Property Inspection Services
A fundamental and necessary part of any real estate transaction is the performance of a property inspection by a certified inspector. No new home or commercial property should be purchased without one. A property inspection is sometimes confused with a real estate appraisal. The purpose of a home inspection is to determine the condition of a structure, much like a physical exam by a doctor, whereas an appraisal determines the value of a property. Because there are no set standards for determining the condition of a house, it cannot fail a property inspection. Costs for the procedure vary and are generally based on the size of the house. As a guideline, a 2,000 square foot house will be in the $300 range, give or take. Prices increase at an average rate of roughly $75 for each additional 500 feet. Of course, it is prudent to check prices before hiring an inspection service.
Property Inspection Process
The property inspection process will determine the condition of the house and will provide a generalized view of its structural integrity and the status of its working systems. No tools other than a flashlight, certain gauges and a camera are used; the procedure is non-invasive, meaning that only what can been assessed without the use of addition tools or undue effort will be examined. When completed, the home inspector will present a written report to the client; usually the buyer. The report represents the condition of the property at the time of the property inspection and does not guarantee the status, efficiency, condition or value of the home or its components in the future. It is intended solely to provide the buyer with a professional assessment on which to make a sound decision about the purchase of the property. In most cases, the procedure for an average sized house can be completed in two or three hours.
What is included in a Property Inspection
The inspector will look at the roof and basement, heating/cooling systems, water heater, fire places and solid fuel burning appliances, electrical and gas appliances, plumbing fixtures and general structure of the property. In addition, the property inspection will usually expose items that may require significant repair or that pose general maintenance issues, safety concerns or any apparently improper building practices. The client should be aware that the property inspection is not technically comprehensive or fail proof; some items may not be detected. What is not covered in the property inspection are water quality, noise issues, code violations, conditions of the soil and anything that is buried such as piping and sewer systems. Also excluded are rights of way, boundaries and easement issues. There are numerous places to find a complete list of what is specifically covered and excluded in the property inspection from state to state.
Property Inspection Regulations
An issue of some concern and ongoing debate is the lack of any standardized criteria and regulations governing the professional property inspection industry. Each state has its own requirements for licensing of professional inspectors. Regardless of the specific qualifications, all states require that professional property inspectors attain certification. There are several professional associations that offer training and educational opportunities for would-be property inspectors. The largest of these associations is the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors which counts close to 10,000 members among its ranks. The ASHI publishes a Code of Ethics that encompasses the guidelines of property inspection professionalism and ethics. It addresses important issues such as conflicts of interest, integrity, honesty and objectivity, all of which are central to the public perception of the industry.
State Licensing to perform Property Inspections
With some localized variations, to become licensed to perform a property inspection in most states, the candidate must do the following: Pass the licensing exam issued by the appropriate governing board; post a bond in an amount determined by the board; and pay all applicable fees. In addition, the candidate must have accomplished one of the following: Have a high school diploma or equivalent and have been an associate home inspector for at least one year; completed one hundred or more property inspections for compensation; have formal education or experience that the governing board deems to be equivalent to its certification criteria; and/or be licensed as a general contractor or structural engineer. Continuing education is required for license renewal and may not be obtained through correspondence or online courses.
Be Sure to Hire a Property Inspector
By engaging a certified property inspection professional to examine a property before your purchase, you assure yourself of making an informed decision. The associated costs far outweighs the potential problems that could arise without it.