What Is a Home Inspection?

A home inspection by RJE Property Inspections is a noninvasive, objective, visual examination of the condition of a home at the time of the inspection by an InterNACHI certified professional inspector.
Electrical Service InspectionHome buyers and sellers who are now entering the marketplace view a home inspection as a way to gain valuable information about the biggest purchase or sale of their lifetime. It helps them to determine whether there are any major defects or system inadequacies at the time of purchase or sale.

In most cases, home inspections are performed either after an offer to purchase has been created, or at the time a seller has his home listed with a realtor.

A buyer purchase contract typically contains a contingency clause based upon a satisfactory home inspection.  For a seller, a home inspection gives the home owner a chance to see exactly what condition their home is in and helps to eliminate last minute negotiations due to a buyer’s inspection once an offer is received.

The inspection can usually be arranged within a day or so. The customer is typically encouraged to attend the inspection, so that he/she can see first-hand the workings of the home. It also represents an excellent opportunity for the prospective buyer or seller to ask questions about the home or to discuss inspection concerns.

Home inspections should also highlight the positive aspects of a home. In fact, many of the home inspector’s observations or recommendations help to dispel the home purchaser’s anxieties, and provide useful repair suggestions.

My inspection service is also one of education. My goal is to provide the client with a better understanding of the physical condition of the home in order that they can make well-informed decisions.  After the inspection is completed, a written report will be prepared for the client, documenting the results of the inspection, along with suggested repairs and safety hazards evident in the home.

The home inspection should not be confused with an appraisal, a municipal code inspection, an environmental audit, or a home owner’s warranty.

A complete home inspection will cover all of the major systems of a house, including structural, exterior, roofing, electrical, heating, cooling, insulation, plumbing, the interior finishes and built in appliances.

Preparing for Inspections

Inspectors can legally inspect only the areas of a residence that are readily visible and safely accessible. Furniture, rugs, clothes in the closets, everything under the sinks: inspectors aren’t allowed to interfere with personal items. Any parts of a house an inspector can’t safely see, they can’t inspect. The best way to ensure a comprehensive inspection that meets the obligations of both buyers and sellers is by cleaning out around and ensuring access to, at the very least, the following areas:

  • attic access panels, especially in closets
  • all stairways, including basements or attics
  • trap doors or scuttle holes to crawl spaces
  • electrical panels
  • main gas, electrical and water shut-offs
  • the furnace
  • the hot water heater

If attic access is hidden in a closet, tell the inspector. If the water shut-off is in an atypical location, describe it. If gas lines, electrical circuits or water lines are shut off for some reason; explain why. In this day and age a thorough inspection and full disclosure is of benefit to everyone involved on all sides of a real estate transaction, and taking steps to ensure the inspector is able to do a complete job the first time through is a crucial part of the process.