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Old 04-17-2012, 10:43 AM   #1
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Am having a home inspector look at a house I'm purchasing. His contract, which I must sign, says "visual inspection only".

I thought he'd test these things and tell me if they work or not. Are my expectations wrong?

thanks


Last edited by ennyl; 04-17-2012 at 12:45 PM. Reason: addition
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Old 04-17-2012, 10:46 AM   #2
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I think it means he is not going to rip open any walls. He can only inspect what is accessible.

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Old 04-17-2012, 10:48 AM   #3
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Just ask him for some sample reports that he has written to see the degree of his competence and investigatory methods.
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Old 04-17-2012, 11:11 AM   #4
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Ask for References?
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Old 04-17-2012, 11:17 AM   #5
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An ASHI certified inspector will typically present you with a contract that spells out in considerable detail EXACTLY what the inspector is going to do, and what they are not going to do. Based on my experience, they absolutely are NOT going to open any walls, and they are not going to climb on your roof either. As to testing things, they will test a representative sample of items in your house, for example they will test a few outlets, not all. They are not (or at least they should not based on their contract) offer engineering opinions about the structural integrity of your house, and they generally will not offer a definitive opinion about code compliance of any specific item. If something looks (based on visual observation and limited testing) suspicious, they should note it in their report, but typically they will NOT offer an opinion as to cause and origin of the alleged defect. But what do you expect for under $400?
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Old 04-17-2012, 02:31 PM   #6
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According to the ASHI standards, there are certain systems that must not be shut down because of later damage or liability. Certainly shutting down power could shut down a computer system or an oxygen generator. Also, it is not recommended to "pop" or test pressure/temperature valves on a water heater since resetting could possibly enter them unreliable and the cost to replace by a professional could be greater than the cost of an inspection.

The term "visual inspection" is reinforced by the fact that the inspector is in the house usually owned by a sell and cannot even move boxes and furniture to get a different visual point of view. Incidentally, in some market areas, the best and most expensive inspectors are hired by the seller (an move things around) to prepare the house for sale and avoid items that a poorer inspector might happen to find by accident. Since the seller hires the inspector, he owns the report.

If an inspector find some potential problems while working for a buyer, he cannot do any work on the house for the buyer and is required to provide the names of multiple contractors or professionals for the seller to contact and the buyer owns the test report.

Dick
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Old 04-17-2012, 03:25 PM   #7
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thanks Dick.

That explains a lot.

It was just the word 'visual' that threw me. I feel better now. This is a short sale but appears to be in good condition. Believe me, I've seen some that were just scarey.
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Old 04-18-2012, 08:24 AM   #8
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I don't intend to ever buy another house (living in number 10, which we built by ourselves), but if I were, I wouldn't waste a dime on a "home inspection." I have had a couple in the past, and could have done a better job myself. Those contracts are chock full of disclaimers and descriptions of what the inspector is NOT going to do and is NOT responsible for.
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Old 04-18-2012, 09:10 AM   #9
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md2lgyk -

Any new home should be inspected by a "building inspector" for code compliance. A "home inspector" does not inspect with regard to code issues (unless they are safety related), but looks a condition, expected life expectancy, replacement schedule of major items (roof, water heaters, furnaces, etc.) and points out areas to spend the big bucks on specialists, structural engineers, roofers, plumbers, electricians, etc. with different possible professionals - What else can you expect for under $400, unless you are a seller and the are willing to pay more, since and unsuspected problem can be more expensive or lose a sale.

Anyone that has a home inspector without having a state certified inspector is foolish. Some states are so lax that they do not even have a certification requirement. The ASHI group essentially writes the book/tests that state certifiers use and the the ASHI certificated member have to meet higher standards that states (number of inspections, report examples reviewed and time of experience).

You always have the right to do it yourself, based on your own perspective and experience.

Dick

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Old 04-18-2012, 09:23 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by concretemasonry
md2lgyk -

Any new home should be inspected by a "building inspector" for code compliance. A "home inspector" does not inspect with regard to code issues (unless they are safety related), but looks a condition, expected life expectancy, replacement schedule of major items (roof, water heaters, furnaces, etc.) and points out areas to spend the big bucks on specialists, structural engineers, roofers, plumbers, electricians, etc. with different possible professionals - What else can you expect for under $400, unless you are a seller and the are willing to pay more, since and unsuspected problem can be more expensive or lose a sale.

You always have the right to do it yourself, based on your own perspective and experience.
So basically you get what you pay for.
What ever you decide one thing you should NOT do is use an inspector that has been recommended by your Realtor!
That inspector will be biased,he will rarely point out things that will cause you to back out of the deal.Doing so will in all likelihood cause him to lose future business from that Realtor and he knows it.
As someone has mentioned,ask for sample reports.They should be detailed in what the issues may be and include pictures of the issues stated.

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