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Many consumers do not understand the role of the professional home inspection during the standard real estate transaction. The information below explains the function of the home inspector and gives insight into what a buyer or seller should, and should not, expect from the professional home inspector.

Sometimes consumers, and even real estate professionals, do not understand the role of the professional home inspector. Often, there is a misunderstanding, or an unreasonable expectation at least, that the inspector will find absolutely every problem that exists at a home — no matter how simple the problem might be.

Let me take this opportunity to realistically define the role of the residential home inspector. First, all parties must realize that the standard home inspection is a non-exhaustive visual inspection that takes place over a few hours inside and outside the home. The inspector is not superman and cannot look into wall cavities, into buried pipes, etc. More importantly, the home inspector is a generalist and, if properly trained, should know a lot about many different structural members, systems and components that are found in and around the home. However, with a few exceptions, the residential home inspector is not a licensed electrician, a licensed plumber, a licensed professional engineer or a fully trained HVAC technician.

What It Entails

It is the job of the inspector to detect problems, or find signs of deficiencies, and then to pass the responsibility for repairs or upgrades on to a specialist. It is a role not unlike that of the general practitioner, who sends patients on to the skin specialist, if he or she suspects a malignancy or another serious problem. The consumer needs to know that when an inspector finds significant problems with electrical, plumbing, heating or other systems, the inspector should refer the client on to a specialist. The specialist will have the follow-up duty of locating all of the problems that exist within the scope of his or her area of expertise. You might think of it this way: The inspector is the person who sees the clues and calls in the alarm. The specialist, who is called in by the inspector, then has the task of remedying those problems that were found at the inspection.

Professional home inspection can detect the requirement for any builder supervision or major restorations. You can also classify the necessity for repairs so that you can maintain the good condition of the house.

As the buyer, it is important for you to understand the role of home inspectors; you would want to be familiar with the construction of the house, its components, as well as home inspection reports.

Walls, ceilings, floors, foundation, roof, as well as the basement, which are classified as structural components are some of the things professional inspectors check in a home. This is very crucial as it can be related to safety issues.

Electrical systems are also inspected. These may include ceiling fans, wiring, exhaust fans, grounding, receptacles, main panel, light fixtures, and circuit breakers.

Another component that must be tested by inspectors is the interior plumbing. This is not limited only to toilets, sinks, traps, showers and faucets, but also the materials used for different kinds of pipes such as drain, portable, vent, and waste pipes.

Systems and components are also covered by home inspection, including duct work, chimney, heating system, water heaters, furnaces, central air conditioning system, fireplace, and even sprinklers.

The construction of the roof and attic must also be inspected; gutters, visible insulation, flashing, framing and ventilation are all required to be checked.

The interior of the house isn’t only the part that needs to be inspected, the exterior must also be checked. This may include the following: windows, sidewalks, doors, lights, exterior receptacles, trim, driveways, fences, grading, drainage, wall covering, elevation, and landscaping.

The garage shouldn’t be left unchecked; its windows, exterior, roof, lights, entry, receptacles, openers, vents, firewall, garage door, slab, walls, and ceiling should all be properly inspected.

Last on this list, but certainly not the least, appliances such as oven and range, garbage disposal, dishwasher, smoke detectors, and built-in microwaves must be checked.

After the home inspector finishes checking the house, you’ll be given the report, which describes the components that need to be repaired or those that are faulty; those that are in good condition are not included in the report.

Getting the help of a professional home inspector will definitely make buying a nice and good home.