An examination of your new home can minimize the risk of this major investment.
In many parts of the country a pre-purchase home evaluation of a home’s condition has become routine, providing buyers with the vital information they need to make a sound purchasing decision. However not all home buyers know what to expect from a home inspector.
Home Inspectors are generally expected to follow the professional Standards of Practice of the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI). This document specifies all the components of a home that are to be included in an inspection, from the roof to the foundation. The ASHI Standards are considered by government and professional real estate groups to be the benchmark of performance for all home inspectors.
Professional real estate experts advise most consumers to look for a member of the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI). ASHI is the only national organization that rigorously tests home inspectors on their technical knowledge and diagnostic expertise in residential construction. ASHI membership requires experience prior to admission, as well as continuing education annually after admission in order to keep current with new technology and building practices.
Many home inspector organizations require only an application fee. Some claim to offer certification, but don’t require exams or proven credentials. Still others boast of engineering licenses as assurance of qualification, though licenses do not indicate competence in home inspection.
Literally dozens of groups and organizations have been formed to capitalize on the marketing opportunities of this profession making the selection of a qualified professional extremely difficult.
It’s also advisable to get a pre-purchase pest inspection before having an inspector inspect. This way they will be able to clearly identify any other pest hazards that may impact the value of the home you’re buying.
Consumers should ascertain before the inspection that the inspector will not offer to do any repairs on the inspected property, and that the inspectors firm has no financial interest in the transaction or in the real estate agent’s commission. Any indication of such conflict should send up a red flag and checked. Be sure the home inspector is ethical and professional.
Consumers should expect the home inspector to describe the actual condition of the home at the time of the inspection based on visual observation, and to provide an indication of major repairs. Home inspectors are generalists. They know how the home’s many systems and components work, both independently and together, and why they fail.
Do not expect any destructive testing. Home inspectors can not see through walls. Consumers should not expect a report on every nail, wire, or pipe.
Home inspectors are primarily concerned with pointing out large expenses and safety related concerns rather than small cosmetic items. The report is not a guarantee that the home’s component will never fail or need some future repair.
The national average for a hoe inspection is between $250 and $450 and will take 2 to 3 hours to complete. Home inspectors should welcome the client to tag along. The inspection is for them not for the inspector. A written report should be provided.
Radon is a cancer-causing radioactive gas found to be present in high quantities in the Greater Rochester area. It is colorless, odorless, and tasteless and the only way to determine if it’s present is to test for it. The U.S. EPA, Surgeon General, American Lung Association, National Cancer Institute and the Consumer Federation of America recommend that all homes buyers test for radon. Radon is second to smoking in lung cancer deaths and causes thousands of deaths per year. Millions of homes have elevated radon levels.
However, radon should be placed in proper perspective. There is no reason to let it interfere with buying a house. High radon levels can easily be fixed, just like many other home repairs, and since most systems prevent damp soil air from entering the house, indoor air quality may improve as well. No more musty odors!
Few sellers have any previous experience with radon and their first reaction may be to blame someone for what they perceive to be a big fuss over nothing. “I’ve lived in this house for years and I am not dead. This is just some rip-off the federal government made up to make my life miserable.”
No one wants to have lung cancer, or worse, die from lung cancer. When elevated radon levels are confirmed, the problem should be corrected.