What is a Pre-Purchase Real Estate Inspection?

A Pre-Purchase Real Estate Inspection (Residential or Commercial) is an evaluation of the serviceability, by visual survey, of certain fixed components of a property. The components surveyed, or inspected, are determined by the individual inspection company's agenda or standards of practice unless legislated by law.
The preparation of a written report of any findings is almost unversal. The primary report should be clear and concise, yet comprehensive.
The inspection process should provide the client with a better understanding of the property and its components and should make clear the general condition of the property as found at the time of the inspection. 
The purpose of the inspection is inform the buyer or the seller of the condition of the building prior to purchasing or placing the property on the market. There are risks in buying or selling real estate. The Pre-Purchase Inspection can reduce these risks considerably.

What does the inspector look for?

Inspectors look for significant problems and try to determine whether hazardous or major deferred maintenance situations exist. Few inspectors will report on cosmetic defects unless the defect is known to accelerate component failure. Generally, the inspection is limited to visible conditions, although some companies may have equipment that can detect hidden or latent defects.

The following items, if visible, are surveyed during a routine Home Inspection:

Landscaping, Drainage & Grading
General Exterior & Roof
Heating and Air Conditioning Systems
Water & Plumbing Systems
Electrical Systems
Bathrooms
General Interior
Kitchen & Appliances
Structure and Foundation

What are examples of problems found during the inspection?

The following are common situations noted during inspections of properties which were between 7 and 12 years old:

Deteriorating Roofs (40% of homes inspected)
Corroded Pipes or Leaks in Plumbing(37%)
Cracked or Damaged Windows (18%)
Water Heater Problems (81%)
Fireplace Problems (41%)
Air Conditioner or Heater Problems (19%)
Electrical Problems (91%).
Loose or Leaking Toilets (49%).
Kitchen Appliance Problems (41%).
Structural Problems (8%).

How does ProTec differ from other inspection companies?

Pre-Purchase real estate inspection companies vary widely in their procedure of analysis and reporting. Some companies offer simple lists of deficiencies, with little or no explanation. These may take only 30 minutes to complete. Other companies offer reports that are so technical that clients are often lost in the verbiage. These may take up to five hours to complete. Almost all inspection companies prepare and deliver the report within one to six days.
A few companies, using "high-tech" report formats, can deliver a completed report at the site, which provides the buyer with easy-to-read information, reaching any technical depth desired. These are known as "book-style" report formats. ProTech uses the "Uniform Building Inspection Report", which is the highest rated book-style report format in the country.

What qualifications should I look for in an inspector?

Inspectors should be well versed in all fields of construction and should have good communication skills. Be aware that most states do not require licensing of Real Estate Inspectors, therefore, Inspectors are not tested for any of the skills which should be required. There are several Real Estate Inspector Training Schools in the United States and some Inspectors, having completed the requirements of one of these schools, would certainly be more qualified than those having no formal training.
Since the inspection service is completed at the site, with no further considerations, it is of the utmost importance that you obtain the services of the most qualified Inspector.

Should my Inspector be a member of a 
professional organization or network?


Being a member of an organization with specific interests can be very helpful for the inspector and ultimately for the client. Useful and important information is exchanged between members of an organization. The individual member has access to ongoing education and programs. Organizations such as the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI), North American Associated Inspectors (NAAI), TWI Affiliates and numerous other state and local associations provide members with Standards of Practice and Codes of Ethics. Organizations require members to pass rigorous entrance exams, to obtain continuing education credits yearly and to maintain a specific degree of professionalism.

When should the inspection be ordered?
Who should order the inspection?


Schedule the inspection to fall within the allocated time set forth in your escrow instructions. Check with your real estate agent. Most inspection companies need two to five days to schedule and perform the inspection. Companies providing on-site reports will often be able to perform the inspection with less advance notice.
Although some real estate agents schedule the inspection of behalf of the buyers, many encourage the buyer to make arrangements directly with the inspection company. This gives the buyer an opportunity to ask questions about the inspection and about other concerns her or she may have.

Should I attend the inspection?
How long does an inspection take?

Experienced Inspectors feel that to maximize the value of the inspection and the comprehension of subjective situations arising during an inspection, the buyer's attendance is virtually required.
During the inspection, ask plenty of questions. The Inspector is there to help you.,
A typical inspection will last from one and a half to two and a half hours. If there are an exceptional number of problems or questions, an inspection could last longer, as needed.

Where can I find more information?

The following links may be helpful:

North American Associated Inspectors
TWI Affiliates
Inspection Zone

 

 

 

 

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Real Estate Inspection Services, Inc.