment Services, LLC or Kestra Advisory Services, LLC. This is for general information only and is not intended to provide specific investment advice or recommendations for any individual. It is suggested that you consult your financial professional, attorney, or tax advisor regarding your individual situation. 

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4 Comments

  • Avatar
    July 6, 2010

    Good article. Two things: First, you should not leave out the largest association of home inspectors on the planet – The International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI). Home inspectors have very strict guidelines to remain active in this association. We perform home inspections by certified home inspectors in San Diego, and are members of InterNACHI.

    Next, 3mil. E&O coverage is not the norm. I know of no home inspector that carries that level of insurance. 300-500K is the norm, 1mil. is on the high side.

    Best,

    Darin Redding
    Certified Professional Inspector (CPI)
    Housecall Property Inspections
    http://www.sandiegohomeinspect.com
    619-663-8740

  • Avatar
    July 7, 2010

    Thanks Darin for the great feedback. With all of this good information, readers should be able to find a great home inspector. It sounds like if you are in the San Diego area, Darin is your guy!!

    Thanks,

    Ted

  • Avatar
    Amy Suzor
    July 13, 2010

    Great article. Remember, the best place to find a home inspector is through referrals! Ask your family, friends and co-workers who they have used in the past and who they trust. Request to see a report from a previous inspection. This way you can see for yourself how indepth the report is.

    Amy Suzor
    LOGIC Realty of Atlanta
    http://www.logicrealtyofatlanta.com

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