Does A Brand New House Need An Inspection?
Absolutely! Most builders try to provide a high quality house, but they have to balance that with staying competitive. For builders, it often comes down to 'survival of the cheapest'. Much work is done by sub-contractors. The pool of skilled labor is steadily shrinking. Coordinating schedules between different trades is a juggling act. New products are constantly being introduced into the market adding even more confusion.
Municipal inspectors try to do a good job but they're under-paid and vastly over-worked, often looking at dozens of houses each day. A thorough home inspection takes hours, not minutes. Municipal inspectors simply don't have the manpower to find all the construction defects.
If you're not convinced yet then look at some example photos of defects I've found in new construction.
How Much Does A Home Inspection Cost?
"The bitterness of poor quality lingers long after the sweetness of a cheap price is forgotten."
The cost of a home inspection is usually a small fraction of the cost to repair the problems discovered — truly the deal of a lifetime!
The minimum fee of $400 will cover smaller homes that are fairly new. Condominium inspection fees are lower. Fees are higher for larger homes and older homes because they take longer to inspect. Travel fees may also apply depending on where the property is located.
It's not practical to give pricing on the web or by email, so please call and I'll be glad to give you a firm price. Be prepared to describe things such as size, age and foundation configuration (does it have a crawl space?).
Why Do Your Competitors Cost Less?
All home inspectors are not equal. You only have one chance to get a good home inspection. You don't want cheap — you want the best home inspection possible! Saving a few bucks by using a bargain-priced home inspector could cost you thousands of dollars in repair costs in the long run.
I know it's hard to compare the quality of a professional service; that's why I have sample home inspection reports right here online. If you're still thinking of going with a cheap home inspector then get a sample of their report and compare it with mine. You really do get what you pay for.
For more information about differences in price read "Why Choose Cornerstone Inspection?"
What's Included In The Inspection?
A home inspection is a visual evaluation of the major systems in the house including structure, roof, exterior, heating/cooling, plumbing, electrical and the interior. As long as it's safe and accessible I'll walk on roofs, enter attics and crawl spaces, remove access panels and operate equipment. I'll look at every room in the house using the Standards of Practice of the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI®). See the sample home inspection reports to get a better idea of what's included in the inspection.
May I Attend The Inspection?
Yes, you should attend the inspection to get the most benefit. Be suspicious of any inspector who doesn't want you along during the inspection.
When Should I Call To Schedule The Inspection?
As soon as possible after you have a signed purchase contract. I'm often scheduled a week or more in advance, so make sure that your purchase contract has plenty of time for you to get repair estimates for major problems that might show up during the inspection.
For newly constructed homes, schedule the inspection a few days before your walk-through with the builder so that you'll have my written report in your hands before the walk-through. You should schedule warranty inspections at least a month before your warranty expires. Again, keep in mind that I'm often booked a week or more in advance.
How Do I Prepare For The Inspection?
It's the seller's responsibility to get the house ready for the inspection. The seller should:
- Have all utilities turned on (water, electric and gas).
- Have all gas appliances ready to run with pilot lights turned on.
- Clear access to areas like attics, crawl spaces, electric panels and furnaces.
- Unlock areas such as storage closets, fence gates, electric panels and crawl space hatches.
- Remove pets from the property, or secure them so they are not free to roam.
To help you get the most benefit from the inspection you should leave the kids at home — you won't be able to pay attention to them and the inspection at the same time. For the same reason, if you have family members or friends who would like to see the house you should arrange that for another time.
When Will The Report Be Ready?
Normally the next business day after the inspection by e-mail or fax, but sometimes it takes a few extra days. When ordering, please let me know of your deadline.
What If The Inspection Reveals Problems?
I may find things that weren't expected. That's what you want, right? No house is perfect, not even new construction. The report is not a seller's "Must-Fix" list; it's just an impartial reporting of condition giving you clear direction for what should be done about each problem. Every situation is different — it's up to you and your real estate agent to decide how to proceed after the inspection.
Are There Limitations To The Inspection?
Yes, I can't see through walls or predict the future! If I could do either of those, I'd be in another line of work earning a lot more money. Keep in mind that a home inspection lasts only a few hours, and it's not technically exhaustive. A home inspection is not an appraisal or a check for compliance with building codes and it's not an evaluation for any biological or environmental hazards.
Do You Offer A Guarantee?
No. Something can look just fine today and still break tomorrow. I do my best to give you the most thorough inspection possible, but I'm human. There is no way that anyone could find all the defects in a house in only a few hours. Keep in mind that the purpose of the inspection is to find major problems that would keep you from purchasing the house, not to find every small maintenance item.
If you want a home warranty they are available through other sources, but they often cover only very limited items. Read the exclusions carefully.
For another perspective, read the article on Breakdowns by newspaper columnist/home inspector Walter Jowers. It's required reading for all home buyers.
But Your Competitor Offers A Guarantee!
If you think you're going to get a meaningful guarantee from another home inspector then you need to get the fine print and read it very carefully. Most guarantees from home inspectors are only marketing gimmicks that are riddled with loopholes.
Will Cornerstone Perform Or Manage Any Repair Work?
No. That would be a direct conflict of interest.
Are You Licensed?
There is no licensing for home inspectors in Colorado — anyone can claim to be a home inspector. Hiring a professional engineer (PE) is the best way to ensure the quality of your inspection.
Are You Certified?
A certification is only as good as the organization that issues it. Recently, some "organizations" have entered the lucrative business of handing out a certification to anyone who will send them a check, regardless of actual qualifications. Although appearing to be non-profit professional societies, they're actually for-profit companies with on-line, un-proctored exams. Anyone could stand over the applicant's shoulder and feed them the right answers. Highly deceptive.
If someone tells you that they're certified, be sure to check up on the organization that's doing the certification. I'm a full member of ASHI, the oldest, largest and most respected professional society in the industry.
What If I Have Questions Later?
Your understanding of the home is my highest priority. You can ask questions for as long as you own your home. There's no charge as long as I can answer by phone or e-mail without coming back out to the house.