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Home Inspection

Everything You Need To Know About Home Inspections

In this article you will find all the information regarding the Home Inspection Process:

  1. What is a home inspection?

    A home inspection is an objective visual examination of the physical structure and systems of a home, from the roof to the foundation, as of the day of inspection. Having a home inspected will better inform you of what you’re buying. If problems and/or concerns are found, the inspector may recommend further evaluation and/or repairs by a specialist in any given trade.

  2. What does an inspection include?

    The standard home inspector’s report will review the condition of the home’s heating system, central air conditioning system (temperature permitting), interior plumbing and electrical systems; the roof, attic, and visible insulation; walls, ceilings, floors, windows and doors; the foundation, basement/crawl space, basement seepage and visible/accessible structural elements.

  3. Why do I need a home inspection?

    The purchase of a home is probably the largest investment you will ever make. You should learn as much as you can about the condition of the home and the need for any major repairs before you buy, so that you can minimize unpleasant surprises and difficulties afterwards. Of course, a home inspection also points out the positive aspects of a home, as well as the maintenance issues that will be necessary to keep it in good condition. Upon completion of the inspection, you, as the buyer, will be better informed of your perspective purchase.

    If you are already a home owner, a home inspection can identify potential problems and/or concerns which could aid in your decision process. If you are planning to sell your home, you may wish to have an inspection prior to placing your home on the market. This may uncover problems which may be discovered by the buyer’s inspector, and an opportunity to make repairs that will enhance the selling condition of the home.

  4. What will it cost?

    Currently, the inspection fee for a “typical” one-family house with a garage and four bedrooms or less will cost $395 to $700, including termite certification. Radon is an additional $75 to $100 However, do not let cost be a factor in deciding whether or not to have a home inspection, or in the selection of your home inspector.

  5. Can’t I do it myself?

    Even the most experienced home owner lacks the knowledge and expertise of a professional home inspector who has inspected thousands of homes in his/her career. He/she understands how the systems and components function together, as well as how and why they fail. Above all, most buyers find it very difficult to remain completely objective and unemotional about the house they really want, and this may affect their judgment. For the most accurate information, it is best to obtain an impartial third-party opinion by an experienced home inspector.

  6. Can a house fail an inspection?

    No. A professional home inspection is an examination of the current condition, as of the day of inspection, of your prospective home. It is not an appraisal, which determines market value, nor a municipal inspection, which verifies local code compliance. A home inspector, therefore, will not pass or fail a house, but rather describe/report its physical condition and indicate the necessity of repair or replacement. Remember, a home inspection does not guarantee/warranty against any future problems that may occur after the home inspection. Conditions of your purchase may change as soon as the day after the home inspection, especially if the home is occupied.

  7. How do I find a home inspector?

    The best source is someone you know or heard of. Attorneys and Real estate agents are typically familiar with inspectors and can provide you with a list of names from which to choose from. Whatever your referral source, you will want to make sure that the home inspector is a Member of the American Society of Home Inspectors® (ASHI®) and is licensed by the State of New Jersey in order to be certain of his/her professional qualifications, experience, and business ethics. A list of ASHI® Members in your area is available upon request from the Association’s headquarters or by clicking on the link provided below.

  8. What is the American Society of Home Inspectors®?

    The American Society of Home Inspectors® (ASHI®) is the oldest and leading non-profit professional association for independent home inspectors. Since its formation in 1976, ASHI®’s Standards of Practice have served as the home inspector’s performance guideline, universally recognized and accepted by professional and government authorities alike. Copies of the Standards are available free from ASHI®. ASHI®’s professional Code of Ethics prohibits Members from engaging in conflict of interest activities which might compromise their objectivity. This is the consumer’s assurance that the inspector will not, for example, use the inspection to solicit or refer repair work. In order to assist home inspectors in furthering their education, ASHI® sponsors a number of technical seminars and workshops throughout the year, often in cooperation with one of its nearly 50 Chapters. ASHI® also serves as a public interest group by providing accurate and helpful consumer information to home buyers on home purchasing and home maintenance.

  9. Who belongs to ASHI®?

    Members of ASHI® are independent professional home inspectors who have met the most rigorous technical and experience requirements in effect today. To become an ASHI® Member, an inspector must pass two written technical exams, have performed a minimum of 250 professional fee-paid home inspections, and maintained his or her candidate status for no less than six months. ASHI® Members are required to follow the Society’s Code of Ethics, and to obtain continuing education credits in order to keep current with the latest in building technology, materials, and professional skills.

  10. When do I call in the home inspector?

    A home inspector is typically contacted right after the contract or purchase agreement has been signed, and is often available within a few days. However, before you sign, be sure that there is an inspection clause in the contract, making 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.

  11. Do I have to be there for the inspection?

    No. However, it is highly recommended. You will be able to observe the inspector and ask questions directly, as you learn about the condition of the home, how the systems work, and proper maintenance. Also, you may find the written report easier to understand.

  12. Final walk through

    Your final walk through is your last chance to discover problems, defects, or concerns. Don’t take your final walk through lightly. Areas that were concealed, inaccessible will now be unobstructed and visible. If you should find any concerns, let your attorney know right of way. Call us if needed.

  13. If the house proves to be in good condition, did I really need an inspection?

    Absolutely. Now you can complete your home purchase with clear conscience as to the condition of the property and/or its equipment and systems.

  14. What if the report reveals problems?

    No house is perfect, not even brand new homes.If the inspector identifies problems/concerns, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t buy the house. It means that you should be cognizant of the concerns found, contemplate your options, and take appropriate action for remedy.

  15. Problems after I move in?

    Remember, having a home inspection does not mean you’ll never have problems. In fact, the average homeowner will spend 5% of the purchase price or more within the first three years of ownership. Owning a home means constant maintenance and observation of all components of the home. Don’t expect to move in, do nothing and not have any problems or mechanical failures.

  16. Testing for Radon Gas

    Radon gas is an invisible, odorless, and tasteless radioactive gas that occurs naturally as a decay product of uranium found in soil, rock, and water. It can seep into buildings through cracks in floors and walls, construction joints, or foundation gaps around pipes, wires, or pumps. Radon gas levels can vary greatly from one house to another and are known to be higher in some geographic regions.

    When buying a house, it is important to perform a radon test. The acceptable levels according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) guidelines are not to exceed 4 picocuries per liter, pCi/L. The importance of radon remediation stems from its potential health impacts. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Surgeon General recommend testing homes below the third floor for radon and taking remedial action if the radon level is 4 pCi/L (picocuries per liter) or higher.

    Once detected, remediating radon is usually the seller’s responsibility at his/her expense. The EPA recommends that remediation be performed by a certified radon mitigation contractor trained to cure radon problems. Depending on the size of the house, and the radon levels detected, the cost of installing a remediation system in Bergen County NJ ranges between $2000 to $2700.

    Given the health risks associated with long-term exposure to radon, it’s crucial for buyers to test for radon and take necessary remediation steps. Both buyers and sellers should be aware of the implications of radon in real estate transactions