As a potential home buyer, you likely have questions about the home inspection process. For example, is an inspection necessary? What does an inspection involve?
If you’re about to purchase a home or commercial property in Orange County or the surrounding areas of southern California, you likely have questions. Signature Home Inspection is here to help.
Below are several of the most common questions our clients have about home inspections, commercial building inspections, and other specialty inspections. Also, please don’t hesitate to contact us at (888) 860-2688 to ask other specific questions.
What is a home inspection?
A standard or essential visual home inspection will cover the condition of the home’s structure, exterior, roof, plumbing, electrical, heating systems, air-conditioning systems, interior, insulation and ventilation, and fireplaces. If you are thinking of buying a home, condominium, mobile home, or commercial building, you should have it thoroughly inspected by an experienced and impartial professional before the final purchase. When you choose Signature Home Inspection to do the evaluation, you can rest assured that our inspectors are the best in the industry.
How much will an inspection cost?
Inspection costs vary from company to company. At Signature Home Inspection, we recommend paying a little more for an experienced, certified home inspector instead of hiring the cheapest one. When it comes to home inspections, you definitely get what you pay for.
In fact, paying a slightly higher inspection fee may save you thousands of dollars in the future. Certified inspectors are trained to find problems that non-certified inspectors won’t see. Since your home is one of the largest investments you’ll ever make, ensure you’ll receive a quality inspection by choosing Signature Home Inspection.
Why do I need a home inspection?
Buying a home can be one of the largest single investments you will ever make. To minimize unpleasant surprises and un-expected difficulties, you’ll want to learn as much as you can about a prospective property. A home inspection may identify the need for major repairs, builder oversights, as well as the need for maintenance items and systems which may be reaching the end of their life.
What parts of the house will a home inspector assess?
Signature Home Inspection offers the most comprehensive home inspections in Los Angeles, Orange County, Riverside County, and most of southern California. Depending on the package you choose, our inspections can include evaluating the drainage system, crawl space and ventilation, insulation, framing, plumbing, ABS pipe, complete exterior, complete interior, air conditioning, swimming pool and spa, electrical system, foundation, masonry, appliances, windows, doors, roofing, heat pumps, furnace, siding, and more.
When should I schedule an inspection?
The best time to schedule an inspection is directly after you have made an offer on a property. The real estate contract usually allows for a grace period to inspect the building. Ask your real estate agent to include this inspection clause in the contract, making your purchase obligation contingent upon the findings of a professional inspection.
What should I look for in an inspector?
Unfortunately, home inspectors are not legally required to be licensed or certified in California. This means that some are not as qualified or experienced as others.
All of our inspectors are licensed, certified, and insured. Several are Certified Master Inspectors® and all have been certified by the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI). Our extensive certifications and credentials mean that our home inspectors are the best in the industry.
How is the industry regulated?
In California, all inspections should be performed to the standards adopted by InterNACHI. To become a member, an inspector must pass a written examination to prove their competency. InterNACHI and other professional training and certifying agencies train and certify their members through rigorous classroom and field testing. Moreover, InterNACHI inspectors must participate in continuing education courses to maintain their certifications and memberships. InterNACHI-Certified Professional Inspectors® adhere to a strict code of ethics and standards of practice.
How long will a typical inspection last?
A typical inspection will take from two to three hours, depending on the size and features of the home.
Do I need to hire an inspector or will my real estate agent?
Your real estate agent may recommend a few inspectors, but the client normally chooses and hires an inspection company. When you call us, we work directly for you.
Should I be present for the property inspection?
Many of our clients are out of state and unable to attend. While your presence isn’t mandatory, we definitely encourage it. We allow all of our clients to walk through the home during the inspection with our inspectors. This gives you the chance at the end of the inspection to ask questions and see any problems or needed repairs firsthand. Our home inspectors can also teach you about the home’s systems, which will give you an even better understanding of how the home functions.
What kind of report will I receive?
Some home inspectors handwrite notes on a sheet of paper. These “reports” are often unorganized, unprofessional, and hard to read. At Signature Home Inspection, we create a typed report that’s customized to your home. These reports include several high-quality photos, detailed notes, and a summary page. Better yet, you’ll receive your report the same day of the inspection. View one of our sample home inspection reports by clicking HERE.
With a decision as important as your future home in the balance, why take the risk of an un-certified, unlicensed, and inexperienced inspector? The professionals at Signature Home Inspection have been inspecting since 2002. Contact us today at (888) 860-2688 to schedule an inspection with one of our experienced professionals. You can also request an appointment online, read our reviews and see the rest of our resources such as the do-it-yourself videos.
When will I receive the inspection report?
We will email the report to you and your real estate agent on the same day. While many inspectors give you a few papers with handwritten notes, our professional reports include thorough details, a helpful summary page, and digital color photos.
In addition to your report, we also give any clients who attend the inspection a 75-page owner’s manual with approximately one hundred illustrations. This manual will help you understand and maintain your home.
What if the report reveals problems?
No house is perfect. If the report reveals problems, it does not necessarily mean that you shouldn’t purchase it, only that you will know a better understanding of the home’s true condition and what to expect in advance. Additionally, a seller may be will to re-negotiate terms of a current purchase agreement pending the scale of certain findings or costs associated with finding revealed from the inspection.
What if I have questions about the home after my inspection?
At Signature Home Inspection, we’re dedicated to being your home consultants for life. Whether you have a question a day or a year after your inspection, we’re here to help. You can also see our resources page, which provides helpful maintenance tips and do-it-yourself videos for homeowners.
Keep in mind that a home inspection is designed to better your odds and significantly reduce risk, but not completely eliminate it. A home inspection is not, and should not be considered an insurance policy. An insurance company would have to charge an outrageous fee to offer a policy with no deductible, no limit, and for an indefinite period. Plus, it would not have the added value of the home inspection.
Can a seller have their home inspected prior to listing the home for sale?
Yes. A sellers (pre-listing) inspection can identify concerns with a home prior to listing and allow a seller the opportunity to correct problems prior to listing. In this way, buyer’s are generally more confident in their purchase and additional stresses and contingency constraints can be lessened or eliminated entirely from a real estate transaction.
If the home proves to be in good condition, did I really need an inspection?
Definitely! Now you can complete your home purchase with full peace of mind and have a better understanding to a home’s major components and systems. You will also have had the opportunity to ask questions on a prospective property and gained maintenance information which will lessen or eliminate future problems.
Do I need an inspection on a brand new or newly constructed house?
Yes. While new homes will have less issues than old, a professional inspection can identify poor workmanship, improper installation methods and assist you in understanding the maintenance and systems of your new home.
What’s the value of getting a home inspection?
As a potential homebuyer, you want to know as much about a house as possible before you sign on the dotted line. Buying a house is likely one of the largest investments you’ll make. Our home inspectors will provide you with a thorough understanding of the condition of the home so you can make a confident decision that benefits you and your family. Knowing about any current problems or upcoming repair costs will help guide your decision.
If you’re trying to sell your home, it can also be helpful to get a home inspection before putting your home on the market. The inspection may reveal problems with your home that you can repair before they dissuade a potential buyer.
A house inspection can even benefit a homeowner who isn’t looking to buy or sell. Our thorough inspections can find minor problems, giving you the chance to fix them before they turn into major (and expensive) crises.
I’m a contractor with years of experience. Can I do my own house inspection?
No, we don’t recommend that anyone besides a qualified home inspector do an inspection. We’ve gone through extensive training on how to conduct an assessment well. During an inspection, we look at thousands of different items and save our clients an average of $7,500 per inspection.
We’ve done home inspections for contractors before, and they’ve agreed that our training enabled us to find things they would have overlooked. How many clients trusted you and paid a service fee for you to educate them on the condition of the most expensive investment of their lives?
A few minor problems have presented themselves since I moved into my new home a couple months ago. Why were these missed during my home inspection?
First and foremost, it’s important to remember that our priority is to identify major issues – the ones that may affect your decision to purchase the home. We are looking for the $2000 problems, and not necessarily the $200 problems. We may note some of these issues as a courtesy, but they are not our primary focus.
Some problems may also only be evident by living in a home. For example, a shower stall that leaks while in use may not leak when the tap is simply turned on and off. To that same effect, a roof or basement may only leak under certain weather conditions. And other issues might not be evident until carpets are lifted, furniture is moved, etc.
Beyond issues that are only evident under certain conditions, others may not present any clues to their existence at all. Our inspections are based on the past and current performance of a home, so it is unfair to assume we should be able to predict future problems that may arise.
My home inspection report showed that I need only a minor roof repair. Why would the roofing contractor tell me I need an entire roof replacement?
The advice you receive from a contractor will sometimes differ from ours. This is the main source of dissatisfaction with home inspections. It should come as no surprise that several roofers may say a whole roof needs replaced, when our professional opinion is that a couple minor repairs will allow it to last a few more years.
I decided to have some minor roof repairs done based on the suggestion of my home inspector. However, the contractors I have contacted seem reluctant to undertake these repairs. Why is that?
We refer to this as the “Last Man in Theory”. This simply means that a contractor might fear to be the last person to work on the roof because if it begins to leak, he could potentially get blamed for it, whether or not the leak is actually his fault. Understandably then, a contractor may decline a small roof repair with high liability, since it would be more profitable and lower-risk to re-roof an entire home.
It is common for people to trust the most recent “expert” advice they receive, even if it contradicts the first. As home inspectors, we often find ourselves in this position of “First Man In”, which can, unfortunately, lessen the effectiveness of our advice.
Do you ever miss problems when inspecting a home?
No one is perfect, and yes, an occasional problem may be missed during a home inspection. A contractor might come in and say, “I can’t believe you had this home inspected and they missed _________.” Oversights, though infrequent, can happen for a variety of reasons.
- Conditions during the inspection. Homeowners may not remember that it was snowing, or that the furnace could not be accessed or turned on due to the air conditioner being in use. There is no way for the contractor to know the exact circumstances surrounding the inspection.
- Hindsight is 20/20. While it’s easy to say the basement has a “moisture problem” when there is an inch of water on the floor, it’s rarely possible to predict such an issue will occur.
- Taking a longer, invasive look. Spending an hour under the sink or disassembling a furnace is a great way to unearth certain problems. However, if we did that, our home inspections would no longer be affordable and would last several days. And since our evaluations are visual, we don’t remove fixtures, carpets, or do other invasive tests that could reveal hidden problems.
- Generalists vs. Specialists. As home inspectors, it is our job to be generalists of the entire house. A roofing contractor, plumber, or flooring specialist may indeed have more in-depth knowledge of their areas of expertise.
Do properties ever fail an inspection?
No, properties never fail an inspection. The goal of our assessments is to inform you of the home’s condition and help you discern if you want the house. A home inspection is completely different than appraisals and municipal inspections.
What happens if I have an inspection and do not buy the property?
We’re proud to offer discounted second inspections. If you decide not to purchase a home we inspect, we’ll inspect another one at a discounted price.