Profile picture for jameskim80

when you buy house what does inspector checks ?

questions

1. what does inspector checks? just bing things?
    just sewer and electricity like big things?
    or do they check every single things?
2. can i check some of things too ? before i signed final closing documents?
   like open the oven / turn on the heater / open/close grange doors
3. my agent is keep saying i can't inspect or check anything.
    i dont understand why can't i ? I'm the one who is going to live but why i can't check anything ?
4. please tell me what does inspector going to check? in detail .
please help.
thankyou 
  • January 06 2014 - South Tacoma
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Answers (22)

It depends upon the inspection company you hire. Most of them will tell you exactly what is covered in their inspection.
 For "Home Inspection"
  They check the appliances, to be sure everything is working. They do look at the electrical, to make sure it is up to current code, if it's not...they will certainly let you know. They will check the water and some of the exterior plumbing. My inspector goes in the attic, under the house and on the roof too and will point out any issues with those structures.
  You might have trouble with the owner if you "check everything" yourself, because you do not own the house yet and you are not bonded or protected if you were somehow hurt while doing so. It's best to leave the inspection...to the inspectors. They do a great job and will point out what you need to know.
For Pest Inspection
This is done by a Termite Company and they check for active infestation of termites.
  • December 13 2014
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Important to note that things differ by state. In Washington state, Home Inspectors must be licensed. Many are also licensed to report on Wood Destroying Organisms........quality Realtors know which Inspectors are worthy! As to the initial question, you as the Buyer are paying for the Inspection, and you will likely be there when it is completed. Of course you can turn on the oven, the heater, and open and close the garage door. I bet if you watch your Inspector, you will see that all those things are being done as part of the whole house inspection.
  • May 15 2014
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Kary, thanks for bringing that up. That is exactly my experience. I suspect that most of the old-school inspectors who had gotten licensed with the DofA maintained that, and I woulda thunk that the new breed that got licensed through the DOL would have also - since the extensive training reminds them that, technically, identifying dry rot and rodent infestation is a "pest inspection - gotten licensed with the DofA.

  • January 08 2014
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"Sunnyview, no one was claiming that a pest inspection was the same as a whole house inspection,"

@Mr. Krismer
There is no issue. Never said that anyone claimed that the two inspections are the same, but many new/first time buyers are not aware that they are different and done by two different types of inspectors.

As for other part of the country, you are right different states have different practices. Sellers were forbidden from paying for a "clear" pest inspection for sale purposes in my home state. That had to be done by the buyer there.

However, I was a bit shocked when I moved to another state that sellers were allowed to provide buyers with a "clear" pest inspection before sale and that many buyers routinely relied on them. I mentioned it because allowing seller's provide a "clear pest" can be problematic. Buyers should do their own inspections.
  • January 08 2014
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Profile picture for Renae Fulton
Home inspection is an important process to home ownership. In my local area the home inspectors are licensed by the state and operate as independent contractors. You may wish to contact a real estate agent in your area to see if they can provide names of home inspectors. I would encourage you to contact them to express your concern. They are not "specialist" in one particular area. If they see indications of an issue they will recommend you seek further professional service. All the best.
  • January 08 2014
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Sunnyview, no one was claiming that a pest inspection was the same as a whole house inspection, or visa versa.  It was first mentioned as being something the typical house inspector might not do, in part due to licensing issues, like a sewer scope.  

The subsequent post was just addressing the licensing history in Washington state, and giving a link so that people can see if their inspector is licensed to do pests.

Finally, I've never seen a seller do a pest inspection.  That might be more common in other parts of the country.
  • January 08 2014
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Profile picture for sunnyview
A whole house inspection is not the same as a pest inspection. Buyers need to have both. I would check the ASHI website for inspectors since that professional organizations has some of the highest standards for membership and make sure that if licensing is required in your state that the inspector is licensed.

Buyers should not accept seller's pest inspections and should hire their own inspector. In some states that is required, but in others buyers often end up relying on the seller's pest inspection which can be dangerous. A pest inspection is not expensive and is worth every penny.
  • January 08 2014
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Mack, there has not been licensing for home inspectors for that many years.  Before then what many did to give some appearance of respectability was become licensed as pest inspectors.  Apparently though although I consider it worth my while to take continuing education courses for both the Washington State Bar Association and for my real estate license, most of the inspectors didn't want to take courses (and pay fees) for both licenses.  Presumably though, even if not licensed they would see most of the tell tale signs, but they cannot hold themselves out as pest inspectors.

BTW, home inspectors are licensed by the Department of Licensing, just as real estate agents are.  Pest inspectors are the Department of Agriculture.

http://agr.wa.gov/PestFert/LicensingEd/Search/

  • January 08 2014
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The last home inspector my buyers hired checked the roof, attic, yard, exterior, garage, kitchen, living space, fireplace, bathroom, bedrooms, laundry room, heating system, central air, electrical, structure, basement, and plumbing.  I know my buyer called around five differenct home inspectors and asked many questions.  They also asked for sample forms and if they took photos of all the issues.  When you do your home inspection you will be there when its completed so everything you would want checked they will do, and if he doesn't I would just ask.

  • January 07 2014
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Here in California it's a big deal to use a home inspector, we also have a termite company come and do a separate inspection. The home inspector checks everything from top to bottom. He crawls in the attic or crawl space, he inspects the roof, he checks the plumbing, the electrical, the foundation, the appliances, the garage, and the list goes on. It is extremely important to get a home inspection I've had inspectors find mold which saved my buyers a lot of money and pain. We have a release of liability our buyers have to sign if they decide not to get a home inspection. This is how important it is in California. I've had buyers get home inspections on even brand new homes and there were a lot of things found. So it's a great idea to get one. I hope this helps!
  • January 07 2014
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I'm surprised that there are people in Washington State who are doing home inspections without being licensed pest inspectors, that would seem to make them almost worthless as inspectors!

James, you can see a sample inspector's report by googling "4 seasons home inspections" - if I post the website here, the moderator will delete it.

All the best,
  • January 07 2014
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Assuming you're talking about Tacoma, or at least Washington state, the inspector will likely not test for things like mold or insect issues, although they may recommend further testing in such areas, depending on what they see.  Similarly, they may partially disassemble and then look inside the furnace, but suggest further inspection and/or maintenance by a furnace technician.  They also will not do what is called a sewer scope, sending a camera down the line to the sewer main, which can be a very important inspection depending on the age of the house and where it's located.  The reason they don't do insects and sewer scoping is likely licensing.  Few home inspectors are still licensed to do pest inspections (it used to be more common), and probably only a hand full are licensed plumbers.

And speaking of licensing, here is a link to the Washington Administrative Code which shows what home inspectors are allowed to do, and what they are prohibited from doing.

http://apps.leg.wa.gov/wac/default.aspx?cite=308-408c&full=true

That should give you some idea of the detail of an inspection.  Some inspectors follow these guidelines fairly closely.

Finally, again assuming you're talking about Washington state, your agent is wrong about you being able to inspect things yourself.  They may not want you to do that for fear that they will be responsible if you break something, but there is no prohibition on you doing your own inspection, or inspecting alongside the inspector.  What your agent cannot do is assist you in having someone else who is not you, and who is not a licensed inspector, inspect your house.  Thus, they cannot let you and your father into the house to do an inspection (although they could let you and your father in to observe a licensed home inspector.
  • January 07 2014
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I will often arrange the inspection for my clients with their consent. Most buyers don't use inspectors regularly so it is a crap shoot if they randomly pick someone. I have worked with many inspectors and there are good inspectors and there are bad inspectors. through experience, we know which ones to hire for our clients. For example I work with one inspector who spends a great deal of time explaining all the systems in a home. He is great for first time buyers as they need the education. However someone who has bought several homes has no interest in hearing these things. Your agent may be able to refer a great inspector that will get the job done for you. But ultimately you need to feel comfortable with the inspector. You can also take a chance and pick someone from the phone book. It's completely up to you.
  • January 07 2014
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Profile picture for wetdawgs
You need to hire the inspector.   The agent may have some recommendations, you can get recommendations elsewhere and then make a choice. You don't have much time from the time of offer until the inspection results need to be back, evaluated and comments to the seller.
  • January 06 2014
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You need to screen and hire the inspector yourself. The agent may give recommendations, however you aren't obligated to use who they recommend. I do not recommend allowing the agent to handle everything, verifying that the due diligence (the inspection is part of the due diligence) is done to your satisfaction and no major surprises are found before signing off on contingencies is your responsibility. I would be very wary of any agent that wants to handle it all for you.
  • January 06 2014
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Each state and region may be different,  however in Western KY, you most certianly can inspect the property you are buying.  The catch is the seller may not fix any of it unless it's inspected by a professional.  I wouldn't buy any property without personally inspecting it.  The professionals check for the unseen, and may catch things you haven't thought of and certianly can't see.
  • January 06 2014
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Profile picture for jameskim80
my agent said he will get the inspection for me..

i thought i have to hire inspection.

who needs to hire inspection ? me or my agent?
  • January 06 2014
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Profile picture for 1AllisonSmith
The best answer is to ask the inspector that you are hiring.  Again, you are getting responses from agents that are from outside of Washington and they are telling you things that may not pertain here.  
  • January 06 2014
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You are paying a professional to inspect a property for you. This would include the big ticket items, roof, AC, obvious structural condition, plumbing , electricity. The lesser items would appliances, IF they are included. Finally cosmetics, walls, floors, doors, cabinets etc. What you get at the end is a reasonable inspection based on those items. 
Regarding you trying things like stove, washer etc, no, I wouldn't recommend that. Leave it to the professionals as there is a liability involved and they are insured for this. 
There are many types of inspections to be aware of. You will also want to hire an inspector to test for WDO or termites. If the property is waterfront you might consider hiring an expert to gauge viability of boatlifts or docks for the type and size of your vessel. 
When you get the inspection, couple of things to keep in mind: Are you buying "AS IS"? If so, the inspection let you know what you will have to take care of once you own the home.
Your agent should have some suggestions for the various inspections. In Florida, we get an inspection called a Wind Mitigation which helps to determine how protected your property is for insurance purposes. No matter where you live, there are issues to deal with, be sure to check your area.
Good luck.
  • January 06 2014
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you are the one that " hires " and pays for the inspection .....so  ask these questions  to inspector  as you hire them
  • January 06 2014
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Profile picture for wetdawgs
What inspectors check tends to vary from inspector to inspector.  It would be a good idea to ask the inspector you hire.   (Like all professions, there are good ones and bad ones).  Here's a link to an inspection checklist.

When you, the potential buyer, walk through a home of interest you certainly can turn switches and look at items.  I turn on every light switch (and then off again), faucets, check the roof from afar with binocs, check the siding and paint, and many other things. 
  • January 06 2014
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Profile picture for JoellenRI
Inspectors check every aspect of the home. From the exterior, roof, siding and drainage to the mechanical systems of the home like heating, a/c, plumbing ect. They will also test for lead, radon, water quality and septic if desired by buyer. 
  • January 06 2014
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