Home inspection is used to refer to a limited, non-intrusive process of examining the conditions of a home when it is about to be sold or is on the market. A home inspector with training and certifications to perform such inspections is the professions who carry out the process; he or she prepares and provides a written report of the findings to the client, who in turn uses the knowledge gained from the report to make learned decisions about their awaiting real estate purchase. The home inspector will describe the conditions of the home when he or she is inspecting, but this does not mean that they guarantee future condition, the efficiency of the life expectancy of components and systems. A home inspector is not the same person as a real estate appraiser whereas a home inspector determined the conditions of a home a real estate appraiser determines the value of property. A professional home inspection examines the current condition of a house, and it is not an inspection to validate compliance with appropriate codes, and in the United States, building inspection is the term used for inspections that verify building code acquiescence. Whereas home inspections identify problems, building diagnostics classify solutions for the problems found and their predicted results.
There are several professional associations which provide training, education and networking opportunities for home inspectors in the United States. A contract to buy a house I the United States of America and Canada may include a contingency that a contract is not valid until a buyer has a chance to verify the condition of the property through a home inspector. In most states and provinces, a home inspector has to be licensed although other states do not regulate this profession. For one to obtain a license they must complete an approved course or succeed in an exam issued by the state’s licensing board. Home inspectors also need to occasionally get continuing education credits for them to renew their licenses. Now, over 30 states in the US regulate the home inspection industry in some way, and the practical standards for home inspectors are those that are enacted by professional associations.
Your Role as a Home Inspector
• Structural elements like the construction of the visible foundation, window alignment and evidence of drooping or a bowed structure.
• Grounds for leaks from septic tanks, proper conditions of the driveways, sidewalks, and fences of the home as well as proper drainage.
• Safety where they check to see if the fire and carbon monoxide alarms are operatives, condition of the stairs, fire sprinklers, garage doors openers and hand and guard rails.
• Roof for any repairs, condition of grits, clear vents, properly working gutters and if there is any damage to chimneys.
• Attic for adequate insulation, signs of leakages or water damage and proper ventilation.
• Exterior surfaces to make sure there is appropriate clearance between the ground and siding material, lights that properly work, electrical outlets and condition of exterior paint or siding.
• Heating and cooling systems they look at the condition of the furnace, water heating system, air conditioner, fireplace and the chimney.
• Appliances; check if the stove, dishwasher, microwave, refrigerator, dryer and any appliances are in good working conditions.
• Electrical system, here they check for up to code condition and the type of visible wiring, proper functioning of circuit breakers, fans, outlets and light fixtures.
• Interior plumbing; there has to be no evidence of damaged or leaking pipes, functioning toilets, proper hot water temperature, functioning showers, sinks, and bathtubs.
• Garage for a solid foundation, ceiling, windows, roof and framing, proper function of outlets and proper up-to-code electrical systems.
• Basement for a solid foundation as well. Walls, no signs of water damage or intrusion and floor.
Home inspectors do not inspect some areas which are not covered by their professions such as pest control, asbestos, swimming pool, toxic mold, radon gas and leaf paint.
A home inspection is all about checking the basement, roof, water heater, heating system, air conditioning system, plumbing, structure, electrical and any other aspects of a structure. They look for systems and major component deficiencies and defects including inappropriate building practices, anything that needs repairing, items with general; maintenance issues and fire and safety issues of a building. A typical home inspector does not have the authority to identify any building code violations and home inspection does not guarantee that every defect about a structure will be identified as it is not a technically exhaustive process. Inspectors are not accountable for any future failures, and there are some home inspection companies, which offer a 90-day limited warranty for protecting their clients from unexpected structural and mechanical failures. The national academy of building inspection engineers provides a general inspection standard for buildings apart from residential homes. Standards of practice in home inspection act as minimum guidelines describing what is required to be inspected and what is not required to be inspected by the associations mentioned during a general home inspection. Most home inspectors exceed these standards, which is permitted, and might offer subsidiary service like inspecting sprinkler systems, pools, inspecting for wood destroying organisms and inspecting radon levels.
Different Types of Home Inspections
Home Sellers Inspection: The person selling their house will call a home inspector to come and identify if there is any problem with their house, and then after wards, the home seller can decide to share the report with potential buyers or make the necessary repairs to the house to put it back in a good condition to encourage a quick purchase. A home inspector’s organization will then offer a program that helps in marketing the house as a “move-in-certified” saying the house is in good condition and the new owners can immediately move in without having to make any more repairs.
Homebuyers’ Inspection: This is the most common inspections in the United States where the person buying the house hires a home inspector to assist in finding any major defects and other issues with the property to make a learned decision about the condition of the building and the expenditures of related repairs.
Four Point Inspection: This is four areas of interest inspection, sometimes, insurance companies may require an inspection of the roof of a house, its electrical, HVAC and plumbing systems which are the four areas of interest and it is mostly only needed for homes that are 20-25 years old.
Foreclosure Inspections: These are also called Real Estates Owned inspections that are done by professional home inspectors Certified Field Inspectors and Certified Property Preservation Specialists, according to state requirements. Some of these inspectors and specialist may be qualified or not be qualified to do state licensed home inspections.
Section 8 Inspection: Section 8 is a state and federal program that provides housing subsidies to low-income people in the United States where the government expects that the housing will be fit for occupation so that the section 8 inspection classifies compliance with HUD’s Housing Quality Standards.
Disaster Inspection: This takes place after a natural disaster such as an earthquake, hurricane or tornado has occurred and a large number of buildings, in turn, has been damaged. The Federal Emergency Management Agency in the United States prepares for and coordinates large-scale disaster relief efforts that include inspection of destroyed buildings. These inspections verify conditions of buildings for government disaster relief payments.
Pre Delivery Inspection: This applies to newly built houses; it is a real estate term used to describe a situation where the buyer as an option to inspect the property before it is closed or before settlement. They take place up to a week before a closing and allow buyers the opportunity to first inspect their new home and ensure all terms of a contract have been met, the home is considerably completed and the major items are in good condition, working order. The buyer may be accompanied by a home inspector they have chosen along with a representative of the builder for the inspection. Whenever a defect is noted, it is added to a punch list to be completed before the closing. A second inspection is often conducted to make sure the defects that were previously noted have been corrected. In the UK, it is called a sag list or report.
Numerous local governments in Canada and the US require that builders of new homes provide a home warranty for a limited period, which usually lead to homebuilders carrying put a pre delivery inspection with the purchaser. Wherever there is a resale, the pre delivery inspection conducted is normally called final walk through inspection and it is established on the requirements of the contract. This inspection lets the buyer inspect the home before its closing to make sure that the agreed upon repairs and improvements have been done. The best pre delivery inspection is recommended to be carried put during stages when a newly built home is being constructed, a process that includes foundation pour, structure pre drywall, insulation and final. Significant issues like structural support, plumbing and duct routing can be totally inspected after the drywall or attic insulation is installed.
Structural Home Inspection
A structural inspection reports on the foundation of a home and its supporting elements, a home inspector looks for a variety of distress indications, which might result in a further evaluation recommendations or repair. In New York State, only licensed professional engineers or registered architects can give professional opinions regarding the sufficiency structural elements of a building or a home. Municipal building officials can also make this determination and when rendering their opinion, they are not supposed to look out for the best interest of the buyer but just make honest opinions. Other states allow other professions who are not licensed professional engineers or architects to describe the condition of structural elements but not give a professional opinion about how the condition has affected the structural reliability of a building.
Eleventh month Inspection: It is an inspection of a new home before the warranty, required by some states in the US for a builder to warranty a new house for one year, ends to identify any defects that require warranty service.
Plumbing Inspection: In a general home inspection the inspector will conduct visual observation and general operation of the plumbing system, the process considers readily accessible pipes, components and fixtures while the inspector notes recognised adverse, minor and material defects that are present at that time of inspection. It reviews the visible water supply and waste removal sewage system and in the case of galvanised pipes, a plumbing system inspection involves closer observations than just outside because such pipes may not appear to have defects just by a casual glance. In a representative manner and normal modes, sewage systems and water that runs through the pipes is used to judge the water flow performance. Plumbing inspection also involves the water heater, inspected for safe operation that may include venting and the temperature and pressure relief valve and heating water. The integrity of a water supply is recommended to an expert for evaluation by home inspectors is the source of water in a home is private or non-approved. However, most homes get their water supplied from a nearby city, town, private or cooperative source. Water is obtained from rivers, lakes wells or reservoirs. Private wells should be tested for any contamination and the main idea of plumbing inspection is to reduce risks for the buyer by reporting observed material defects which can be a repair, improvement or maintenance consideration with a safety association or without.
Thermal Imaging Inspection: It uses an infrared camera to provide inspectors with details on home energy loss, moisture leaks, heat gain or loss through exterior walls and roof and improper electrical system conditions typically not visible to the naked eye. This inspection is not classified as part of a General Home Inspection as it exceeds the scope of inspection Standards of Practise.
(HVAC) Heating ventilation and air conditioning inspection
A HVAC home inspection reviews the heating and cooling system of a home from a performance viewpoint and it does not compare nor inspect code or manufacture requirements. A forced air furnace distributed by ductwork or a water boiler using radiators and convectors provides home heating. Natural gas, fuel oil or electric are the ordinary energy sources but there are other like butane, geothermal and wood. Cooling systems can be split systems, packaged unit, an evaporative cooler, heat pump or window. This inspection considers visible and readily accessible components and notes recognised adverse, minor and material defects that are present that time. There is no permit for home inspectors to dissemble any equipment in the name of checking and a home inspection report includes description of the HVAC system by the key components.
In May 2014, construction and building inspectors including home inspectors earned $28.09 hourly on average that amount to an annual salary of approximately $58, 430. The top paying states in us were Alaska, California, the District of Columbia, Washington and Nevada. The top ten percent of home inspectors in wage estimates receive an annual salary of either $ 91, 600 or more and the lowest 10 percent earned a salary of $34, 800 or less per year in 2015. Private home inspectors earn more than the regular ones as they have benefits like health and medical insurances; they have a retirement plan and have a paid annual leave. Home inspectors employed by government agencies are payed more than ones working for private consulting firms and architectural and engineering firms.
Employment for home inspectors is projected to grow as fast as the average compared to other occupations that is because of the increased concern for public safety. New homes being built requires the services of home inspectors and the recent innovations in sustainable building development together with the keen interest in green building has prompted the need for appropriately qualified home inspectors. Those with a background in construction and with specialised skills like reading blueprints could have an advantage over others. The potential employers of home inspectors are home owners that are about to put their property on the market and wish to check for any problems or those that are about to buy new homes together with government organisations and private companies.
Training and Education Programs
Some on job training is required of a new home inspector and the precise training requirements depend upon the local and state jurisdictions. Students have to learn building standards and codes for them to recognise what to look for when doing home inspections. G-before any training ends, one will learn more advanced work duties like keeping records and methods of inspection regarding regulations, ordinances and codes. Most employers want to see a high school diploma or a GED in home inspectors and better chances of employment lie for those with post-secondary education in architecture or engineering.
State licensure for Home Inspectors
States currently have their own regulations for home inspectors to adhere to in order to practise, in your state you might be needed to have a certification and a license to work there and one needs to check with the requirements of their states and meet the qualifications stipulated before being employed. The typical fundamentals for a home inspector include having accountability insurance, inspection experience, passing an examination and holding the required education, periodic continuing of education classes might be required for one to renew their licences in home inspection.
What employers look for in a home inspector
Real estate salespersons were initially reluctant to embrace home inspection but with the growth of the industry the profession became well known and accepted it however demanded for professional skills. A home inspector has to meet a high standard of performance and be competent in all aspects. Home inspection is not a complex career and can be learned in a short period, training is the curial part and future demands are going to mandate those who are practising without training to do so. It is the best choice to therefore look for an industry recognised school offering classroom instruction, multiple live field inspections and a hands on raining just to be safer. It is not as difficult as rocket science. A home inspector should have a driving license because the nature of the work requires one to travel to different sites daily and therefore one has to be reliable. Communication skills are important in a home inspector, employers want someone that has the ability to conveying all the properties of a house to the homeowners and explain all the issues present eloquently and clearly. Be capable to explain what you know to a client, communicate your findings verbally and in writing. Good communication is one of the keys to controlling liability and giving clients the satisfaction required.
Have an eye for detail to effectively do your job of home inspecting, you have to be keen to identify any mistake with the property and write it down in a report. Have the know-how of identifying all the potential problems of each system and component in a house because you will be expected to already know every part of the building. It is one thing to know the furnace but a totally different thing to tell your client why the furnace is not safe for usage and has to be replaced or repaired. Know all the systems and components of a home, students, at the end of their home inspection training are usually exhausted and overwhelmed because there is a vast amount of technical knowledge one has to acquire and learn to master this profession. Know old homes as well as new homes as the two perform very differently, and to recognise that you ae to be a competent inspector first. Have some designations that support your ability as a home inspector because your customers will most likely need to know unless they are regular clients. Client look for industry designations that make one stand out from the competition hen hiring a home inspector.