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The purchase of a home is typically one of the largest single investments people make, and is usually their most valuable asset. Whether new, newer, older or very old construction, a qualified professional opinon on the condition of the property is vital to being well-informed in the sale/purchase transaction.

What a Home Inspection Should Include: To meet minimum guidelines for recognized standards of practice, a home inspection report should cover drainage and grading, the dwelling foundation, the building structure, exterior and roof, and its plumbing, electrical, heating and cooling systems and essential components. Inspection of the garage or carport should also be included. Inspection options may include swimming pools, built-in appliances or other components. Be sure your inspector performs to standards of practice acceptable to state law. 
The Real Reason for a Home Inspection: Obviously prudent people want to learn as much about a home as they can before closing escrow. What most buyers don't know is that California case law from the mid-1980's firmly placed disclosure respnsibilities upon sellers. Real estate agents now require that a waiver be signed if a buyer unwisely chooses not to have a home professionally inspected. The trend today is for wise sellers to secure their own separate home inspection report  prior to listing a property for sale.
How Much Home Inspections Cost: Inspection fees are usually quoted based on the size of the house, its age and construction type. Fees vary considerably, often $250-$500 for the same house and typically reflect the individual inspector's qualifications and experience. The lowest-priced inspection is probably not a bargain, and more likely to result in disappointment should important and costly conditions not be found and reported. The person whose first question to an inspector is "How much do you charge?" probably hasn't done their homework.
When to Request a Home Inspection: When an offer on a property has been accepted, countdown begins on an agreed contingency period, typically seventeen days or less, during which time buyers can exercise their right to have the home inspected and should immediately contact their inspector. Interviewing and selecting an inspector in advance will save valuably contingency period time, and make it much more likely the preferred inspector can schedule and coduct the inspection, provide the report and consult on findings.    
Who to Hire to do a Home Inspection: California does not license home inspectors. State law defines a home ispector as "any individual who performs a home inspection". A contractors license does not qualify a person to perform home inspections, which is a unique discipline requiring specialized knowledge and training. Insist on an inspector who has passed a rigorous test of knowledge to become a certified member of the California Real Estate Inspection Association (CREIA) or the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI).
Although the inspection of homes or other properties has been routine for many years, the practice of home inspection as a unique professional dicipline and the adoption of standards of practice and codes of ethics was established in the mid-1970's. Home buyers or sellers, even if they have had an inspection before need to know the facts about home inspections today.   
Why Not to Inspect a Home Yourself: Regardless of how knowledgeable a person may be about building or the construction trades, even the most experienced contractor or handiest of homeowners does not possess the knowledge base and skill of a qualified inspector. Beyond formal training, it typically takes somone entering the inspection field a couple of years full-time experience to rise to an appropriate level of competence. The services of a properly trained, experienced objective expert is the best choice to secure your investment.    
Why You Should Attend the Inspection: Being present at the time of the inspection provides the opportunity to observe the inspector at work. Inspection clients are invariably surprised at the amount of information qualified inspectors can capture about a home in just a few short hours. At the conclusion of his or her observations, through their process of discovery the inspector will be able to answer questions about the property, demonstrate key components of the home and point out any areas of concern they may have found.    
When an Inspection Reveals Problems: Rarely will an inspection report reflect a home with no negative issues. Experienced and seasoned inspectors will say they have never found the "perfect" home. Negative conditions discovered can run from the annoying and inconvenient to health or life safety issues and sometimes costly but necessary repairs or corrections. The inspector's challenge is to put the proper perspective on the overall condition of the property and communicate that informaiton to the inspection client.
Some Facts About "As-Is" Home Sales: There are some common misconceptions regarding the so-called "As Is" sale of real estate. When a property is sold "As Is", this does not relieve sellers of their responsibilities under California law to disclose all known material defects to a buyer. It is also a common error to think that disclosure alone relieves a seller from the burden of certain repairs. For example, an "As Is" sale does not exempt the seller from providing working smoke detectors and water heater strapping at close of escrow.
Why New Homes Should be Inspected: In the reality of new home construction, with developers' superintendents and subcontractors with deadlines to meet, and municpal building inspectors with heavy schedules to keep, things can and do get overlooked. Buyers are strongly advised to request an independent inspection to verify conditions, and the safe normal function of equipment and systems, and appliances prior to moving in and setting up housekeeping, and again before the builder's one-year warranty expires.
Click Here - For a Detailed List of What a P.I.C. Home Inspection Report Covers.
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