A regular real estate home inspection and a first time home buyer inspection differs slightly in the fact that I highly recommend a first time home buyer needs to be there during the inspection. Someone who has owned homes before already understands where to look for the main water shut off, The main septic clean-out and where re-set buttons are on the garbage disposal, and The furnace or how to set the temperature on the hot water heater or how to prime the furnace after running out of oil. These are just a few things I like to point out to new home buyers. How do you expect someone to know how to change their furnace filter which only takes a minute, if they didn’t even know they had one! Or how to put a mirror in the chimney clean out to see if it needs cleaning or not. All people know to take lint out of their dryer but new home owners might not know you should clean out the lint vent leading outside at least once a year. New home owners may not understand the importance of making sure outside faucets lead away from the basement or the importance of having proper ventilation in the attic. All good home inspectors have no problem helping out new home buyers at no extra charge for this service and I highly recommend all first time home buyers ask if the Inspector is first time home buyer certified. I also like to let all clients of my inspections to feel free to call anytime about any questions they may have about their home even if it is a year or so later. I enjoy being there for you and being allowed the opportunity to be of assistance. If I didn’t like this profession I would be doing something else
Here is the second most common error I find. Outlets without a ground. The problem here I find the most is when there is a grounded (3 prong outlet) in the same room with a non grounded (2 prong) outlet it means often the previous owner just changed the outlets and added a 3 prong outlet but it has no ground. A good home inspector will always find this and point it out to you
1.1. A general home inspection is a non-invasive, visual examination of the accessible areas of a residential property (as delineated below), performed for a fee, which is designed to identify defects within specific systems and components defined by these Standards that are both observed and deemed material by the inspector. The scope of work may be modified by the Client and Inspector prior to the inspection process.
- I. The general home inspection is based on the observations made on the date of the inspection, and not a prediction of future conditions.
- II. The general home inspection will not reveal every issue that exists or ever could exist, but only those material defects observed on the date of the inspection.
1.2. A material defect is a specific issue with a system or component of a residential property that may have a significant, adverse impact on the value of the property, or that poses an unreasonable risk to people. The fact that a system or component is near, at or beyond the end of its normal useful life is not, in itself, a material defect.
1.3. A general home inspection report shall identify, in written format, defects within specific systems and components defined by these Standards that are both observed and deemed material by the inspector. Inspection reports may include additional comments and recommendations.
2. Limitations, Exceptions & Exclusions
- I. An inspection is not technically exhaustive.
- II. An inspection will not identify concealed or latent defects.
- III. An inspection will not deal with aesthetic concerns or what could be deemed matters of taste, cosmetic defects, etc.
- IV. An inspection will not determine the suitability of the property for any use.
- V. An inspection does not determine the market value of the property or its marketability.
- VI. An inspection does not determine the insurability of the property.
- VII. An inspection does not determine the advisability or inadvisability of the purchase of the inspected property.
- VIII. An inspection does not determine the life expectancy of the property or any components or systems therein.
- IX. An inspection does not include items not permanently installed.
- X. These Standards of Practice apply only to properties with four or fewer residential units.
I. The inspector is not required to determine:
- property boundary lines or encroachments.
- the condition of any component or system that is not readily accessible.
- the service life expectancy of any component or system.
- the size, capacity, BTU, performance or efficiency of any component or system.
- the cause or reason of any condition.
- the cause for the need of correction, repair or replacement of any system or component.
- future conditions.
- compliance with codes or regulations.
- the presence of evidence of rodents, birds, animals, insects, or other pests.
- the presence of mold, mildew or fungus.
- the presence of airborne hazards, including radon.
- the air quality.
- the existence of environmental hazards, including lead paint, asbestos or toxic drywall.
- the existence of electromagnetic fields.
- any hazardous waste conditions.
- any manufacturers’ recalls or conformance with manufacturer installation, or any information included for consumer protection purposes.
- acoustical properties.
- correction, replacement or repair cost estimates.
- estimates of the cost to operate any given system.
II. The inspector is not required to operate:
- any system that is shut down.
- any system that does not function properly.
- or evaluate low-voltage electrical systems such as, but not limited to:
1. phone lines;
2. cable lines;
3. satellite dishes;
5. lights; or
6. remote controls.
- any system that does not turn on with the use of normal operating controls.
- any shut-off valves or manual stop valves.
- any electrical disconnect or over-current protection devices.
- any alarm systems.
- moisture meters, gas detectors or similar equipment.
III. The inspector is not required to:
- move any personal items or other obstructions, such as, but not limited to: throw rugs, carpeting, wall coverings, furniture, ceiling tiles, window coverings, equipment, plants, ice, debris, snow, water, dirt, pets, or anything else that might restrict the visual inspection.
- dismantle, open or uncover any system or component.
- enter or access any area that may, in the opinion of the inspector, be unsafe.
- enter crawlspaces or other areas that may be unsafe or not readily accessible.
- inspect underground items, such as, but not limited to: lawn-irrigation systems, underground storage tanks or other indications of their presence, whether abandoned or actively used.
- do anything which may, in the inspector’s opinion, be unsafe or dangerous to the inspector or others, or damage property, such as, but not limited to: walking on roof surfaces, climbing ladders, entering attic spaces, or negotiating with pets.
- inspect decorative items.
- inspect common elements or areas in multi-unit housing.
- inspect intercoms, speaker systems or security systems.
- offer guarantees or warranties.
- offer or perform any engineering services.
- offer or perform any trade or professional service other than general home inspection.
- research the history of the property, or report on its potential for alteration, modification, extendibility or suitability for a specific or proposed use for occupancy.
- determine the age of construction or installation of any system, structure or component of a building, or differentiate between original construction and subsequent additions, improvements, renovations or replacements.
- determine the insurability of a property.
- perform or offer Phase 1 or environmental audits.
- inspect any system or component that is not included in these Standards.
- (From the Internachi Home Inspectors Scope of Inspections)
When Buying a home be sure to read all the fine print in a Real Estate Disclosure that is provided to you by your Real Estate Agent or Broker. Ask the agent to email a copy to you and your home inspector.
Not only do disclosure documents serve to inform the buyers but they also can protect the seller . It is the seller’s chance to tell you about anything that can negatively affect the value, use or enjoyment of the property. Once an issue has been added to the disclosure the seller is covering his or her self from Future legal Action.
If there are boxes not filled out on the disclosure sheets, ask the agent to explain why. Buyers are required to sign off on disclosure documents and reports. So it’s important to review them carefully and ask questions if you need to.
I recently inspected a property that had listed on the disclosure sheet an issue of a basement leak that had been repaired. Knowing about this previous issue I looked closer at the basement with thermal imaging, in the wall spectoscope and with my moisture meter to find that several walls that had new drywall were actually attached to rotted wood that needed to be replaced as a major support wall.
The seller had eliminated a possible future law suit by stating the issue in the disclosure
This is why it is very important to read the disclosure sheet and to provide a copy to your home inspector.