Home Inspection FAQ's:
The real estate sales market has toned down dramatically since the 80s, yet now
in the late 90s there are clear signs of renewed home buyer activity and care in the
purchase of homes.
Home inspectors have reported a significant increase in the number of pre-purchase
inspections, according to the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI), the most
respected national organization of independent home inspectors
In homes 20 years and older, ASHI experts say that roof shingles, electrical wiring,
and surface water drainage systems are the items most commonly cited on inspection reports
as needing repair or modification.
In new construction, inspectors frequently find water seepage into basement/cellar or
crawl space, inadequate attic ventilation, poor roof construction, and substandard masonry
and finish work.
In response to a growing awareness of the dangers posed by certain substances, such as
radon gas, asbestos fiber, and urea formaldehyde foam insulation, many consumers are
paying extra to have special tests performed to make sure their new home doesnt pose
a health hazard to them and their family. Although a standard ASHI home inspection
does not include environmental items, many home inspectors offer environmental assessment
as an optional service, or recommend further evaluation.
What is the difference between a home inspection and an
engineering inspection? Which is appropriate for the home buyer?
Considerable confusion surrounds this question, particularly since in some areas, home
inspections have been inadvertently referred to as engineering inspections or evaluations,
and engineers sometimes perform home inspections. But the two, according to home
inspection and engineering authorities, are actually quite different.
Engineering evaluations are usually specialized by discipline (such as chemical,
structural, electrical) and involve exhaustive scientific measurements and calculations
for confirming the design of the systems. Home inspections, on the other hand, tell
buyers what they really need to know: what is the condition of the home
today?. The home inspection, performed by a professional engineer (P.E.) or a
non-engineer professional inspector does not involve engineering analysis of the original
design, but deals instead with the in-service operation or failure of a homes
systems and components, as well as the type of maintenance that has been and should be
performed. It is based on established criteria of performance and training specific
to the home inspection profession.
State agencies, which are typically responsible for regulating professional activity,
have not undertaken to license home inspectors, except in Texas. Home buyers must
therefore carefully review an inspectors background and credentials to determine if
he has the appropriate training and professional ethics to perform home inspections.
This Homebuyers Tip was excerpted from:
Banker & Tradesman, May 1997