Home Inspection FAQs

A Home Inspection is a significant final step when buying a home.

However, the inspection process can come with a lot of questions.

Listed below are some of the questions that home buyers frequently ask.

I hope these can help you make an educated decision before you start the home inspection phase!

Table of Contents

1. Why is Getting a Home Inspection Important?

The inspector is someone who works for you when you’re making one of the largest investments of your life and provides you with information that can save you money now and in the future.

A home inspection can help you discover large problems (new roof, new HVAC), or stop small problems from becoming big ones (a flashing leak on the roof that can take years to cause widespread damage).

If you don’t get an inspection you are relying on your own expertise and what’s written in the seller’s disclosure. Even the seller may not know what’s wrong. After all, that 20 year old water tank is working just fine; of course you’ll probably have to pay for a new one yourself in a couple of years.

A home inspection can help find out if you have high Radon levels or mold at the house. These are health risks that affect you and your family for years to come. Radon can be mitigated easily and you can include the cost in negotiations with the seller.

Maybe inspection findings can be used in obtaining other concessions from the seller. At the very least it will help you budget for unexpected costs in the future.

The inspection is not a pass or fail. It represents the current state of the house and helps you decide if you are spending your money wisely.

2. What Does a Home Inspection Cost?

Our Home Inspections are priced at $195 plus 5¢ per square foot.

Other factors include the home’s age and what services home buyers choose. You can get a price on the ‘Schedule your Inspection‘ page.

It’s always a smart idea to compare prices from several home inspection companies in your area, paying attention to exactly what is included for the price.

3. Should I Get a Home Inspection?

While it may seem obvious to get a home inspection if you are buying an older home, there are reasons to get all home purchases inspected, even newer homes.

While new build homes should come with fewer problems, builders always allocate work to local crews. It can be difficult to know if that crew is building to current specifications, is cutting corners to save money or is using outdated practices. They are on tight time scales and are working to a budget. Would you know if your new deck was attached to the band joist of the house correctly? You wouldn’t know until your deck collapses in a few years and the house is no longer under warranty!

Builders also offer warranties for the first year of ownership. If you don’t list an item on the 11th month inspection it could cost you later. Have an inspector take a look to make sure your 11th month inspection covers everything it needs to.

Newly renovated homes are often the trickiest for buyers. Often times, the people who renovated the house will renovate the kitchen, master bath and floors and often do nothing else. You could have problems with old mechanicals, issues in the attic, substandard electrical, roof problems, structural issues in the crawlspace etc. that the seller is hoping you’ll ignore when you look at the new counter tops. They’ll often skimp on items they think won’t add value, like adding new roof shingles without removing the old layer first.

It is also a good idea to get a home inspection if you’re selling your house. This can save you money. You won’t have to pay high rates to contractors to repair items at the last minute just to make sure the sale goes through. You can have your home inspected before you put it on the market and shop around and get quotes for repairs to items that might scare away buyers.

4. Does the Buyer Need to Be There for a Home Inspection?

Whether you attend the inspection is entirely up to you. Some like to be there for the whole inspection, some come at the end and others don’t come at all!

Ideally you would come to the inspection at some point. The inspector can show you first hand any problems or issues that have been discovered, and they can offer advice with ongoing maintenance of the house.

If you come for the entire inspection you should be aware that the inspector will at times be on the roof, in the crawlspace, in the attic or other places that could mean they’re unavailable and you may be waiting around.

If you can’t make it to the inspection for whatever reason, I will be happy to talk through the report with you over the phone so you’ll have a clearer idea of the issues with the house.

Also, the buying agent will often stop by to hear of any issues first hand that may require their attention.

5. Does the Homeowner Need to Be There for a Home Inspection?

Usually the owner is not present at the inspection. If the owner is present it’s usually not an issue, but some may be become uncomfortable or defensive watching someone look for problems in a house that they’ve lived in for many years.

The owner may also ask questions of the inspector that would be inappropriate for the inspector to answer, since the owner is not the client. If the owner is to be present it would be helpful to know before hand, so I can let them know what to expect.

6. What Are the Most Common Issues Found During a Home Inspection?

The most common issues of the home usually relate to the age of certain components, or to items that require regular maintenance.

The most common big ticket items are usually roof coverings and the age of mechanical items such as water heaters and HVAC units. Roofs are expensive to replace and often any repair or replacement will be done incorrectly by unqualified contractors. It is also usual for people to skip yearly maintenance on the mechanical items and only pay attention to them when they stop working.

Since electrical requirements are updated regularly it doesn’t take long for houses to be non-compliant with current standards. Most are grandfathered in for code purposes, but it doesn’t mean that new safety requirements, such as AFCI protection or carbon monoxide detectors, should be ignored.

Smaller items that are commonly found are lack of necessary insulation levels and gutter issues. Apart from newer homes, nearly every home is under-insulated. Gutter blockages, discharge, erosion and negative grading are the most common issues externally.

In older homes the sewer line is often compromised. Depressions, cracks, blockages and tree roots can cause problems that can be expensive to fix.

The high levels of humidity in Georgia also cause problems with mold and is very often a problem with houses that have a crawlspace.

Every house should be Radon tested. Radon is a radioactive gas caused by the decomposition of uranium in the bed rock. It can become a long term health issue and causes many deaths in Georgia every year. High Radon levels are common in north and central Georgia. The test is relatively cheap and it’s not difficult to mitigate high Radon levels.

7. How Long Does a Home Inspection Take?

Since there is no such thing as a standard inspection it’s impossible to give an exact time, but usually it will take around 4 hours. The exact time will depend on the size and condition of the home, as well as any ancillary services that have been requested.

8. What is Inspected in a Home Inspection?

The Standards of Practice (SOP) provided by InterNACHI will provide a list of what’s inspected. Often I (and most inspectors) will exceed these requirements, but it will give you a good idea of what to expect. See those standards here.

A more visual representation of what’s inspected can be found under the ‘Your Inspection‘ tab.

9. How Much Will Repairs Cost?

Repair estimates can often be difficult to answer. Often contractors will have wildly different cost estimates and you will have to make your own judgment on the cost versus value that the contractor provides.

The aim of the inspection is to let you know which kind of experts to contact and what questions to ask them.

10. What is IAQ (Mold Testing)?

Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) testing is an additional service that tests the level of mold spores and allergens in an area of the house. If the house smells musty there could be an air quality issue. Since the fungi that causes mold is constantly around us inside and outside the house, an outdoor sample is taken as a baseline to measure against. High levels of mold air spores often cause breathing difficulties for those who suffer from asthma or allergies.

Spot samples and carpet samples can also be taken to test for mold growth or presence in specific places. The samples are then express shipped to a lab for analysis. The cost includes the test, test samples, express shipping and lab analysis.

11. What is a Sewer Scope?

A sewer scope is a camera that is fed down the sewer line to check for any irregularities. Often there may be tree roots, cracks, dips, blockages or backups, especially in older houses or houses with trees. The scope will cover the sewer line up to the mains sewer since it’s the responsibility of the homeowner.

Shortly after the inspection you will receive a report that will have a video of the entire inspection, along with recommendations of what to do next.

12. What is Radon?

Radon is an odorless and colorless radioactive gas caused by uranium breaking down in the bedrock.

It’s a long term health issue that causes many deaths in Georgia every year. The test is cheap and remediation is fairly easy. A more detailed explanation can be found here.

13. Why Wasn’t Something Inspected?

It should be noted that a home inspection is visual only. Since the house belongs to someone else it would not be appropriate for me to move personal items, make holes in drywall, disconnect items or cause other damage in an attempt to find issues.

Other items, such as most electrical, plumbing, ductwork etc., cannot be seen because it is behind finished drywall. Some items may be out of reach, such as vents, soffits, chimney caps etc.

Also, please remember that I can only report on what was seen on the day of the inspection. Circumstances with the house may have changed after the inspection took place. However, if you have any questions about the inspection, please do not hesitate to contact me.

14. How Do I Book and Pay for an Inspection?

You can book online here. You can also book with me directly by calling or texting (678) 203 9669.

Once you have booked your inspection you will receive a confirmation email and/or text.

You will also receive an inspection agreement that you should read carefully. Each ancillary service will also have its own agreement. You can sign the agreements by clicking the checkbox and the end of each agreement. This certifies that you have read and understood its contents.

Please call if you have any questions about the agreements you are signing.

You can pay by credit card online or in person, cash, check, PayPal or Venmo. Instructions for paying online by credit card will be included in the same message as the inspection agreement.