Home Inspection: what it is… what it is not … and how to get the most out of it!

What it IS:

  • A home inspection is an examination of the present condition of the home’s major systems.  Home inspectors, and what/how they inspect, is regulated by the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) and the Florida Standards of Practice.
  • An inspection includes readily accessible, installed systems and components:
    • Structural components
    • Electrical System
    • Heating and Cooling systems
    • Roof/Attic
    • Plumbing
    • Interior Components (windows, doors, stairways, fireplaces, etc)
    • Exterior Components (siding, patios, walkways, driveways, etc)
    • Appliances
  • Home inspections are non-invasive – Inspectors don’t move furniture, rearrange closets, see through walls or under the ground, dismantle components, enter a dangerous situation or move any of the seller’s personal items.  

**Click for a full and complete copy of the entire Florida Standards of Practice***

What it is NOT:

  • It is not a pass/fail or opinion of a property. Your inspector will tell you about the condition of the house, but will not make a call on whether it’s a good idea to buy it or not.  It is up to you to work with your agent and determine if an item is worth fixing, if you want the seller to repair it, and/or if your contract requires the seller to fix it.
  • It is not a warranty or prediction on how long the system and components will function
  • It is not a guarantee against FUTURE defects or problems
  • It does not cover:
    • code compliance
    • verification of permits
    • presence of pests (termites, rodents, etc)
    • wells or septic systems
    • cosmetic issues
    • presence of environmental hazards (radon, mold, asbestos, lead paint, etc)
    • Concealed defects due to walls, furniture, personal items, etc.

Tips to get the most out of your inspection:

  • Don’t base your choice of inspectors solely on price.  Know what they offer.  Do they perform an infrared scan, do they offer a guarantee on their services, are they a reputable firm with good reviews from real estate agents?  Professional firms with experienced, in demand inspectors, are worth what you pay for.  On such a large investment don’t you think the quality of service you get is worth a few extra dollars?
  • BE THERE- The best thing you can do is to be at the inspection if possible.  Don’t necessarily follow the inspector around, they have a routine and you want them to focus, but you will have a chance to ask questions and hear and see firsthand anything they find.
  • Read the full report, including all the fine print.  The report will have details that may not be in the summary and the fine print will explain the scope and help with definitions.  
  • Read the pre-inspection agreement – it will contain important information on the scope of the inspection
  • Work with your agent.  They will be able to help you determine which defects are enough to make you reconsider the purchase, which are worth fixing on your own and which you should ask the seller to repair before you buy the home.

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