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Frequently Asked Questions

WHAT IS A HOME INSPECTION?

A home inspection is an objective visual analysis of a home's structure and systems. An inspection will determine the areas of a home that are not performing properly, as well as items that are at/beyond warranty or are unsafe. TOP2BOTTOM Inspectors cover every inch of your potential home: the interior, the exterior, from the roof to the foundation, the exterior drainage to the retaining walls. If problems or symptoms are found, the inspector may recommend further evaluation or repairs. A home inspection is a visual inspection to determine problems or conditions that exist at the time of the inspection. A home inspection is not a warranty. A warranty can be obtained separately(consult your realtor).

WHY DO I NEED A HOME INSPECTION?

The purchase of a home is one of the largest purchases you will make. It is important that you know as much as possible about this purchase. TOP2BOTTOM inspectors are trained to evaluate the home in detail and give you a report that will allow you to make a good decision about purchasing the home. An inspection report will describe the home in detail and will highlight the areas that are problematic. A home inspection is a good idea even if you are already a homeowner. Our bodies, our cars, our pets all need physical checkups to ensure everything's working right- your home needs a checkups from time to time as well. Many homeowners are living in homes that have serious problems that if identified early can save considerable repair costs. Water leaks can cause costly problems, but if they are caught early can be repaired at little cost. A home inspection will also give you an outline of the routine maintenance that needs to be done to the home. Home sellers will want an inspection to find problems that a buyer's inspection would have found. The seller can then make the repairs prior to the home going on the market.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A HOME INSPECTOR

Experience

Find out how much experience a potential inspector has. If an inspector has not been performing inspections very long that does not mean that he or she is not qualified, it means that you should ask more questions.

Home Inspection Training

Has this inspector gone through extensive training in home inspection? There are several training companies that provide hands-on training. Also, you may ask what other related experience the inspector has. Many inspectors have been in the building trades for several years and have considerable knowledge of home construction.

Association Membership

Is the inspector a member of a professional Home Inspection organization? Companies that are affiliated with professional organizations are serious about what they do and they know about all the new developments in their fields. They are continually informed about changes in the building codes and city requirements.

National Home Inspection organizations include

  • International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI) (We are members)
  • American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI)
  • National Association of Home Inspectors (NAHI)
  • National Academy of Building Inspection Engineers (NABIE)
  • California Real Estate Inspection Association (CREIA)
  • National Institute of Building Inspectors (NIBI)
  • Their are several other local organizations that provide support for the Home Inspectors in a certain states or regions. It is important that the inspectors belong to an association and abide by a set of guidelines that require professionalism in the industry.

LIABILITY INSURANCE

Does the inspector carry Professional Liability Insurance (Errors and Omissions Insurance)? Make sure you ask for a copy of their liability insurance policy. If you ever need to collect on a legal judgment, the inspector's insurance policy will be able to pay on your claim. An inspector without insurance my not be able to pay your claim. (Our E&O insurance is well above the states minimum)

WHAT DOES A TYPICAL HOME INSPECTION INCLUDE?

The home inspector's report will review the condition of the home's heating system, plumbing, electrical system and central air conditioning system (temperature permitting), as well as the roof, attic, visible insulation, walls, ceilings, floors, windows, doors, foundation, landscaping, and visible structure (basement if applicable). (Just like our name says we inspect your home top 2 bottom, our inspections are some of the most detailed in the industry)

WHAT DOES A TYPICAL HOME INSPECTION COST?

Each home inspection company has their own pricing structure. Inspection fees vary based on the area of the country and the type, size, and features of the home or building. Most inspectors will charge extra for services such as radon testing, termite inspections, thermal imaging, mold, etc. A typical inspection fee for a 2,000 square foot home varies from $240 to $350 not including extras/add-ons. The cost of the inspection should not be the only consideration for hiring an inspector. A good inspection that informs you of all the potential problems in a home is worth the money. Once you have purchased the home, it may be costly to repair problems that were omitted from the inspection report.

Additional Services

  • Many inspectors will offer you services such as:
  • Radon testing: Make sure they follow the US EPA Protocols for testing
  • Water Testing: Ask where they take your samples.
  • Termite inspections: Ask their background and experience related to termite inspections. (Our termite inspections are performed by a licensed pest company: Magic Pest Control)

CAN I DO AN INSPECTION MYSELF?

Most home buyers will look at a home that they want to purchase and look for reasons to purchase the home. The prospective home buyer is not able to look at the home with the unbiased critical eye of a home inspector. Even a home buyer with construction experience does not have the knowledge and tools of a home inspector. A good inspector is trained and experienced in finding the clues in a home that indicate problems. These clues are sometimes very subtle and hard to find. Most inspectors use tools that help them determine problems. Most inspectors have performed hundreds of inspections and are familiar with problems with particular building materials or building styles.

WHEN PURCHASING A HOME, WHEN SHOULD I CALL FOR A HOME INSPECTION?

When purchasing a home you will want to have the home inspected within a few days after the purchase agreement is signed. You want to make sure you have a clause in your purchase agreement that allows you to have an inspection and that you have the right to terminate the agreement if you find the home in unsatisfactory condition. This clause should specify the terms to which both the buyer and seller are obligated.

SHOULD I BE THERE DURING THE INSPECTION?

We recommend that you are present at the inspection. Most inspectors will allow you to be there and ask questions after the inspection is completed. Most inspectors will point out the areas that are potential problems. This is important because you will be able to see for yourself the extent of problems that are sometimes hard for an inspector to convey in a report. TOP2BOTTOM home inspectors will also show you how the heating system works and show you what things will need to be maintained in order to keep the home in good condition.

WHAT IF THE INSPECTION REPORT REVEALS PROBLEMS?

Almost all homes will show problems. Even newly constructed homes will have problems noted on an inspection report. This is why we recommend an inspection even for new construction. Your inspector will be able to identify major problems that will be costly. Minor problems are to be expected and can be repaired after closing. Major problems may require a negotiation between you and the seller as to how to fix the problems. A seller may adjust the purchase price or contract terms if major problems are found. If the problems are costly, you will be able to make your decision about purchasing the home with the proper knowledge about the future cost of that home.

These tips are provided by the Bits and Bytes. We provide this information in an attempt to inform consumers about home inspections. These statements comprise our opinions about home inspections and not the opinions of the partners who host the site from which you have been directed.