Home Inspections Q&A


Question and Answers About Home Inspections

  1. Should I do inspections or hire someone?
  2. What does a home inspection cover?
  3. Can anyone perform a home inspection?
  4. Why should I have the home inspected?
  5. Obtain homeowners insurance and deliver binder to lender.
  6. How do I request a home inspection, and who will pay for it?
  7. Should I be present when the home inspection is performed?
  8. Are all inspection reports the same?
  9. What should I do if I feel something has been missed on the inspection?
  10. If, following the home inspection, the seller repairs an item found in the home inspection, may I have the Home Inspector perform a re-inspection”?
  11. Is a Termite Inspection part of the general inspection?
  12. Should I also have a Homeowner’s Warranty?

1. Should I do inspections or hire someone?

For most persons, purchasing a home is the largest investment they will ever make.

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2. What does a home inspection cover?

It is an evaluation of the visible and accessible systems and components of a home (plumbing system, roof, etc.) and is intended to give the client (usually the homebuyer) a better understanding of their condition. It is also important to know what a home inspection is not! It is not an appraisal of the property’s value; nor should you expect it to address the cost of repairs. It does not guarantee that the home complies with local building codes (which are subject to periodic change) or protect you in the event an item inspected fails in the future. (Note: Warrantees can be purchased to cover many items.) Nor should it be considered a “technically exhaustive” evaluation, but rather an evaluation of the property on the day it is inspected, taking into consideration normal wear and tear.

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3. Can anyone perform a home inspection?

No. Only persons licensed by the State of South Carolina are permitted to perform home inspections for compensation. To qualify for licensure, they must satisfy certain education and experience requirements and pass a state licensing exam.

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4. Why should I have the home inspected?

Most homebuyers lack the knowledge, skill and emotional detachment needed to inspect homes themselves. By using the services of a licensed Home Inspector, they can gain a better understanding of the condition of the property, especially whether any items do not “function as intended” or “adversely affect the habitability of the dwelling” or “warrant further investigation” by a person who specializes in the item in question.

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5. Obtain homeowners insurance and deliver binder to lender.

In my home purchase, I have chosen to sign the standard Offer to Purchase and Contract form which many real estate and legal professionals use. It states that I have the right to have the home inspected and the right to request that the seller repair identified problems with the home.

Will the home inspection identify all of these problems ?

Yes and No. Home Inspectors typically evaluate structural components (floors, walls, roofs, chimneys, foundations, etc.), mechanical systems (plumbing, electrical, heating/air conditioning, installed appliances and other major components of the property. The Home Inspector Licensure Board’s “Standards of Practice” do not require Home Inspectors to report on: wood-destroying insects, environmental contamination, pools and spas, detached structures and certain other items listed in the Offer to Purchase and Contract form.

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6. How do I request a home inspection, and who will pay for it?

You can arrange for the home inspection or ask your real estate agent to assist you. Unless you otherwise agree, you will be responsible for payment of the home inspection and any subsequent inspections. If the inspection is to be performed after you have signed the purchase contract, be sure to schedule the inspection as soon as possible to allow adequate time for any repairs to be performed.

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7. Should I be present when the home inspection is performed?

Whenever possible, you should be present. The inspector can review with you the results of the inspection and point out any problems found. Usually, the inspection of the home can be completed in two to three hours (the time can vary depending upon the size and age of the dwelling). The Home Inspector must give you a written report of the inspection within three business days after the inspection is performed (unless otherwise stated in your contract with the Home Inspector). The home inspection report is your property. The Home Inspector may only give it to you and may not share it with other persons without your permission.

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8. Are all inspection reports the same?

No. While the Home Inspector Licensure Board has established a minimum requirement for report-writing, reports can vary greatly. They can range from a “checklist” of the systems and components to a full narrative evaluation or any combination of the two. Home Inspectors are required to give you a written summary of their inspection, identifying any system or component that does not function as intended, or adversely affects the habitability of the dwelling, or appears to warrant further investigation by a specialist. The summary does not necessarily include all items that have been found to be defective or deficient. Therefore, do not read only the summary. Carefully read and understand the entire home inspection report.

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9. What should I do if I feel something has been missed on the inspection?

Before any repairs are made (except emergency repairs), call the inspector or inspection company to discuss the problem. Many times, a “trip charge” can be saved by explaining the problem to the inspector who can answer the question over the telephone. This also gives the inspector a chance to promptly handle any problems that may have been overlooked in the inspection.

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10. If, following the home inspection, the seller repairs an item found in the home inspection, may I have the Home Inspector perform a “re-inspection”?

Yes. Some repairs may not be as straightforward as they might seem. The inspector may be able to help you evaluate the repair, but you should be aware that the re-inspection is not a warranty of the repairs that have been made. Some Home Inspectors charge a fee for re-inspections.

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11. Is a Termite Inspection part of the general inspection?

Most lenders also require a Termite Inspection. If termites are found, you must have proof that the house has been treated and that any termite damage has been repaired.

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12. Should I also have a Homeowner’s Warranty?

In addition to a Home Inspector’s report, you can also protect yourself with this warranty. It is especially useful when buying an older home or one that has been vacant for some time. The seller may offer a warranty with the sale. If not, you can buy a warranty on your own. Ask us about it.

Inspections are usually paid for by the buyer, but can be scheduled by your agent or the buyer.

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