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Home Inspection Q&A

Most common questions asked before having a home inspection:

Why would I need a home inspection?

The purchase of a new house or condominium for most people will be one of the biggest investments in their life time.  Having first hand knowledge about the present condition of the property can prevent costly, unpleasant and inconvenient findings.  A home inspection will help you learn about major or minor issues and maintenance procedures. 

If you plan on selling your home in the near future, or bought it new without an independent evaluation, a professional home inspection allows you to have first hand knowledge about issues with the home.  These issues may be significant enough to warrant repairs before putting it on the market and having an offer from a potential buyer. Having concerns addressed by the original builder before the home warranty is up is a “must” to protect your investment!

How important is a home inspection for a new house or condominium?

Inspections performed on new construction are an absolute necessity. A new home is a structure that has had no use to the plumbing system, related fixtures, electrical system, heating system, etc..  A used home has had a “break-in period” and the test of time has occurred.  The most common problems with new construction is the overall quality control of the tradesman building the home and finding their mistakes, unfinished work or non-professionalism when building the structure.  Several surprising issues will always be revealed during a new construction inspection that usually cannot be seen by the average person.

What is the cost of a professional home inspection?

All inspections performed have several different ranges of prices, usually varying by size, features of the home, age, location, and the overall time it will take to perform the inspection and final report.  Do not let the price of the inspection be the deciding factor when choosing a qualified professional to inspect one of the biggest investments of your life.  The phrase you get what you pay for speaks the truth in our profession.  You have the right to choose any inspector, do not make the mistake of just getting the job done as quickly as possible, or as cheap as you can, just to move to the next step of the home purchase or meeting a deadline.  Waving an inspection just to get an offer accepted is the biggest mistake you could ever make.
In the very least have a brief “walk-through” inspection which is better than nothing.  If you wave your inspection contingency, at least, for your sake, have it inspected for the wealth of knowledge you will gain in your buying decision.  It is well worth the cost and your time, even with a new home.  Remember, all home inspectors, their inspections performed, qualifications, experience, final reports, and their overall professional service are not created equal!

How much time will the inspection take and when do I receive my report?

For an average condominium you should allow for one and half to two hours time. Most homes you should allow for three to four hours time from start to finish.  Very large, custom or unique homes will typically take up to five to eight hours to finish the inspection.  We encourage that you are present for the entire inspection, or at least attend the last hour or two for a complete walk-through.  The walk–through is designed to discuss the entire home and related issues that will be in the report.  You will have a complete verbal understanding of the home before you leave the site and hopefully all of your questions will be answered.  By attending the walk-through you will learn valuable information, several maintenance tips, and how the home, or its related systems operate. If you cannot attend the inspection our report is exceptionally narrative and will explain all of the issues as if we were personally speaking to you.  Digital pictures are available (at an additional cost with some homes) if requested, and most reports are available within 24 hours of the inspection.

Can I do the inspection myself, or have my “knowledgeable” friend or family member do it for me?

It is always great to have an extra set of eyes from different people to look around and give an opinion about the home you are about to purchase. Unfortunately most friends or family members are not a third-party professional in all aspects of the home inspection and it can become more bias or more emotionally involved with your purchase.  They may specialize in one part of the entire inspection process that is needed.   For example, lets say your brother-in–law is a roofing contractor and offers to do the home inspection, he may be a great roofer and very knowledgeable in that area, but will lack all of the professional skills to perform a complete thorough inspection of the remainder of the home and provide a detailed report. 

A qualified home inspector can identify many issues that the average person would never see, and issues that will need corrections now or in the upcoming future.  This comes with specialized training and every day experiences on the job.  We have performed thousands of inspections seeing the same system homes with completely different issues from one development to the next. Even knowledgeable and professional contractors, individual private investors and real estate investment groups always hire a third party home inspector to provide a detailed list of issues needing corrections to make an educated decision before a building purchase.

When problems are revealed, can we ask “did it pass or fail the inspection?”

You can always ask, but the answer is….professionally performed home inspections will not fail the home.  It is people that fail home sales or purchases by the response to what was revealed during the inspection.  Most sellers are honest and disclose all knowledge they have about the history of the home. All homes have positive and negative features, but most homes can always be repaired to meet industry standards if people are willing to make an agreement and complete the corrections warranted.  Keep things in perspective, you cannot expect the seller to repair every maintenance issue or little item that is found during the inspection.  Do not walk away from your dream home over small issues or difficult sellers.  Although a home may look perfect when initially walking through it, no home is perfect and you should always be more concerned about major defects, issues that will lead up to defects, safety issues, or expensive items that could affect the financing of the home.   Our job is to identify the positive and negitive issues with the structure at that time and indicate what will need to be repaired or replaced, we are not there to “pass or fail” the house.

Would it help if the seller was present for the inspection and review?

No, although it can be helpful for some history of the house, or if you have questions that need to be addressed, we can make a list of these things and have it answered in the inspection report.  Buying a home can be very emotional for people and the inspection time is our time to tour the home and speak freely between us without distractions, conflicts or disagreements about of our findings.  An inspection time period is your time to walk the property, neighborhood, take photos, measurements and plan out the layout of your new home.  In some cases the homeowner may not be able to leave and we can still conduct our inspection with no problems and review it with you in private.    

What if something was missed during the inspection?

Unfortanully performing a home inspection is not a “rubber stamp” or final approval of the home and is not a guarantee that some other issues will not develope over time.  Most issues that come up later are usually a misunderstanding of a condition found during the inspection, and/or not reviewing the inspection report and acting upon the information provided.  In many cases if issues found are not corrected in a timely manner they will usually result into some other problem(s).  Hiring professional contractors to perform repairs and/or having the homeowner conduct some of the repairs after reviewing the inspection report is something that happens most often.  If these items are not professionally re-inspected they can turn into other issues in the future or be brought up again during another inspection.

Can a real estate agent influence your inspection findings or final report?

Never, our inspection and the information provided are for you, and you only. I really appreciate referrals from real estate professionals but our jobs are separate.  Most real estate agents want you to have the best home inspection experience possible with clear, concise information to protect you. They will usually refer you to a list of qualified professionals with a wide range of experience and price quote fees.  It is your choice to use who you like.  (Most real estate agents will discourage a cheap inspection…remember, you get what you pay for).  I will provide quality information needed for you and your agent so you can move forward to the next step of your home purchase decision.

What about future questions after the inspection?

We encourage you to contact us with any follow-up questions that you may have. During the inspection we strive to answer all of your questions and concerns, but an inspection period is a small window of time to absorb a lot of information.  Please feel free to contact us anytime after your inspection with Thompson Inspection Services.   

When do I schedule the inspection and make payment arrangements?

Please call us as soon as you can after your purchase acceptance agreement contract is completed to get your appointment time arranged.  We perform inspections Monday–Friday at 10:00 AM or 3:00 PM, with a 3-4 hour process with you. Weekend inspections can be requested without an extra charge depending on our weekly schedule, workload, and the time of year.  Payment is always due at the end of the inspection performed by check.  If it is sent to escrow a small extra charge will apply.  We do not accept credit cards.

Residential inspection check list before having us arrive to perform your inspection:

In order for us to conduct a complete and thorough home inspection please confirm the following to expedite the inspection process.  We want to perform the best possible service for you in a timely manner!

  1. Make sure the utilities are on: Electricity, natural or propane gas, main water supply, hot water pilot lights, and direct vent fireplaces.  We do not turn on the main water, related plumbing fixture shut off valves, the main electrical disconnect or ignite gas appliances or fireplaces.
  1. Make sure that access to all areas are available for inspection or to access:  The crawlspace, attic, garage doors, electrical service panel, heating plant, hot water heater, main water shut off, locked gates, rooms or their access doors.
  1. Make sure that the homeowner’s pets are accounted for by having them removed from the property, inside a kennel or in a safe location to prevent escape. We are not responsible for their well being, but if friendly it will not be a concern to stay present. 
  1. If the structure is new, or being remodeled, you will receive a more complete and thorough evaluation if the home is completed; All kitchen appliances installed, plumbing fixtures in place and functioning, doors, cabinets and flooring installed. Basically the home should be close to “move-in condition” or just before your builder walk-through orientation.