A certified home inspector checking a basement window at a home in Greeley, Colorado.

What is a home inspection?

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What is a home inspection?
by: Joshua Luttmer

A home inspection is a visual examination of the home's major structure, systems and components that are visible and safely accessible. The inspection will allow our team to produce a written report including pictures/videos of each item covered during the inspection, with major defects called out in an easy to understand summary. Our inspectors meet or exceed InterNACHI's Standards of Practice on every home inspection we perform.

In general home inspections are contracted by prospective buyers, sellers or their agents in order to get the opinion of an unbiased expert who can give insight into the current condition of the structure. Many homes may have major defects that need addressing before the sale can take place. Our home inspectors will attempt to find every major defect and safety hazard in the home. Now before you get scared and think that we are trying to prevent the deal from taking place, understand that a major defect is an item that significantly affects the homes value. And safety hazards are well, safety hazards. They can range from a hand railing missing along a stairwell to an unsafe mess of electrical wiring in the basement. We've seen it all and we will do our best to present the facts in an unbiased and professional manner without scaring off a potential buyer.

A home inspection is purchased by home buyers, sellers or agents in order to get the opinion of an external, unbiased expert who can give insight into the condition of a residential structure. A professional home inspection is an objective assessment of the current condition of the home and should be thought of as a snapshot in time, not an all inclusive report that can tell the future. A home inspection is not an assessment and cannot determine the market value of a home. It is not a municipal inspection and cannot verify compliance with local regulations or building codes. Home inspections are a visual examination of a house in its present state, and a house cannot pass or fail an inspection.  It is the client's responsibility to weigh the information given in the home inspection report and make decisions based upon the information provided.

A qualified home inspector assesses the condition of a property, including heating and cooling, plumbing and electrical, water and sewage, the roof covering, and any safety problems visually observed during the inspection. A home inspector's job is to observe and report on the condition of the property before it is marketed or sold.  An inspector may identify health and safety hazards as well as major mechanical problems during the course of their inspection.  Remember that even though an inspection has been performed, the condition of the home may change from day to day and a home inspection cannot guarantee that there are not undiscovered problems lurking around the corner.  Home inspectors do not pass or fail a house, but rather describe its physical condition and indicate which components or systems require major repairs or replacement.  

Home inspections are important because they can help buyers make an informed decision about whether a home may need immediate repairs. A home inspection can be the last opportunity for the buyer to spot problems before the home is purchased. During the completion of a real estate sale, the buyer should hire a home inspector to come into the home and carry out their visual observations. A home inspection is also an opportunity for the seller to address issues with the house and negotiate contingencies with the buyer.     

Additional services such as inspections for wood-destroying organisms, radon testing, inspections of septic tanks, water and air quality testing, mold and lead testing, asbestos and even methamphetamine testing are often available from your local home inspector. If you suspect a problem or have concerns about an area that is not covered by a home inspection or any of the ancillary services offered by the home inspector, you should arrange an assessment with a certified specialist. 

In many states, home inspection standards are developed and enforced by professional organizations such as the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI), and by the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) or there may be local laws that govern the standards of practice that a home inspector must follow. It is best to check with your real estate agent to determine which standards are followed in your specific area.

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