The simplest answer is that a home inspection is a visual examination of the home and an assessment of the integrity of its structure, system, and components. In the state of Washington, home inspectors have strict standards encompassing the scope of your home inspection, called the Washington Standards of Practice, which you can read in it’s entirety here.
Do I need a home inspection?
In most cases, yes. Whether you are purchasing or refinancing, most lenders require a licensed home inspection prior to approving the home loan. A home inspection will provide a detailed assessment of the condition of the home and discover defects that the average buyer would normally be unaware of.
How much does a home inspection cost?
Unfortunately, there is no easy answer to this question. There are many factors that contribute to the cost of a home inspection such as the year it was built, square footage, the number of bathrooms, if there are any outbuildings, and how far away the home is from your inspector. In the Puget Sound region, home inspections typically start in the range of $400.
Do I need to be present for the inspection?
It is highly recommended that you attend the home inspection. Being present during the inspection will help you understand the scope of work that is covered in the inspection, as well as provide valuable insights into the home.
Can the inspector fix problems that are discovered during an inspection?
Even if your inspector has the appropriate license to correct any deficiencies discovered during the inspection, current industry standards prohibit an inspector from working on the home till 12 months after the inspection was completed.
What happens if you discover defects during the inspection?
Nearly every home will have at least a few deficiencies. It is important to comprehend the severity of the defect. For example, for current industry standards, a handrail on a set of stairs is required if there are more than four risers, but this was not common practice on a home built 60-70 years ago. It’s unlikely that this defect is serious enough to warrant not purchasing the home. Conversely, the discovery of wood-destroying organisms, such as termites, would warrant an attempt to negotiate with the seller, or possibly walk away from purchasing the home. It is imperative that you speak with your licensed realtor about any defects discovered during the home inspection process.