Frequently Asked Questions

1.   Why do I need a home inspection?
2.   What gets inspected?
3.   How do I find a home inspector?
4.   Why choose an ASHI New England home inspector?
5.   What is the American Society of Home Inspectors?
6.   What will it cost?
7.   Can't I do the home inspection myself?
8.   Can a house fail inspection?
9.   When do I call the home inspector?
10.   Do I have to be there?
11.   What if the home inspection reveals problems?
12.   Will I know everything about the house after the inspection?
13.   If the house proves to be in good condition, did I really need an inspection?
 
 
1. Why do I need a home inspection?

The purchase of a home is probably the largest single investment you will ever make. You should learn as much as you can about the condition of the property and the need for any major repairs before you buy so that you can minimize unpleasant surprises and difficulties afterwards. A professional home inspection by an ASHI New England Home Inspector will provide this information.

A home inspection may also point out some positive aspects of a home, as well as maintenance actions that might be necessary to keep it in good shape. After the inspection, you will have a much clearer understanding of the property you are about to purchase. If you are already a home owner, a home inspection by an ASHI New England Home Inspector may be used to identify problems in the making and to learn preventive measures which might avoid costly future repairs.

If you are planning to sell your home, you may wish to have a home inspection prior to placing your home on the market. This will give you a better understanding of conditions which may be discovered by the buyer's home inspector, and an opportunity to make repairs that will put the house in better selling condition. top

 

 
2. What gets inspected?

A home inspection conducted by an ASHI New England Home Inspector is a visual observation of readily accessible areas of the property and the major components of the home, including foundations, visual structural elements, walls, floors, ceilings, doors, windows, and roofing, as well as the heating, cooling, electrical, hot water, plumbing, and sanitary systems. The purpose of the home inspection is to inform and educate the client about significant defects and concerns. The report provides a general evaluation of existing conditions. Written reports are always provided.

A home inspection can be likened to a physical exam by a physician; however, it should be clearly understood that a home inspection is not to be confused with an appraisal, a building code inspection, a guarantee of any kind, and/or an insurance policy on the condition of the property. Home inspections are not intended to point out every small problem or any invisible or latent defect in a home. Most minor or cosmetic flaws, for example, should be apparent to the buyer without the aid of a professional. Learn more about what is inspected.

Many ASHI New England home inspectors offer additional services, such as radon testing, lead paint inspections, pest inspections, pool inspections, and inspections of private wells and septic systems, as well as Title V inspections in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts (MA). Each ASHI New England Home Inspector can provide specific details about the services they provide. top

 
3. How do I find a home inspector?

Perhaps the best source for a referral is a friend or business acquaintance who has used an ASHI New England Home Inspector and is satisfied with the services provided. Use our Find Local Inspectors utility that appears in the right hand corner of every Web page to locate a home inspector near you. ASHI New England Home Inspectors may also be listed in the Yellow Pages under “Home and Building Inspection Services” or “Home Inspection Service.” Your attorney or real estate Buyer’s agent may also be able to provide a referral to an ASHI New England Home Inspector.

Be aware that there is some controversy whether Seller’s agents (those who work for the Seller of a home) are able to provide an unbiased referral to a prospective home buyer, as there may be an inherent conflict of interest. Please be advised that in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, it is unlawful for a Seller’s agent to recommend specific home inspectors to a Buyer. Whatever your referral source, be sure that your home inspector is a Member of ASHI New England, so that you are working with the very best in professional training, ethics and experience. top

 
4. Why choose an ASHI New England home inspector?

Members of ASHI New England are independent professional home inspectors who have met the most rigorous technical and experience requirements in effect today. To become an ASHI member, a home inspector must pass two written technical exams, have performed a minimum of 250 professional fee-paid home inspections, and maintained his or her candidate status for no less than six months. (Prior to 1987, members were tested by a peer review board). ASHI New England Home Inspectors are required to follow the national organization's Code of Ethics, and to obtain continuing education credits in order to keep current with the latest in building technology, materials, and professional skills. Because they participate in a local chapter, ASHI New England Home Inspectors have the added knowledge gained thru participation in group round table discussions, monthly membership meetings and educational seminars, and an established professional network that is aware of the latest developments in the home inspection profession.

Many mortgage lenders, real estate attorneys, property appraisers, and Buyer’s agents prefer that homes be inspected by ASHI New England Home Inspectors. They recognize the knowledge and experience of ASHI New England Home Inspectors, and they value the professionalism assured by ASHI New England members’ home inspections. top

 
5. What is the American Society of Home Inspectors?
The American Society of Home Inspectors" (ASHI) is the oldest and leading non-profit professional association for independent home inspectors. Since its formation in 1976, ASHI's Standards of Practicehave served as the home inspector's performance guideline, universally recognized and accepted by professional and government authorities alike. ASHI Members subscribe to a professional Code of Ethics that prohibits them from engaging in conflict of interest activities which might compromise their objectivity. This is the consumer's assurance that the inspector will not, for example, use the inspection to solicit repair work. In order to assist home inspectors in furthering their education, ASHI New England sponsors a number of technical seminars and workshops throughout the year that are attended by home inspectors throughout the New England area. top
 
6. What will it cost?
The home inspection fee for a typical one-family house varies geographically, as does the cost of housing. Similarly, within a given area, the home inspection fee will vary depending upon the size of the house, particular features of the house, its age, and possible additional services, such as pest, septic, well, or radon testing. It is a good idea to check local prices on your own. However, do not let cost be a factor in deciding whether or not to have a home inspection, or in the selection of your home inspector. The knowledge gained from an ASHI New England home inspection is well worth the cost, and the lowest-priced home inspector is not necessarily a bargain. The home inspector's qualifications, including experience, training, and professional affiliations, should be the most important consideration.top
 
7. Can't I do the home inspection myself?
Even the most experienced home owner lacks the knowledge and expertise of an ASHI New England Home Inspector who has inspected hundreds, perhaps thousands, of homes in his or her career. ASHI New England home inspectors are familiar with the many elements of home construction, their proper installation, and maintenance. They understand how the home's systems and components are intended to function together, as well as how and why they fail. Above all, most buyers find it very difficult to remain completely objective and unemotional about the house they really want, and this may affect their judgment. For the most accurate information, it is best to obtain an impartial third-party opinion by an expert in the field of home inspection. top
 
8. Can a house fail inspection?
No. A professional home inspection is an examination of the current condition of your prospective home. It is not an appraisal, which determines market value, or a municipal inspection, which verifies local code compliance. A home inspector, therefore, will not pass or fail a house, but rather describe its physical condition and indicate what may need major repair or replacement. top
 
9. When do I call the home inspector?
A home inspector is typically contacted right after the contract or purchase agreement has been signed, and is often available within a few days. However, before you sign, be sure that there is an inspection clause in the sales contract, making your final purchase obligation contingent upon the findings of a professional home inspection. This clause should specify the terms to which both the buyer and seller are obligated. top
 
10. Do I have to be there?
It is not necessary for you to be present for the inspection, but it is strongly recommended. You will be able to observe the inspector and ask questions directly, as you learn about the condition of the home, how its systems work, and how to maintain it. You will also find the written report easier to understand if you've seen the property first-hand through the inspector's eyes. top
 
11. What if the home inspection reveals problems?
No house is perfect. If the inspection identifies problems, it doesn't necessarily mean you shouldn't buy the house, only that you will know in advance what to expect. A seller may adjust the purchase price or make repairs if major problems are found. If your budget is tight, or if you don't wish to become involved in future repair work, this information will be extremely important to you. top
 
12. Will I know everything about the house after the inspection?
A home inspection can be likened to a physical exam by a physician; however, it should be clearly understood that a home inspection is not to be confused with an appraisal, a building code inspection, a guarantee of any kind, and/or an insurance policy on the condition of the property. Home inspections are not intended to point out every small problem or any invisible or latent defect in a home. Most minor or cosmetic flaws, for example, should be apparent to the buyer without the aid of a professional. top
 
13. If the house proves to be in good condition, did I really need an inspection?

Definitely. Now you can complete your home purchase with your eyes open as to the condition of the property and all its equipment and systems. You will also have learned many things about your new home from the inspectors' written report, and will want to keep that information for future reference. top