A home inspection is an objective visual examination of the physical structure and systems of a home, from the roof to the foundation. The standard home inspector's report will include an evaluation of the condition of the home's heating system, central air conditioning system (temperature permitting), interior plumbing and electrical systems; the roof, attic, and visible insulation; walls, ceilings, floors, windows and doors; the foundation, basement, and visible structure.
The purchase of a home is probably the largest single investment you will ever make. You should learn as much as you can about the condition of the property and the need for any major repairs before you buy, so that you can minimize unpleasant surprises and difficulties afterwards. Of course, an inspection will also point out positive aspects of a home, as well as some maintenance that will be necessary to keep it in good shape. After the inspection, you will have a much clearer understanding of the property you are about to purchase, and will be able to make a confident buying decision.
The cost of an inspection varies based upon a number of factors, including size, age, special services requested, etc. However, do not let cost be a factor in deciding whether or not to have a inspection, or in the selection of your home inspector. The knowledge gained from an inspection is well worth the cost, and the lowest-priced inspector is not necessarily a bargain. Rather, you should consider the inspection as an investment that will pay for itself many times over. You do not want the life-changing decision of buying a home to be something to regret.
Even the most experienced home owner lacks the knowledge, objectivity and expertise of a professional home inspector who has inspected thousands of homes in his or her career. An inspector is familiar with all the elements of home construction, their proper installation, and maintenance. He or she understands how the home's systems and components are intended to function together, as well as how and why they fail. Above all, most buyers find it very difficult to remain completely objective and unemotional about the house they really want, and this may affect their judgment. For the most accurate picture, it is best to obtain an impartial third-party opinion by an expert in the field of inspection.
No. A professional inspection is an examination of the current condition of your prospective home. It is not an appraisal, which determines market value, or a municipal inspection, which verifies local code compliance. A home inspector, therefore, will not pass or fail a house, but rather describe its physical condition.