What is a Home Inspection?
It is a documented general review by a qualified and state licensed inspector of the readily observable and accessible systems and components of a home that is under contract to determine if there are any unknown deficiencies that are present or may develop that could impact the safety of the home’s occupants and visitors or require an out of pocket expenditure to correct in order to restore the system or component to its expected level of performance.
General Review – It is a visual review of the home’s Exterior, Roof, Structure, Foundation, Insulation, Ventilation, Interior, Plumbing, Electrical, Heating, and Cooling, systems. It is not a technically exhaustive review such in determining if the heating or cooling system is sized correctly or if the electrical power or water supply is adequate for the future occupant’s needs, but rather it is intended to identify if a system or component is absent or not working properly as installed or is creating another unintended problem for the home or a safety issue for the occupants.
Sometimes this general review recommends that a specialist such as an electrician, HVAC technician, or plumber is called in to provide an estimate of repair and a solution to correct the observed deficiency. This in fact is how the home inspection industry was born – so that a home buyer did not have to go and hire a separate trade person to evaluate each component of the home; ie. a plumber, an electrician, a roofer, a foundation repair contractor, an HVAC tech, etc. The Home Inspector is quite often compared to a general practicing doctor who may find a problem during a physical review of a patient and recommend a specialist such as an Oncologist or Neurologist to diagnose and recommend a specific course of treatment.
Readily Observable and Accessible – Refers to areas of the home that can be accessed without damaging the property or in the opinion of the inspector, be safely entered or opened. Getting on a roof in the wintertime is not safe. Opening an electrical panel while standing in a wet basement is not safe. Cutting a hole in the drywall to inspect plumbing or electrical wiring obviously damages the home’s interior and makes the Seller mad.
Unknown Current and Future Deficiencies – Current and past deficiencies, if known to a Seller are supposed to be disclosed on a disclosure document. If the exterior of the home needs painted, that is something that is obvious to anyone who looks at the home. These disclosures and obvious issues are readily observable to both the Seller and potential Buyer and form part of the basis for the agreed upon contract purchase price. However, the Inspection Contingency portion of the purchase agreement allows the Buyer X amount of days to have access to the home to inspect it on their own or hire a professional.
SO since buying a home usually represents the single largest purchase of a person’s life, it would make sense that they would go over it with a fine toothed comb so to speak, to ensure that there are no or minimal surprises when they take over ownership.
Now, there are several cities in the Cleveland area that require a Point of Sale inspection be performed by city employees. I repeat, city employees. However, these inspections are nowhere as thorough and as detailed as a professional fee paid inspection.
Qualified Inspector – In Ohio there is a licensing requirement that was supposed to go into effect in 2020 for anyone to perform a fee paid inspection for a home buyer in a real estate transaction. But beyond that obviously there should be some basis by which a person becomes qualified to perform fee paid inspections since such a person takes on a lot of liability. We are ASHI inspectors and certified inspectors which requires us to have achieved a level of compentency above the state minimum requirements such as completing 250 fee paid inspections that have been audited for adherrence to the ASHI standard.