Frequently Asked Questions
Q. WHAT IS
A HOME INSPECTION?
A home inspection is an objective visual examination of the physical
structure and systems of a home, from the roof to the foundation. Having
a home inspected is like giving it a physical check-up. If problems
or symptoms are found, the inspector may recommend further evaluation.
Q. WHAT DOES
A HOME INSPECTION INCLUDE?
The standard home inspector's report will review the condition of: the
heating system, the electrical system, the cooling system, the interior
plumbing, the roof surface, attic, insulation, walls, ceilings, floors,
windows, doors, appliances, foundation, basement, exterior, drainage
Q. WHY SHOULD
I HAVE A HOME INSPECTION?
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, a home inspection also points out the positive aspects of
a home, as well as the 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.
If you are already a home owner, a home inspection may be used to
identify problems in the making and to learn preventive measures which
might avoid costly future repairs. If you are planning to sell your
home, you may wish to have an inspection prior to placing your home
on the market. This will give you a better understanding of conditions
which may be discovered by the buyer's inspector, and an opportunity
to make repairs that will put the house in better selling condition.
Q. DOES A
STANDARD INSPECTION COVER A RADON TEST?
No. A radon test is a separate service provided by companies certified
by the EPA. If radon testing is desired, Home Inspections, Inc. will
provide this service at an additional cost.
Q. WHY IS
A RADON TEST IMPORTANT?
Radon is a radioactive gas that has been found in homes all over the
United States. It comes from the natural breakdown of uranium in soil,
rock, and water and gets into the air you breathe. When you breathe
air containing radon, you increase your risk of getting lung cancer.
By testing for this colorless, odorless gas houses can be remediated
Q. HOW LONG
DOES AN INSPECTION TAKE?
Home inspections take between two and three hours for the standard size
home. However, for homes above 5,000 square feet, older homes or homes
with additions, the inspection may take longer.
Q. HOW MUCH
DOES A HOME INSPECTION COST?
The cost of a home inspection will vary with the size, age, number of
HVAC systems, out buildings, etc. This information will be asked of you
by our professional schedulers at our scheduling number: 703-560-3335.
I BE PRESENT FOR THE INSPECTION?
It is not necessary for you to be present for the inspection, but it
is recommended. You will be able to observe the inspector and ask questions
directly, as you learn about the condition of the home, how its systems
work, and how to maintain it. You will also find the written report
easier to understand if you've seen the property first-hand through
the inspector's eyes.
Q. CAN I PERFORM
AN INSPECTION MYSELF?
Even the most experienced homeowner lacks the knowledge and expertise
of a professional home inspector who has inspected hundreds, perhaps
thousands, of homes in his or her career. An inspector is familiar with
the many 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 information, it is best to obtain
an impartial third-party opinion by an expert in the field of home inspection.
Q. WHAT IF
THE REPORT REVEALS PROBLEMS?
No house is perfect. If the inspector identifies problems, it doesn't
necessarily mean you shouldn't buy the house, only that you will know
in advance what to expect. A seller may adjust the purchase price or
contract terms if major problems are found. If your budget is tight,
or if you don't wish to become involved in future repair work, this
information will be extremely important to you.
Q. IS IT POSSIBLE
FOR MY HOUSE TO FAIL AN INSPECTION?
No. A professional home 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 and indicate what may need repair or
Q. HOW FAR
IN ADVANCE DO I NEED TO SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT?
A home inspector is typically contacted right after the contract or
purchase agreement has been signed, and is often available within a
few days. However, before you sign, be sure that there is an inspection
clause in the contract, making your purchase obligation contingent upon
the findings of a professional home inspection. This clause should specify
the terms to which both the buyer and seller are obligated.
Q. WHAT IS
THE AMERICAN SOCIETY OF HOME INSPECTORS?
The American Society of
Home Inspectors (ASHI) is the oldest and leading nonprofit professional
association for independent home inspectors. Since its formation in
1976, ASHI's "Standards of Practice" have served as the home
inspector's performance guideline, universally recognized and accepted
by professional and government authorities alike.
Q. WHAT IS
THE IMPORTANCE OF SELECTING AN INSPECTOR WHO IS A MEMBER OF THE AMERICAN
SOCIETY OF HOME INSPECTORS?
Members of ASHI are independent professional home inspectors who have
met the most rigorous technical and experience requirements in effect
today. To become an ASHI Member, an inspector must pass two written
technical exams, have performed a minimum of 250 professional fee-paid
home inspections, and maintained his or her candidate status for no
less than six months. ASHI Members are required to follow the Society's
Code of Ethics, and to obtain continuing education credits in order
to keep current with the latest in building technology, materials, and
Q. IF THE
HOUSE PROVES TO BE IN GOOD CONDITION, DID I REALLY NEED AN INSPECTION?
Definitely. Now you can complete your home purchase with your eyes open
as to the condition of the property and all its equipment and systems.
You will also have learned many things about your new home from the
inspector's written report, and will want to keep that information for