Do I really need a home inspection?

Where do I find a home inspector?

For most persons, purchasing a home in Lynchburg Va is the largest investment they will ever make. 

It is no wonder then that many home buyers employ professionals to inspect the structural and mechanical systems of the home and report to them on their condition.  Sometimes sellers also employ home inspectors to alert them to problems with their homes, which could arise later in the transaction.  Nevertheless, normally buyers employ home inspectors.
Most home buyers lack the knowledge, skill and emotional detachment needed to inspect homes themselves.  By using the services of a home inspector, they can gain a better understanding of the condition of the property, especially whether any items do not "function as intended" or "adversely affect the habitability of the dwelling' or "warrant further investigation" by a person who specializes in the item in question.

Obtaining a professional home inspection is one of the most important aspects of purchasing a home. 

Unfortunately, the expertise of inspectors varies greatly, and home inspectors are not regulated or licensed in Virginia. 

However, may good inspectors are available:  the key is finding a good home inspector in Lynchburg Va.  Since 2003 any property inspectors have been required to complete educational and competency standards under the Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation.  Home buyers can then seek out "certified home inspectors" who have demonstrated the knowledge and skills necessary to perform professional inspections of homes.  In the meantime, here is a list of home inspectors in the Lynchburg Va area.
You can arrange for the home inspection or I can assist you.  Unless otherwise agreed, the person that orders the home inspection is responsible for payment of the subsequent inspection at the time of the inspection.  If the inspection is to be performed after you sign a purchase contract, be sure to schedule the home inspection as soon as possible to allow adequate time for any repairs to be performed.
If you are purchasing a somewhat unique home (such as historic property, far, rehab), ask if the inspector has experience with that type of property.  Consider ordering specialized inspections for systems such as heating and cooling, solar, alarm or security, pools and spas, etc.  Look for contractors specifically experienced with those systems.  Explain up front that you will not request repairs from their firm.  A good inspector only performs inspections.  Do not hire an inspector who claims to make corrective repairs as identified by the inspection.  This is the best way to avoid conflict of interest issues.

A home inspection is an evaluation of the visible and accessible systems and components of a home (plumbing system, roof, etc.) and is intended to give the client (usually a home buyer) a better understanding of their condition. 

It is also important to know what a home inspection is not!  It is not an appraisal of the property's value; nor should you expect it to address the cost of repairs.  It does not guarantee that the home complies with local building codes (which are subject to periodic change) or protect you in the event of an item inspected fails in the future. [Note: Warranties can be purchased to cover many items.]  Nor should it be considered a "technical exhaustive" evaluation, but rather an evaluation of the property on the day it is inspected, taking into consideration normal wear and tear.
While the Home Inspector Board has established a minimum requirement for report writing, reports can vary greatly.  They can range from a "check list" of the systems and components to a full narrative evaluation or any combination of the two.  Home inspectors are required to give you a written "summary" of their inspection identifying any system or component that does not function as intended, or adversely affects the habitability of the dwelling, or appears to warrant further investigation by a specialist.  The summary does not necessarily include all items that have been found to be defective or deficient.  Therefore, do not read only the summary.  Carefully read and understand the entire home inspection report.
Before any repairs are made (except emergency repairs), call the inspector or inspection company to discuss the problem.  Many times a "trip charge" can be saved by explaining the problem to the inspector who can answer the question over the telephone.  This also gives the inspector a chance to promptly handle any problems that may have been overlooked in the inspection.

A few questions to ask before you hire the home inspector can include:

  1. Are you a full time inspector?
  2. Are you a member of a professional association?
  3. Do you hold any special licenses or degrees? (electrician, plumber, engineer, general contractor, claims adjuster, etc.)
  4. How many inspections have you performed?
  5. What type of report do you provide?  When is the report available?
  6. May I check you recent references?
  7. Can the inspector return to look at repairs made after the inspection?

Once you have chosen a home inspector for your new Lynchburg home purchase, plan to be present for the inspection and pay close attention. 

You will learn a lot about the home and the future maintenance that may be necessary.  Do not bring friends, children, decorators, painters, or contractors along.  Avoid being distracted from the inspection; this is the best opportunity to learn about your prospective new home.
Your inspector may point out "wear and tear" flaws or minor cosmetic deficiencies.  Nevertheless, it is important to understand that the purpose of the inspections is to uncover major defects for which you may be able to negotiate with the seller for corrective repairs.  Make any such requests for repairs in writing.  Get repair estimates from qualified contractors.  We can prepare the documentation together and I will present it to the seller or sellers agent as part of the negotiation.

A home inspection cannot eliminate all future maintenance problems, but it can give you a detailed understanding of the home's condition at the time you purchase it. 

A careful inspection will help you avoid costly surprises.  For further protection, you may want to consider purchasing a home warranty or home protection plan.