About Home Inspections
A standard home inspection is a visual examination of the physical structure
and major interior systems of a residential building consisting of one to
four dwelling units. An inspection can be compared to a physical exam by a
physician; however, it should be clearly understood that a home inspection
is not to be confused with an appraisal, a building code inspection, a
guarantee of any kind, and/or an insurance policy on the condition of the
During an inspection, the inspector will review the readily accessible
exposed portions of the structure of the home, including the roof, the
attic, walls, ceilings, floors, windows, doors, basement, and foundation as
well as the heating/air conditioning systems, interior plumbing and
electrical systems for potential problems.
Home inspections are not intended to point out every small problem or any
invisible or latent defect in a home. Most minor or cosmetic flaws, for
example, should be apparent to the buyer without the aid of a professional.
During the Home Inspection
While not necessary, it is recommended that the buyer be present for the
inspection. This allows the buyer to observe the inspector, ask questions
directly, and obtain a better understanding of the condition of the home,
how its systems work, and how to maintain it. The written report may be
easier to understand if the buyer was present during the inspection.
It is important that safe access and sufficient lighting is provided so that
the inspector can inspect the property.
Inspectors must provide a written evaluation report based on the standards
of compliance in accordance with San Diego city code..
At the conclusion of the home inspection, the buyer should be well informed
of the condition of the home. It should be known if there are visible,
apparent problems, if repairs need to be made, or whether or not there are
any risks of concealed damage, and whether further investigation is
recommended and/or required.
While most licensees conduct themselves as true professionals, the Division
of Professional Licensure will take action against those licensees who fail
to maintain acceptable standards of competence and integrity. In some cases,
complaints are made by dissatisfied consumers, however, dissatisfaction
alone is not proof of incompetence or sufficient grounds for disciplinary
Inspections and Tests to Consider
It is strongly recommended that potential buyers consider having the
following inspections and/or tests performed prior to signing the final
purchase agreement: lead paint, pests, wood destroying insects, including
termites, and air quality including radon gas. While some home inspectors
are qualified to offer these services, these inspections and tests are not
part of the basic home inspection and should be contracted through qualified
licensed professionals in those fields.
Selecting a Home Inspector
Good referral sources for home inspection services are friends, neighbors,
or business acquaintances who have been satisfied with a home inspector. In
addition, lawyers and mortgage brokers may also recommend a home inspector.
The names of local inspectors can be found by searching the internet, or in
the Yellow Pages where many advertise under "Building Inspection Service" or
"Home Inspection Service."
Real estate brokers and salesmen may not directly recommend a specific home
inspection company or home inspector unless representing the buyer as a
buyer's broker. Brokers, however, may provide assistance to buyers in
accessing information on licensed home inspectors.
A current home owner may also want to get a home inspection to identify any
problems, especially if the owner plans to sell the home in the near future.
Following are additional tips when searching for a home inspector:
home inspector's license should be verified prior to hiring. Consumers
should not be confused by home inspector "certifications" offered by, or
sold by home inspection trade societies or companies, obtained via home
study courses, or provided by home inspection companies that certify their
own home inspectors. Since the home inspection business is unregulated in
most states, certifications are available to anyone. A home inspector's
license can be verified with the Board of Registration of Home Inspectors
at its website.
home inspection company that is retained should welcome the potential
buyer's presence at the home inspection. The home inspector should be
willing to address all of the buyer's questions and provide a full verbal
and written report.
Those hiring an inspector should expect an open door policy from the home
inspection company to be able to ask questions about the content of the
home inspection report in the future.
the Home Inspection
A home inspector is typically hired by a potential homebuyer right after the
offer to purchase contract is signed, prior to executing the final purchase
and sales agreement. However, before the potential buyer signs the offer to
purchase contract, he/she should be sure that there is an inspection clause
in the contract making the purchase obligation contingent upon the findings
of a professional home inspection. This clause should specify the terms to
which both the buyer and seller are obligated.