Frequently Asked Questions
Why do I need a home inspection?
Buying a home could be the largest single investment you will ever make. To minimize unpleasant surprises and financial difficulties, you’ll want to learn as much as you can about the newly constructed or existing house before you buy it. A home inspection may identify the need for major repairs or builder oversights, as well as the need for maintenance to keep it in good shape. After the inspection, you will know more about the house, which will allow you to make decisions with confidence.
If you are planning to sell your home, a home inspection gives you the opportunity to make repairs that will put the house in better selling condition. If you are unable to make repairs, it is best to disclose the items needing repair upfront, so that buyers are aware of them before they make an offer. This helps to reduce canceled sales due to surprises uncovered during the buyers home inspection.
Why can't I do it myself?
In Kentucky, home inspections are required to be performed by a licensed home inspector. Most sellers will not allow an unlicensed and uninsured buyer, the buyer's Uncle Joe or a family friend unrestricted access to poke around their home for the 3-4 hours needed for the average home inspection.
Above all, most buyers find it difficult to remain completely objective and unemotional about the house they really want, and this may have an effect on their judgment. Even the most experienced homeowner lacks the knowledge and expertise to properly inspect a home. An inspector is familiar with the elements of home construction, proper installation, maintenance and home safety. He or she knows how the home’s systems and components are intended to function together, as well as why they fail. For accurate information, it is best to obtain an impartial, third-party opinion by a professional in the field of home inspection.
When do I call a home inspector?
You should contact a home inspector immediately after the contract or purchase agreement has been signed. Before you sign, be sure there is an inspection clause in the sales contract, making your final purchase obligation contingent on the findings of a professional home inspection. This clause should specify the terms and conditions to which both the buyer and seller are obligated. The inspection contingency is usually a very short period, so you will want to schedule your inspection right away. (During busy home buying times, home inspectors are often booked out several days.)
Do I have to be there?
No. A full, written report with photos of any deficiencies will be emailed to you after the inspection but it is no substitute for interaction with the inspector. Although it is advised to attend your inspection, most of our clients prefer to attend the last 30 minutes of the inspection. You can learn more about the maintenance and preservation of the house, ask questions, and get a real sense of which problems are serious and which are relatively minor.
Can I invite my friends and family?
We don't advise it. A home inspection is not an appropriate time to invite friends and family to view a potential home. (Aunt Sue measuring the windows for curtains prevents the inspector from testing the windows. Your brother means well, but he just peeled pack the laminate flooring to see if there is hardwood underneath... and destroyed the floor. Uncle Joe keeps asking the inspector to leave the area he's inspecting and "come look at this"!) All focus should be on allowing the inspector to follow his procedures for inspecting the largest investment you may ever make. An inspection is also not safe for children, as exposed electrical components, ladders, open hatches, large amounts of water, the sellers personal property and several unsafe conditions will be present. If you'd like to show the home to others, we recommend that you ask your realtor to schedule a showing.
Can a house fail a home inspection?
No. A professional home inspection is an examination of the current condition of a house. It is not an appraisal, which determines market value. It is not a municipal inspection, which verifies local code compliance. A home inspector, therefore, will not pass or fail a house, but rather describe its physical condition and indicate which components and systems may need maintenance, repair or replacement.
What if the report reveals problems?
If the inspection brings problems to light -- such as a failing plumbing system or major termite damage -- you can often negotiate to have the seller pay for necessary repairs or to lower the purchase price. If the house is sold "as is" and you are not prepared to take on the financial costs of the repairs, you can back out of the deal, assuming your contract is written to allow you to do so.
If the house proves to be in good condition, did I really need an inspection?
Definitely. Now you can complete your home purchase with confidence. You’ll have learned many things about your new home from the inspector’s written report, and will have that information for future reference.
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