A: A home inspection is a non bias, objective, visual examination of the physical structure and systems of a home, from the roof to the foundation. Having a home inspected is like giving it a physical check-up. If problems or symptoms are found, the inspector may recommend further evaluation.
Q. When do I call in the home inspector?
A: Before you sign the contract or purchase agreement, make your purchase obligation contingent upon the findings of a professional home inspection. This clause should specify the terms to which both the buyer and seller are obligated. Contact a home inspector immediately after the contract or purchase agreement has been signed. Home inspectors are well aware of the time constraints involved in purchase agreements and most are available to conduct the required inspection within a few days.
Q. Do all of the utilities need to be on prior to the home inspection?
A. YES. Please make sure that all of the utilities including gas, water and electricity are turned on prior to the inspection. Taking this very important step will help to expedite your inspection and ensure that everything is inspected properly. Your Realtor should be able to help you in making sure that all of the utilities are turned on.
Q: How long will the Inspection take?
A: Most Inspections take anywhere from 2-3 hours. These times may vary depending on the size, age & condition of the home.
Q: What will the inspection cover?
A: A thorough Inspection covers everything from roof to the foundation. Overall, approximately 250 points of your home will be checked and/or tested.
|Items that are included in the Inspection are as follows:|
Q: Should I be present during the Inspection?
A: We do recommend that you be present, in most cases near the end of the Inspection. This will allow your Inspector to concentrate and focus while inspecting your new investment. However you are always welcome to be present from start to finish.
Q: Why can’t I have someone in my family who is very handy or a contractor, inspect my new home?
A: This is the biggest mistake many potential new homeowners make when purchasing a home. Although the person you are considering may be skilled, they are not trained or experienced at professional home inspections. Professional home inspection is a unique skill like no other. Professional inspectors get what we call an “Inspector’s instinct” for problems. That instinct takes extensive training and experience doing inspections everyday to develop. Many contractors and other trade professionals hire professional home inspectors to inspect their homes when they make a purchase.
Q: What if I have questions after the inspection?
A: You can call us and discuss all the aspects of your new home anytime, whenever you like. Our service is a long-term investment. Once you are a client, you are ALWAYS a client.
Q. Can a house fail a home inspection?
A: No. A professional home inspection is an examination of the current condition of your home. It is not an appraisal, which determines market value, or a municipal inspection, which verifies compliance to local codes and standards. A home inspector can not pass or fail a house. A home inspection simply describes in detail the current physical condition of a property and indicates what may need repair or replacement.
Q. What if the report reveals problems?
A: No house is perfect. When the inspector identifies problems, it does not indicate you should not buy the house. His findings serve to educate you about the current condition of the property. A seller may adjust the purchase price or contract terms if major problems are discovered during an inspection. If your budget is tight, or if you do not want to be involved in future repair work, this information will be extremely valuable, and could possibly save you thousands of dollars in the long run.
Q. Life Expectancies of household components?
A: One of the number one questions a home inspector gets asked is ” How long will this last?” To help answer this question, I have compiled a list of typical household components and their normal life expectancies.
The following material was developed for the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Economics Department based on a survey of manufacturers, trade associations and product researchers. Many factors affect the life expectancy of housing components and need to be considered when making replacement decisions. This includes the quality of the components, the quality of their installation, their level of maintenance, weather and climatic conditions, and intensity of their use. Some components remain functional well after their expected life span but become obsolete because of changing styles and tastes or because of product improvements. Note that the following life expectancy estimates are provided largely by the industries or manufacturers that make and sell the components listed. I hope you find this information useful.
|Life Expectancy of Household Components|
|Appliances||Life in years|
|Washers, automatic and compact||13|
|Source: Appliance Statistical Review, April 1990|
|Bathrooms||Life in years|
|Cast iron bathtubs||50|
|Fiberglass bathtub and showers||10-15|
|Shower doors, average quality||25|
|Sources: Neil Kelly Designers, Thompson House of Kitchens and Bath|
|Cabinetry||Life in years|
|Medicine cabinets and bath vanities||20|
|Sources: Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturers Association, Neil Kelly Designers|
|Closet systems||Life in years|
|Countertops||Life in years|
|Ceramic tile, high-grade installation||Lifetime|
|Sources: AFP Associates of Western Plastics, Ceramic Tile Institute of America|
|Doors||Life in years|
|Interior, hollow core||Less than 30|
|Interior, solid core||30-lifetime|
|Exterior, protected overhang||80-100|
|Exterior, unprotected and exposed||25-30|
|Garage door opener||10|
|Sources: Wayne Dalton Corporation, National Wood Window and Door Association, Raynor Garage Doors|
|Electrical||Life in years|
|Copper wiring, copper plated, copper clad aluminum, and bare copper||100+|
|Armored cable (BX)||Lifetime|
|Source: Jesse Aronstein, Engineering Consultant|
|Finishes used for waterproofing||Life in years|
|Paint, plaster, and stucco||3-5|
|Sealer, silicone, and waxes||1-5|
|Source: Brick Institute of America Floors|
|Floors||Life in years|
|Oak or pine||Lifetime|
|Vinyl sheet or tile||20-30|
|Carpeting (depends on installation, amount of traffic, and quality of carpet)||11|
|Marble (depends on installation, thickness of marble, and amount of traffic)||Lifetime+|
|Sources: Carpet and Rug Institute, Congoleum Corporation, Hardwood Plywood Manufacturers Association, Marble Institute, National Terrazzo and Mosaic Association, National Wood Flooring Association, Resilient Floor Covering Institute|
|Footings and foundation||Life in years|
|Poured footings and foundations||200|
|Waterproofing, bituminous coating||10|
|Termite proofing (may have shorter life in damp climates)||5|
|Source: WR Grace and Company|
|Heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC)||Life in years|
|Central air conditioning unit (newer units should last longer)||15|
|Air conditioner compressor||15|
|Electric water heater||14|
|Gas water heater (depends on type of water heater lining and quality of water)||11-13|
|Forced air furnaces, heat pump||15|
|Rooftop air conditioners||15|
|Boilers, hot water or steam (depends on quality of water)||30|
|Furnaces, gas- or oil-fired||18|
|Unit heaters, gas or electric||13|
|Radiant heaters, electric||10|
|Radiant heaters, hot water or steam||25|
|Diffusers, grilles, and registers||27|
|Induction and fan coil units||20|
|Ventilating roof-mounted fans||20|
|DX, water, and steam coils||20|
|Heat Exchangers, shell-and-tube||24|
|Pumps, sump and well||10|
|Sources: Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute, Air Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration News, Air Movement and Control Association, American Gas Association, American Society of Gas Engineers, American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers, Inc., Safe Aire Incorporated|
|Home security appliances||Life in years|
|Insulation||Life in years|
|For foundations, roofs, ceilings, walls, and floors||Lifetime|
|Sources: Insulation Contractors Association of America, North American Insulation Manufacturers Association|
|Landscaping||Life in years|
|Brick and concrete patios||24|
|Sources: Associated Landscape Contractors of America, Irrigation Association|
|Masonry||Life in years|
|Chimney, fireplace, and brick veneer||Lifetime|
|Brick and stone walls||100+|
|Sources: Brick Institute of America, Architectural Components, National Association of Brick Distributors, National Stone Association|
|Millwork||Life in years|
|Paints and stains||Life in years|
|Exterior paint on wood, brick, and aluminum||7-10|
|Interior wall paint (depends on the acrylic content)||5-10|
|Interior trim and door paint||5-10|
|Sources: Finnaren and Haley, Glidden Company, The Wall Paper|
|Plumbing||Life in years|
|Waste piping, cast iron||75-100|
|Sinks, enamel steel||5-10|
|Sinks, enamel cast iron||25-30|
|Faucets, low quality||13-15|
|Faucets, high quality||15-20|
|Sources: American Concrete Pipe Association, Cast Iron Soil and Pipe Institute, Neil Kelly Designers, Thompson House of Kitchens and Baths|
|Roofing||Life in years|
|Asphalt and wood shingles and shakes||15-30|
|Tile (depends on quality of tile and climate)||50|
|Slate (depends on grade)||50-100|
|Sheet metal (depends on gauge of metal and quality of fastening and application)||20-50+|
|Built-up roofing, asphalt||12-25|
|Built-up roofing, coal and tar||12-30|
|Asphalt composition shingle||15-30|
|Source: National Roofing Contractors Association|
|Rough structure||Life in years|
|Basement floor systems||Lifetime|
|Framing, exterior and interior walls||Lifetime|
|Source: NAHB Research Foundation|
|Shutters||Life in years|
|Wood, exterior (depends on weather conditions)||4-5|
|Vinyl plastic, exterior||7-8|
|Sources: A.C. Shutters, Inc., Alcoa Building Products, American Heritage Shutters|
|Siding||Life in years|
|Gutters and downspouts||30|
|Siding, wood (depends on maintenance)||10-100|
|Sources: Alcoa Building Products, Alside, Inc., Vinyl Siding Institute|
|Walls and window treatments||Life in years|
|Drywall and plaster||30-70|
|Ceramic tile, high grade installation||Lifetime|
|Sources: Association of Wall and Ceiling Industries International, Ceramic Tile Institute of America|
|Windows||Life in years|
|Aluminum and vinyl casement||20-30|
|Sources: Best Built Products, Optimum Window Manufacturing, Safety Glazing Certification Council, Screen Manufacturers Association|