Home inspection

Home inspection

A home inspection is a non-invasive examination of the condition of a home, often in connection with the sale of that home. This is carried out by a home inspector, who usually has special equipment and training to carry out such inspections. A home inspection report is then issued by the home inspector. Many home inspectors use home inspection software.

An inspector will check the roof, basement, heating system, water heater, air-conditioning system, structure, plumbing, electrical, and many other aspects of buildings looking for improper building practices, those items that require extensive repairs, items that are general maintenance issues, as well as some fire and safety issues. Home owners or home buyers often use a home inspection service before selling or buying their houses. A home inspector conducts a thorough examination of a home to detect any potential systems or components requiring attention. A home owner receives a detailed report of the condition of his/her home so that he/she can plan for needed repairs and upgrades when it is time to make them.

A home inspector is sometimes confused with a real estate appraiser. A home inspector determines the condition of a structure, whereas an appraiser determines the value of a property.

A home cannot "fail" an inspection, as there is no score or passing grade given. A professional home inspection is an examination of the current condition of a house. It is not an appraisal. It is not a municipal inspection, which verifies local building code code compliance. A home inspector, therefore, will not pass or fail a house, but rather describe its physical condition and indicate what components and systems may need a major or minor repair or replacement.

North America

In the United States and Canada, a contract to purchase a house will often include a contingency that the contract is not valid until a home inspector has inspected the property (and the contract will usually provide for how problems found in inspection are to be remedied). In many states and provinces, home inspectors are required to be licensed, but in many states the profession is not regulated at all. Typical requirements for obtaining a license are to complete an approved training course and/or to pass an examination selected by the state's licensing board. Several states and provinces also require inspectors to periodically obtain continuing education credits in order to renew their licenses.

Anyone entering the home inspection field should be trained in the unique discipline of home inspection. Assuming that the home inspector has been properly trained and has sufficient experience, they should be able to provide a satisfactory detailed inspection of a property within the scope of their education and any home inspector licensing requirements. Where licensing or certification is not a requirement, anyone can claim to be a home inspector, and there are no laws to prevent them from doing so. In many states and provinces, the practical standards for home inspectors are those enacted by professional associations such as the National Association of Home Inspectors (NAHI), the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) each with chapters throughout the United States, and the Canadian Association of Home and Property Inspectors (CAHPI) with chapters throughout Canada. Other associations exist in the U.S including the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI) and the National Association of Building Inspectors (NABI). Associations for specialists also exist, such as the National Association of Home Inspection Engineers (NABIE) with members required to hold engineering degrees.

Currently, more than thirty U.S. states regulate the home inspection industry in some form.

United Kingdom

A home inspector in the United Kingdom (or more precisely in England and Wales), is an inspector certified to carry out the Home Condition Reports that, it is expected, will become part of the new Home Information Pack.

On July 18, 2006, the Government announced the postponement of compulsory Home Condition Reports, which had been due to become part of the Home Information Packs on 1 June 2007, leaving the future for the inspectors somewhat uncertain [http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/mortgages/article.html?in_article_id=410849&in_page_id=8] . It is expected, however, that they will be required to carry out the Energy Performance Certificatation, which remains a mandatory part of the packs.

Home inspectors are required to complete the ABBE Diploma in Home Inspection to show they meet the standards set out for NVQ/VRQ competence based assessment (Level 4). At the time of writing (July 2006?) nearly 3,000 candidates who have registered with training and assessment centres. The government have suggested that between 7,500 and 8,000 qualified and licensed home inspectors will be needed to meet the annual demand of nearly 2,000,000 home information packs.

The intention is that inspectors will carry insurance to protect consumers that rely on their inspections. There is no official scheme to protect consumers from uninsured inspectors should there be a problem with a report which a buyer has relied upon. This aspect is under review by Yvette Cooper on behalf of the Government.

Pre-delivery inspection

The pre-delivery inspection, which generally applies to newly-built homes, is a real estate term that means the buyer has the option (or requirement, depending upon how the real estate contract is written) to inspect the property prior to closing or settlement. These inspections generally takes place up to a week before a closing, and they generally allow buyers the first opportunity to inspect their new home. Additionally, the inspection is to ensure that all terms of the contract have been met, that the home is substantially completed, and that major items are in working order.

Along with a representative of the builder (generally the construction supervisor or foreman), the buyers may be accompanied by a home inspector of their choice. Any noted defects are added to a punch list for completion prior to closing. Often a second inspection is conducted to ensure that the defects have been corrected.

Many local governments within the United States and Canada require that new-home builders provide a home warranty for a limited period, and this typically results in home builders conducting a pre-delivery inspection with the buyer.

In a resale situation, this type of inspection is often termed the "final walk-through", and, based on the contract's provisions, it allows the buyer the opportunity to inspect the home prior to closing to ensure that agreed-upon repairs or improvements have been completed.


ee also

* List of real estate topics
* Real estate appraisal

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