What is a home inspection?
A home inspection is a full visual inspection of the structure and systems of a home – from the roof to the foundation. An inspector comes to the home, visits inside and out, including attics and basements, crawl spaces, garages and more. He will look at the home for any foundational issues as well as internal systems. This includes heating and air systems, insulation and electrical.
Theoretically, the home inspector is a neutral party – however, since the purchaser of the home typically pays for the home inspector, people often assume that there is bias. A good home inspector will be completely objective, wanting the buyer to have a safe home, pointing out any deficiencies that could poise problems for either party. Experienced and trained home inspectors know what is important to families who will live in the home. They know the difference between a cosmetic defect and a much more serious one.
Why is a home inspection this important?
An accurate home inspection may be required if you are taking out a loan. The bank may require that you have a home inspection before they loan the money. Many of these decisions are simply left to the buyer to assure that the home is in a good, livable, safe condition. Either way, a home inspection is an important safety step that can save you thousands down the road.
Are all home inspectors alike?
Just like no two real estate agents are alike, the same goes for home inspectors. With so many inspectors in the field, how do you determine which one to choose?
You really want to select a home inspector who has training, experience and certifications in a variety of areas such as plumbing, electrical, HVAC and more. Because Georgia does not currently require that inspectors are licensed, you want to locate an inspector who has knowledge in all areas of the home. You want an inspector who has been inspecting for a number of years and who does this full time. He or she may work for a company or be self employed. Either is fine as long as they have credentials and experience.
How can you verify their experience?
Ask for their years of experience. Ask where they worked to gain that experience and do not be afraid to call around. Ask if they belong to any professional trade organizations such as ASHI, GAHI, NACHI, AAHI or NAHI. This will show that they are invested in continuing their training and committed to changes in the industry. If they work for a company or a government, or have in the past, ask if they are a member of the Building Officials Association of Georgia (BOAG). BOAG is the certification program in Georgia for those in the building code industry. They are the specialists in the trade. While it may be more difficult to obtain someone with the BOAG credentials, they will have training in electrical, plumbing, foundations, HVAC and more and they typically will not cost you any more to hire!
What should you expect after they inspect your home?
Home inspectors charge by their time – it depends on the size of the home typically. A thorough inspector will take anywhere from 2 to several hours on the home from roof to foundation. He will then provide you or your agent with the findings that most affect your purchase. Within a day or so, you will also receive a detailed written report with photos of your inspection. This provides you with everything he found. It will include any potential issues as well as immediate concerns. It will also contain his contact information for questions later. This allows you and your agent to feel good about going forward with your purchase!
This is an important step in home buying. What the home inspector says about your future home really does matter!