What Does a Home Inspector Do?
To find out what a home inspector does, we first have to identify what a home inspection is. A home inspection is;
“A non-invasive, visual examination of the accessible areas of a residential property performed for a fee, which is designed to identify defects within specific systems and components based on the observations made on the date of the inspection, and is not a prediction of future conditions, as a home inspection will not reveal every issue that exists or that could ever exist, but only those material defects observed on the date of the inspection.”
If you didn’t quite catch all that, don’t worry, it is time to break down what a home inspection is without all the legalese. So, in general terms; A home inspector is paid to look for issues found in the home. If an area cannot be accessed, the area will not be inspected. Not all issues or future issues will be found. Issues found that pose an unreasonable risk to people will be reported.
Since a home inspector is paid to look for issues found in the home, how much should a home inspector be paid? The cost structure varies on the services performed and other factors. The additional services and other factors could include; thermal imaging, radon detection, water testing, the size of the house, the location of the house, and many other factors. At Two Moose Home Inspections, we include thermal imaging with every home inspection. Two Moose Home Inspections has found that the starting price of a home inspection in our area is around $350 for a basic home inspection.
The second part of our generalized overview stated; If an area cannot be accessed, the area will not be inspected. For clarification; if a bunch of Christmas decorations and sleds are stacked up in the basement, the inspector will not remove the items to view the covered area. Unfortunately, the Christmas decorations could be covering a large crack in the wall which may be severe enough to be considered a material defect since it will significantly and adversely impact the value of the property. It is very important that clutter and obstructions be removed prior to a home inspection since a home inspection is a visual inspection only and is not an exhaustive assessment of the home.
The third part of the generalized overview stated that not all issues will be found. The previous paragraph demonstrated that a home inspector might miss issues that could significantly lower the value of the house or cause an unreasonable risk to people. At this point, I’m getting fired up! What does a home inspector do?
A home inspector will inspect the roof, gutters, downspouts, flashing, eaves, soffits, fascia, wall covering, doors, windows, walkways, driveways, stairs, railings, decks, patios, heating, cooling, toilets, sinks, drainage, plumbing, venting, electrical outlets, lights, GFCIs, fireplaces, chimneys, attic spaces, crawl spaces, garage doors, etc.
This list above is just the tip of the iceberg. At Two Moose Home Inspections our standard operating procedure requires our inspectors to inspect no less than 135 components of a house and that number increases if the house has more than one window, door, electrical outlet, etc. Home inspections usually run from 2.5 – 4 hours and the number of components inspected range from about 180 – 250. That means that an inspector if given four hours has approximately 58 seconds to 1 min 20 seconds to locate, identify, inspect, document, and annotate each component of a house before traveling to the next component. This is why a home inspector will not remove obstructions from a closet or out of a doorway. Instead the inspector will note the obstruction and move on to the next component.
A home inspector is an expert at identifying issues in a home. The goal of a home inspection is to document the house and to help you to do a few things. If the house is beyond repair, the inspection report can give you the information you need to walk away from the deal. If the house has a few issues as all houses do, you and your realtor can negotiate a better deal on the house. If you are a do it yourselfer, you can use the inspection report as a road map towards future repairs and maintenance. If the house is just the way you like it, you can use the inspection report to learn about the locations of water and gas shutoffs in your home and feel confident that you have a resource to learn even more about your home. At the end of the day every house is going to have issues and every house is going to have future problems and repairs, so don’t get discouraged by a home inspection report. Instead, use the inspection report as a road map so you can see where the house has been, and you can plan for where your home is going.
Thank you for reading our article. If you have any questions about residential home inspections, please send us a message. If you would like Two Moose Home Inspections to inspect your property, feel free to schedule an inspection.