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What is a home Inspection??

A home inspection is a limited, non-invasive examination of the condition of a home, often in connection with the sale of that home. This is usually conducted by a home inspector who has the training and certifications to perform such inspections. The inspector prepares a written report, often using home inspection software, and delivers it to a client, typically the home buyer. The client then uses the knowledge gained to make informed decisions about their pending real estate purchase. The home inspector describes the condition of the home at the time of inspection but does not guarantee future condition, efficiency, or life expectancy of systems or components.

An inspector will check the roof, basement, heating system, water heater, air-conditioning system, structure, plumbing, electrical, and many other aspects of buildings looking for improper building practices, those items that require extensive repairs, items that are general maintenance issues, as well as some fire and safety issues. However, it should also be noted that a home inspection is not technically exhaustive and does not imply that every defect will be discovered. A general list of exclusions include but are not limited to: code or zoning violations, permit research, property measurements or surveys, boundaries, easements or right of way, conditions of title, proximity to environmental hazards, noise interference, soil or geological conditions, well water systems or water quality, underground sewer lines and/or waste disposal systems, buried piping, cisterns, underground water tanks and sprinkler systems to name a few. A complete list of standards and procedures for home inspections can be found at the NAHI, ASHI or InterNACHI websites.

A home inspector is sometimes confused with a real estate appraiser. A home inspector determines the condition of a structure, whereas an appraiser determines the value of a property.

Although not all states or municipalities in the U.S. regulate the home inspection industry (a topic of much debate), there are some professional associations for home inspectors that provide education, training and networking opportunities. In Nevada however, a combination of classroom and practical application training exceeding over 150 hours of instruction is a prerequisite to the State Mandated License. The most prominent of organizations setting standards for the industry today is the not-for-profit International Association of Certified Home Inspectors, also known as InterNACHI. They have the largest membership, with close to 8,000 members worldwide.

A home cannot "fail" an inspection, as there is no score or passing grade given. A professional home inspection is an examination of the current condition of a house. It is not an appraisal. It is not a municipal inspection, which verifies local building code compliance. A home inspector, therefore, will not pass or fail a house, but rather describe its physical condition and indicate what components and systems may need a major or minor repair or replacement.

In Canada and the United States, a contract to purchase a house will often include a contingency that the contract is not valid until a home inspector has inspected the property (and the contract will usually provide for how problems found in inspection are to be remedied). In many states and provinces, home inspectors are required to be licensed, but in many states the profession is not regulated at all. Typical requirements for obtaining a license are to complete an approved training course and/or to pass an examination selected by the state's licensing board. Several states and provinces also require inspectors to periodically obtain continuing education credits in order to renew their licenses.

Ancillary services such as WDI (wood destroying insect), radon testing, septic inspections, water quality, mold & private well inspections are sometimes a part of home inspector's services if duly qualified.

In many states, the practical standards for home inspectors are those enacted by professional associations such as the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI), the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI) with chapters throughout the United States and Canada, the National Academy of Building Inspection Engineers (NABIE), the National Association of Home Inspectors (NAHI), and the Canadian Association of Home and Property Inspectors (CAHPI) with chapters throughout Canada.

Currently, more than thirty U.S. states regulate the home inspection industry in some form.

If you are a homeowner, seller and/or buyer and you want to speed up the process, call F10 Inspections today for a free telephone consultation. We’ll be glad to help. 

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Last modified: January 17, 2011