What Is An Inspection?
Home inspections in Louisville, KY
A home inspection is a visual analysis for the purpose of providing a professional opinion of the condition of a home, including its garage ordinarily. The basic service is licensed, and fully described, by state law and regulations.
“Visual analysis” means that no holes are drilled in walls, for example. Carpets are not pulled up. Furniture is not moved. Valves, like the main water shutoff, are not turned on or off. Wallpaper is not peeled off, and so on.
State laws sets the minimum requirements for both “home inspections” and “home inspection reports.” Home inspectors may do more than the bare minimum. InspectHomes does considerably more.
It may be surprising, but even digital, e-mailed reports are not required by state minimum standards, for example. That is just the beginning of differences between “bare minimum” and top flight inspections and inspection reports.
InspectHomes provides e-mailed reports, with color photos beside each item. Hard copies also are available.
Home inspections cover all of the systems and components of a home. This includes the roof, structure, interior, exterior, major mechanicals (such as the furnace, air conditioner, and hot water heater), plumbing, amd electrical systems. If you are unsure, or have any question, please ask. Chances are great that the item is inspected. Some inspectors charge more for detached garages. We don’t.
A home inspection report will describe the systems and components inspected. It will report any system or component that is significantly deficient, in the opinion of the home inspector. If any system or component designated for inspection was left out, the report will list whatever was not inspected and give the reason why. Once again, those basics are bare minimums.
Sometimes, it also is important to understand what a home inspection and report is not. For example, “home inspectors are prohibited from indicating orally or in writing that any condition is or is not in compliance with any building code” by state law. There are solid reasons for that law. First, “building codes” really are construction codes. They are rules for putting up, or constructing, homes — not rules for all buildings. Those rules are enforced by special government officers who visit building sites before anyone moves into the home. Their job is done once a home has a “certificate of occupancy” and people move in. After a home is occupied, building codes no longer apply (in practically all cases), though sometimes building permits are required to renovate or remodel a home. Those construction officials do not inspect aftermarket or used homes. Home inspectors do.
Second, building codes were required for new home construction only since 1978 in Kentucky. All homes built before then were “grandfathered,” which means they did not have to “pass” later building codes. Many counties still have no building code inspectors.
Many, many homes in this region were built before there ever was a building code. Lots of them were built very well. Many used materials too expensive to use today. It only creates problems to try to inspect those homes under standards that became effective years or decades later.
Home inspectors are trained to inspect over 200 years of homes, building materials and construction techniques, rather than inspecting construction as it goes up using 21st century codes.
If you have specific items or concerns, discuss them with us, or with your home inspector. We can help sort out the details.
Another thing that a home inspection is not is a sales or marketing tool. Sadly, in the past, some unlicensed “home inspectors” were barely disguised salesmen for remodeling companies or other home repair businesses. Some called out items and then offered to fix them, for a “special price.” That kind of conflict of interest is never permitted at InspectHomes.
A professional home inspector should never, ever even try to get you to buy repairs for any deficiency he says he sees or for any deficiency in the home inspection report.
Indoor Air Radon Testing
On the other hand, home inspectors may provide additional testing choices for clients, such a indoor air testing for radon gas. Because indoor air testing is not required as part of a home inspection in Kentucky (though it is in some other states), there usually is a small additional charged for added tests such as radon.
Radon is a odorless, tasteless, invisible radioactive gas that can only be found by testing. It is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States. A large part of Kentucky is particularly prone to radon because of the soil types. Kentucky also leads the nation in lung cancer. The U.S. Surgeon General, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the American Medical Association (AMA), the American Cancer Society and many others all advise every home buyer to test the home for radon.
InspectHomes has radon testing available, if you decide to follow that advice. A National Radon Safety Board (NRSB) certified Radon Measurement Specialist will test your home. Test results are delivered in about 50 hours, or roughly two days. The EPA rules for radon testing require about a 48-hour minimum testing period since the radon levels in a home can change some from night to day and even in a storm. InspectHomes has a NRSB Accredited Radon Laboratory so clients get their results right away. There are no faster test results.
Radon and other special testing are options for clients. They are not required by Kentucky law. In general, Kentucky rules say that a home inspection report “does not address environmental hazards.” Testing for radon and similar conditions in that category is up to the client unless they contract with the home inspection company for it.
You can get your new home tested at the same time as your home inspection. Of course, InspectHomes always is available to provide radon indoor air testing. We recognize how important radon testing is to American health and work hard to help.
Reports May Be More Useful Than You Think
Home inspections are important for home buyers. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) even puts out a brochure titled “For Your Protection: Get a Home Inspection.” There also are consumer protection provisions in the new “financial reform law” that require the new U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Agency to send out that brochure and more, all urging home inspections before buying a home.
A first-rate home inspection report is good for more than the day a decision is made. Really good home inspection reports include the make, model and serial number of all major mechanicals and appliances, right beside of picture of each, for example. (This is not required by the bare minimums, but count on InspectHomes reports to include it.) If an insurance claim ever has to be made, you have the crucial information right at your fingertips. If anything disappears from the house after it’s inspected, the information you need is right in your InspectHomes report.
Home inspections are just as useful for home sellers. What better way to make sure a seller has no surprises on the way to the closing? Wise sellers and agents use pre-listing inspections to make repairs far less expensively than they often cost when a buyer inspection ends in a request for repairs. Making repairs, and eliminating issues before they rear their ugly heads, does a lot to shorten the time from a contract for sale and the closing on a house. That’s why many agents pick “pre-inspected” homes to show buyers first. They can count on the sale going smoother, with homes usually needing few or no repairs. In many other states, pre-listing home inspections are almost routine today, although those states generally have had home inspector licensing years longer than has Kentucky. (Kentucky’s first licensed home inspectors in July, 2006.)
Home inspections also can be helpful, often, in resolving insurance disputes, home warranty claims, and builder problems. Your home inspector is an impartial “third party” whose professional findings and opinion frequently answer key questions and settle arguments. It’s a lot less expensive and time-consuming than court. InspectHomes is a call away if you would like to sort through that kind of problem with our skilled and experienced specialists.
Sometimes, the only way to get to the bottom of a problem is in court. You can count on InspectHomes then too. InspectHomes has provided expert witness testimony and consulting services to law firms across the state, from the largest, such as Frost, Brown, Todd PLLC and Wyatt, Tarrant & Combs (Lexington), to some of the area’s smallest.
If the question is “What’s the condition of a home,” the answer is InspectHomes4U.
If you are wondering how we can help, just call, 502-894-8644. A live, experienced InspectHomes expert will lend a hand.
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