Hello and welcome. So today we are going to explain a few things:
What a home inspection is and is not?
What is a home inspector?
What is the intent of an Inspection?
What additional services can be included?
And we will talk about the inspection report.
In most situations, a home inspection is a service that is ordered by someone who is buying a home, and they want to know what kind of condition the home is in and what they can anticipate as far as future repairs go.
It has nothing to do with value, nothing. I say that because we often get confused with appraisers, but appraisers are the people in charge of determining value, not inspectors. So let’s get that out of the way.
WHAT IS A HOME INSPECTOR?
In Arizona, anyone who wants to become an inspector needs to take 80 hours of classes, pass a background check, follow a qualified inspector around on at least 30 inspections, and pass a national exam.
Believe it or not, there are states where someone could just decide they want to inspect a home, establish an LLC, and go at it. Honestly, just out of nowhere, Bam! I’m an inspector. That must be nice…..and also a little bit scary as a consumer.
However, don’t let the fact that Arizona “certifies” their inspectors make you too comfortable, because once you’re certified all you have to do every year to stay certified is stay out of trouble and send in a check for about $75. There are ZERO continuing education requirements…….ZERO.
WHAT IS A HOME INSPECTION?
Ok, Let me go into lawyer mode here. A home inspection is a non-destructive, non-invasive inspection where components of the home are inspected visually and by using Normal Operating Controls.
One thing I say is an inspection is a snapshot of the home ON THAT DAY.
What the Normal Operating Controls part means is that inspectors use the items in the house just like you would, such as the thermostat, a garage door opener, a light switch, you get the idea. If it doesn’t respond, we can’t do anything to bypass those normal controls. The finding is included in the report along with a recommendation..
As you can imagine, inspectors can’t break through drywall or stucco, or disassemble things or really even move furniture and belongings around to figure something out.
That’s one reason why it’s important as a seller to make sure items in the home are accessible before the inspection, like the attic access and electrical panel.
The inspection process is defined by a document called the Standards of Professional Practice for Arizona Home Inspectors, and the main components that it includes are:
- Grounds & Exterior
- Heating and Cooling
- Insulation & Ventilation
- And Miscellaneous Interior items like windows, doors, fireplaces.
Yes, it’s a lot.
Believe it or not, Pools are not required to be inspected, but if the inspector chooses to inspect a pool, there is another Document that defines those standards as well.
One thing to keep in mind though, is that just like building code, the standards are the minimum amount of work inspectors are required to perform. And oh boy do some inspectors love to do what they have to do, and not anything more.
For example, inspectors are not required to walk on roofs or enter attics. They are only required to test a “representative” amount of outlets and windows. They are not required to test appliances, or report on evidence of pest intrusion like rats or mice.
To each their own, but I can assure you that we always walk a roof and enter an attic unless they are completely inaccessible or a dangerous condition exists like active rainfall on a steep tile roof. I don’t see how an inspector can feel good about themselves if they use the standards at the ending point instead of the starting point.
And I’m off the soap box.
WHAT A HOME INSPECTION IS NOT
First and foremost, an inspection is not a warranty. That is something you can buy separately, and your report can work hand in hand with if you have the right inspector.
Inspections identify defects and areas in need of repair or an evaluation, but do not necessarily have to find out why something isn’t working. Inspections do not determine the materials, methods, or costs of any corrections.
They are not inspecting for code, city compliance, marketability, value, and they definitely do not decide whether or not you should purchase the home.
It also doesn’t include things like irrigation systems, fire suppression, low voltage wiring, alarm systems, data connections.
Oh, and inspectors can’t see through walls and we can’t predict the future.
WHAT ADDITIONAL SERVICES MAY BE OFFERED?
Although completely optional, Inspectors can offer additional services. Some of those include Pools & Spas, Termite Inspections, Sewer Scopes, Mold Inspections, Thermal Imaging, and Radon.
And to get completely outside of the residential resale world, inspectors can offer Commercial inspections and pre-drywall or framing inspections.
What every company offers is obviously up to them and it will differ from company to company. For example, a lot of inspectors will outsource their termite or sewer scope inspections.
WHAT IS THE INTENT OF AN INSPECTION?
We talked about the purpose of the inspection, but we should also mention the intent of the inspection. What I mean by that is although the report can create a window of negotiation between a buyer and seller, it is not intended to be a punch list of items that you simply hand to the seller to have repaired.
I mean, you do what you want, but I haven’t found a perfect home yet, and in some cases, asking for too many things or too many little things can hurt you more than it can help.
As a buyer, you are required to perform your own due diligence, and if you start asking a seller to have certain things evaluated further and looked into, you could actually lose the ability to have that repaired. But talk to your real estate agent about that, they will be the experts there.
Inspectors just aim to equip you with as much knowledge as possible about the home so you can make a business decision about whether or not it’s the right home for you.
WHAT IS AN INSPECTION REPORT?
Finally to wrap this up, we talked about the Service being performed, which is the inspection itself, but there is also a product involved, and that is the Report. Reports come in all shapes and sizes. There is good report writing software, and there is bad software.
They can be a live online report or a PDF. They can even be a paper checklist report. I will bite my tongue on my thoughts on paper checklist reports, or else this could easily become an R-rated video.
Some reports can even have videos embedded in them to really drive a point home or simply to show how things work. They can really go beyond being someone used to simply identity defects. They can really expand into being an educational tool that teaches you everything you need to know about your home. The report should make you a smart homeowner.
For example, wouldn’t it be nice if your report told you not only where your air filters are, but what size filters you need to buy? How about showing you videos of the attic? Videos of each room? We even add videos of certain things working like your garage door, appliances, your pool’s water feature, the list goes on.
That is done so that in the event of a warranty claim, you can refer to the report to prove that it was not a pre-existing condition.
So when you are researching inspectors, one thing that would be very helpful to look at is a sample report.
Although I can go on all day about this topic, we will call it a day for now.
If you have any other questions about this, you can leave a comment and even give us a call to chat.
We LOVE talking inspections.
Thank you again for taking some of your precious time to watch this, and we will see you on the next one.