Buying Your Home - Home Inspections & Warranties
What's a home inspection?
A home inspection is when a paid
professional inspector -- often a contractor or an engineer -- inspects the
home, searching for defects or other problems that might plague the owner later
on. They usually represent the buyer and are paid by the buyer. The inspection
usually takes place after a purchase contract between buyer and seller has been
Do I need a home inspection?
Yes. Buying a home "as is" is a risky
proposition. Major repairs on homes can amount to thousands of dollars.
Plumbing, electrical and roof problems represent significant and complex systems
that are expensive to fix.
How do I find a home inspector?
real estate agent is one source, you can ask for referrals
from friends, or look them up in the yellow pages. Ask for their credentials, such as contractor's license or
engineering certificate. Also, check out their references.
In order to find a home inspector, Dian Hymer,
author of "Buying and Selling a Home A Complete Guide," Chronicle Books, San
Francisco; 1994, advises looking for someone with demonstrable qualifications.
"Ideally, the general inspector you select should be either an engineer, an
architect, or a contractor. When possible, hire an inspector who belongs to one
of the home inspection trade organizations."
The American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) has developed formal
inspection guidelines and a professional code of ethics for its members.
Membership to ASHI is not automatic; proven field experience and technical
knowledge of structures and their various systems and appliances are a
prerequisite. One can usually find an inspector by looking in the phone book or
by inquiring at a real estate office or sometimes at an area Realtor
association. Rates for the service vary greatly. Many inspectors charge about
$350, but costs go up with the size of the home and the scope of the inspection.