Posted on July 11, 2017
Is It Necessary To Hire A Home Inspector Prior To Buying Or Selling A Home In California?
Home inspections should only be conducted by a qualified home inspector. There are many reputable home inspection services available throughout California. Professional Home Inspectors in Roseville, CA will carry credentials to prove that they have undergone special training for this task and to bring out their reliability for discovering any damaged, or in need of repair, areas inside or surrounding the house.
If you are looking into buying a home in California, or if you are considering putting up your property for sale, one of the most important things you need to do is to get a home inspection on the property. A home inspection is a non-invasive check into the condition of a property to highlight any areas which need repairing or which are badly damaged.
Inspectors will check every area of the home such as the roof, the basement, air conditioners, plumbing, electrical connections and any other area or fixture of the house which may be prone to breaking or failing. They will also examine the home from the point of view of improper building practices such as poor contracting services in the past, which could create problems after a purchase and show that the home may not be of good value for the asking price. Other important areas include looking into how well it is being maintained, regarding the age of the home, the life expectancy of fixtures, and finding out structural areas of the home which need extensive repairs.
After completing the inspection, the home inspector will issue an inspection report which details out all their findings. As a buyer, a home inspection report will tell you about the entire condition of the property that you wish to purchase. If you feel that some conditions need only nominal repairs, you can negotiate their repair fees with the seller.
On the other hand, if the conditions are pretty bad, the inspection could actually save you from buying a property which will require considerable expenditures for repairs after your purchase. As a seller, getting a home inspection done before you put your property for sale let's you know on what needs to be done to improve property condition. You will have a better chance of getting the price you want on the sale of the home, rather than have buyers point out errors and then haggle for a reduced price, or insist that the repairs be completed at your expense.
Which Type of Home Inspector is Required for Buying Real Estate?
Home inspections are the key action a buyer can and should take when buying a new home. Failing to spend $3-400 to get a professional home inspection is like buying a used car without going for a drive and getting it checked out by your mechanic. You would never do that. The small cost of a home inspection to find out what you are really buying is the best money you will spend prior to the close of escrow. (If this is your first home, please read 10 Worst First-Time Homebuyer Mistakes.)
As a professional home inspector I have uncovered some horrors like sinking foundation, major water leaks, major mould conditions, failing roofs and leaning walls. To rely on the sellers disclosure is not very smart. Most sellers are very honest and will disclose all they know about the house but few of them are in the construction trade or have any knowledge at all about how things should be or not be. They may not even be aware of a major problem in the house as "it has always been that way" and it has never concerned them.
Imagine taking possession of the house and finding out the floor is sagging in one room due to a failing foundation or incorrect construction of the building. Would it not be worth paying $400 to save you that heartache? I think so.
Other advantages of the inspection are that it provides you with a bargaining tool in the negotiations on the price. You can ask the seller to fix certain things or give you a credit so you can take care of it yourself. Maybe the seller wont play ball but at least you know where you stand on the condition of the property.
Home inspectors vary in their knowledge and skill. This is one profession where you will definitely get what you pay for. Shopping around and taking the cheapest price is false economy. It is like asking your curbside mechanic brother to check out the new car you are going to buy. He may do a good job but he will not do as well as a trained professional mechanic. He will miss things, not out of anything malicious intent, just lack of knowledge. Same with a home inspector.
A good home inspection will take a couple of hours at least depending on the size of the house and its condition. After this inspection the inspector should take you for a walk through the house and show you all the things he found and answer all your questions. This is very important. The buyer is the one paying the inspector and as such the inspector needs to service the buyer and give them all the information they can. Showing the buyer the problems is way better than just having them read the report. When they see the problem in the physical universe they get to understand and ask questions. This should be the inspectors goal.
A good home inspector will have a computerized report with many photos of the problem areas and the positive ones as well. My reports typically run 25 - 30 pages long with a cover sheet and I email them out the same day. My reports also color code the problems. Red is Safety concerns, Green is Recommended upgrades, Purple is Further evaluation, Blue is Corrections recommended. All these different colors making it easy to scan the report for items of interest.
A good inspector will even tell the buyer about routine maintaince issues on the walk through. There is a lot the inspector can teach a home owner about the biggest purchase of their life so it is money very well spent.
No inspector is infallible and there are times some small thing will get missed. The inspection is a visual one only. It is looking for clues as to what is wrong, not the full cause of it. For example an uneven floor may be noted but the inspector may not be able to get under the house to find out what is wrong. He will recommend further evaluation by a profession in the appropriate trade.
This situation is also most likely to occur in a house that is still lived in when the cupboards are still full, floors are covered with furniture and the garage packed etc. Inspectors will not move the seller's property due to the liability issue. In the case of something getting missed or coming evident once the seller has moved out a professional inspector will come back free (or for a small charge if it is an area that was obscured) and re-inspect the omission. This will be a very rare situation but it does happen.
Another example may be a roof that leaks when it rains but was not obvious during the inspection. This can be problematic in low rainfall areas like southern California.
I recently came across one where the under counter cabinets in a kitchen were packed full and it was not possible to full inspect the area. Once it was emptied out there was a major mould situation from an old water leak. Where something like this is suspected ask the inspector if he will come back and re-inspect prior to the close of escrow. You may get charge an additional $75 or similar but it may well be worth it. I have seen homeowners deliberately hide defects too but this is rare.
A complete inspection should go from the dirt to the roof including under the house and the attic and include the following areas. Roofs are not always walked on due to hight or the type of roof covering. Clay tiles will break if walked on. In such a case the inspector will check from a window if possible or even binoculars if that will work.
Exterior · Exterior walls & fences · Foundation and basements · Grading and landscaping · Garage or carport - · Roof
Interior · Plumbing · Electrical · Heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) - · Water heater · Kitchen appliances (fixed ones only) · Laundry room - · Fire safety - · Bathrooms -
Home inspectors are generalists. They will note that the plumbing might have a problem, and will recommend that you hire a professional plumber to verify the problem. Termite damage, site contamination, mold, engineering problems and other specialized issues are not part of a home inspection (Learn how to find qualified experts in The Better Business Bureau's Tool Belt For Saving Cash.)
After the Inspection there are several options for you to pursue. a. You can walk away if the problem is more than you want to handle. b. You can ask the seller to fix the problems or give you a credit to do it yourself. c. If you have the knowledge and experience you can just take it as is and either fix it yourself or get it done professionally.
You can go to this site and read Do-It-Yourself Projects To Boost Home Value.)
You will have to come up with a few hundred dollars for the inspection but it will be well worth it and you will be glad to spend it if the inspector finds something that will kill the deal or cost more than you bargained for. Your home inspector is your friend. Treat him as such.
What Does A Home Inspector Look For?
Choosing the right home inspector can be a daunting task, especially if you have never hired one before. When you are finished with this article you should know what questions to ask when interviewing prospective inspectors.
Since all licensed inspectors are required to adhere to the same standards, many people believe all home inspectors are equal. Nothing could be further from the truth. If two inspectors were to inspect the same house, the inspection reports and findings could be quite different. Simply stated, some inspectors try harder, are more experienced, and are more thorough than others. For example, some inspectors examine the roof by walking on it, climb up into the attic and into crawl spaces under the house while others don't. Which is why you should attend your inspection, to make sure the inspector is doing their job. Here are some other factors you should consider when choosing the right home inspector:
Home Inspectors Licensing- Verify the inspector is properly licensed. Most states require home inspectors to be licensed, check with your state's real estate board to find out.
Home Inspector Experience- It may surprise you to learn that anyone can become a licensed home inspector, and in very little time. While experience in the construction industry is very helpful, it is not required. This may change in the future, but as of now, a person just has to attend the required hours at an approved home inspection school and pass the state home inspection test and they are considered a professional home inspector, although they have never inspected a single home in their life. The inspector you hire may be performing their first inspection ever.
Professional Affiliations- Most home inspectors join a professional organization to take advantage of the benefits and sharpen their skills since these organizations also require continuing education hours for membership. Inspectors can also learn from each other at meetings and conventions. Texas Law requires home inspectors to complete 16 hours of approved continued education per year. The most prominent of these associations are ASHI, NAHI, NACHI and TAREI.
Insurance- Texas recently adopted a new law requiring home inspectors to carry a minimum of $100,000 of professional liability insurance. This is required at license renewal, so at this time, some Texas home inspectors may not carry it yet.
Ask to see a sample of the inspector's report - This should give you an idea of how thorough the inspections are and if the inspector includes pictures of defects. Most inspectors use computer generated reports and some post them on their website for you to review, or he or she can email you a copy.
Should I Choose an Inspector Referred by a Realtor? - That really depends on how much trust you place in your agent. Some agents want you to use an inspector who does a quick inspection and writes basically nothing in the reports so the transaction goes through fast and easy. More professional agents want you to have the best inspection possible, after all it's their reputation on the line when they make referrals. If you are unsure if you should let the agent choose the home inspector for you or not, then seek out your own.
Don't Choose the Cheapest Inspector - Please believe me when I make that statement. I get calls from potential clients daily. Many times price is the first question they ask about. I don't think it's because people are cheap, I think it's because they don't know what else to ask. While I understand that no one wants to pay more than they have to, you do get what you pay for. The cheapest inspectors are usually new, inexperienced, or ones performing inspections as a sideline. I know of one customer who was determined to hire the cheapest inspector she could find. After the sale she discovered her insurance company would not insure her roof because the shingles were installed over old wooden shingles, which were clearly visible from the attic. She wound up paying for a whole new roof (about $6,000), all because she tried to save a mere $25.00 in inspection fees. The average cost of a home inspection in the USA is $380.00 (USA Today... Friday, January 13,2006)
Here is a list of questions I've put together for you which you can use when interviewing potential home inspectors:
1. How long have you had your license and been inspecting homes? 2. Do you carry Errors and Omissions (E & O) insurance? 3. On average, how long does it take you to perform a typical home inspection? Through inspectors will take about three hours on a typical home. 4. How long does it take for me to get my inspection report back from you in electronic format? 5. Are you a member of a professional association? 6. Do you perform re-inspections on repaired items? If so, for how much? 7. Do you mind if I follow along while you inspect? Your inspector works for you and should allow you to learn as much about the house as possible. 8. What is your inspection fee? If the inspection fee seems too low, you may not get a thorough inspection. 9. Do you have any references I can speak to?