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Professional Home Inspector


The American Society of Home Inspectors defines a home inspection as, "A documented professional opinion of a home based on a visual evaluation and operational testing of the home systems and components to determine their present condition."

Purchasing a home is usually the biggest financial decision a person makes in a lifetime. Therefore, it stands to reason that the purchaser should take every available precaution and gather as much information as possible before making that decision. Since most people do not have the knowledge and skills to evaluate construction flaws or detect other property defects, they frequently call upon the services of a professional home inspector.

Until recently, it wasn't easy to find a professional home inspector who had the broad range of knowledge necessary to perform a comprehensive assessment of an entire home. Carpenters were brought in to check a home's structure, electricians checked wiring and plumbers checked the pipes. It wasn't until the late 1980's that home inspection emerged as an identified profession and professional home inspectors began to ply their trade.

Since professional home inspectors can be held liable for oversights, they will usually have their clients sign a contract which outlines their responsibilities and the scope of their inspection. Flaws must be visible and areas accessible to fall within the parameters of the contract. Whereas roof damage, plumbing deficiencies, illegal electrical wiring, water damage and HVAC problems would clearly be within the inspector's purview; septic systems, water wells and other concealed portions of the property would fall outside the contract.

Most professional home inspectors will detail their findings in a written report to their clients. A typical report will provide an extensive checklist of areas examined and will refer the client to a narrative portion of the report for details. The report is usually segmented by major areas of interest, such as: electrical, foundation, roof, etc. Photographs are often provided as a report enhancement. Find a place to live and have it inspected before signing off on any deals, better to be safe then sorry. Typical inspections of a large home can take several hours while inspections of smaller homes such as modular homes can take much less time.

A qualified professional home inspector can charge from $200 to $500 for their services, depending on the size and complexity of the home to be inspected. However, the service they provide is essential and their fees are insignificant when compared to the peace of mind and potential savings they bring to their clients.


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