Real estate sale/purchase transactions are generally a special and infrequent event for the typical inspection client. Buyers or sellers of homes or other properties may need the services of an inspection professional perhaps only a few times in their lives. Getting the most from a qualified P.I.C. inspection report will be vital to the successful closing of the transaction.
The essential primary component in the inspection of any home or other property will be the background, knowledge and experience of the inspection professional selected. In California's essentially unregulated home inspection business where inspectors are not state licensed, qualifications, levels of experience, depth and quality of inspection services vary widely.
Qualifying Your Inspector:
Inspection clients have their choice of an inspector, and recommendations or introductions can come from a variety of personal or business trusted sources. As with the selection of any a professional service provider, comparison of credentials, experience and reputation should be the first order of business and the key to a good inspection experience. The product of an inspector's work is information critical to the client's need to be best informed about the condition of a property. Beyond appropriate qualifications and knowledge, effective communication skills and avaliability for follow-up consultation play an important part in a successful inspection.
Recognized Standards of Practice, such as those published and maintained by CREIA and ASHI, provide minimum guidelines and establish a basic inspection scope for the generalist practitioner. Inspectors and clients may, by written agreement, modify an inspection to either add optional services, or exclude certain systems or components from a report. If for example it might already be known that a roof was in need of replacement, a client may not need or wish to have the roof inspected. Similarly, if the property had a swimming pool, horse barn or other outbuildings, the inspector may agree to include such features or amenities in their report.
Agreeing on Inspection Scope:
Preparing for the Inspection:
Making a property ready for inspection is important to a full and complete report. Inaccessible building areas, obstructed equipment or components can result in unknown conditions and necessitate a return visit to the property at additional expense. For obvious reasons of liability, inspectors do not move or remove any obstructions in the course of their on-site inspection work. Confirming and/or preparing access to building areas or components commonly found inaccessible such as underfloor crawlspace and attic cavity access openings, furnaces, water heaters and electrical distribution panels is absolutely necessary.
Participating in the Inspection:
Seasoned inspectors welcome and prefer that clients, and their agents attend the inspection. Inspectors have a lot to observe in order to render an opinion on the condition of a property. In the space of just a few hours they have to figure out sometimes several decades of a building's history. Discussion of findings with your inspector at the property is the best prelude to fully understanding the contents of the inspection report. At the end of the inspection your inspector will be able to answer questions, can point out or demonstrate any areas of concern discovered and put a good perspective to the overall property condition.
Follow-Up & Discuss Report Information:
Inspection of a home or other property is not a one-day event, it takes advance planning, preparation and execution and most importantly follow through after the inspection by consultation with the inspector on their findings. When properly planned and conducted, the inspection will provide a wealth of information in your inspection report. The value of the inspector's work will be reflected in the client's understanding and utilization of information provided in their report. Putting that information to work is the buyer's or seller's responsibility, and can only happen if the inspection client reads the full report and consults with their inspector on any questions or concerns they may have, and involves their real state representative.
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