Types of Home Inspections
Home inspections are uniquely crafted to each of our clients. There is wide variety in the needs of our clients. Each home inspection is tailor-made to fit each client’s needs. These are discussed before each inspection and a projection made of the likely time needed and cost. Fees on most home inspections are charged on an hourly basis; occasionally a client will limit an inspection to a set fee, but our types of inspections and means of reporting generally run as follows:
- Walk through inspections are ideal for foreclosures and property about to be auctioned. In most cases the gas, water and electricity are turned off. These are quick, hands-off inspections in which our clients are given an expert opinion on the likely integrity, age and durability of the systems that are visually examined. On many foreclosures where the property is being bought in “as is” condition, major defects found will usually be corrected by a bank because otherwise the bank will have to reveal these defects to other potential buyers, and these defects, once identified by a licensed professional, will disqualify a property from obtaining a mortgage.
- ASHI inspections are ideal for buyers with a standard Realtor contract or lawyer contract. Both of these contracts call for the heating, cooling, plumbing, electrical, and mechanical systems to be in working order, which is to say that they are working as they were engineered to work. A house in which turning up the thermostat will adequately heat a house does not have a working heating system if the last three occupants died of carbon monoxide poisoning. Tub overflow drains or shower stall drains that leak onto ceilings below are not in working order, yet we are one of the few companies that test these drains.
We also inspect and assess the heating/cooling source in every room and test kitchen and laundry appliances, areas of inspection not required by the ASHI Standards. Nevertheless, some areas of the various systems may go uninspected. We cannot test air conditioning systems in winter or humidifiers in summer. If there are 12 inches of snow or leaves on the ground we can inspect or assess the condition of driveways and retaining walls.
- ASHI inspections with invasive or destructive testing often call for legal releases from property owners. These extraordinary inspections go beyond the one-day snap shot provided by our normal inspection. For example, a client may want a negative pressure test done on an underground oil tank, or every electrical junction box opened up and inspected where there is known aluminum branch wiring.
We once had a client buying a house with a standard Realtors contract in mid-winter. As we could not test the air conditioning system, we suggested that our client ask the seller to extend the contract clause concerning the A/C to May 1st by which time a professional spring servicing could take place. The seller refused to do it. Neither party would back down, and so we were allowed the extraordinary task of building a wooden frame around the air-conditioning unit, covering it with a tarp, and heating it with a propane heater for 24 hours. We were then able to run the air-conditioning system and it was in working order.