WHAT A HOME INSPECTION IS...
A home inspection is a thorough visual examination of the home and property.
The process usually takes two to three hours, during which time the house is examined from the ground up. The inspection includes observation and, when appropriate, operation of the plumbing, heating, air conditioning, electrical, and appliance systems, as well as structural components: roof, foundation, basement, exterior and interior walls, chimney, doors, and windows.
When conducted by a professional, a home inspection covers about 1,000 checkpoints in approximately 400 items around the home.
Findings should be provided to you in the form of a comprehensive report. It is vital that such a report include an objective evaluation of the condition the home, clearly relating existing defects and indicating potential problems
WHAT A HOME INSPECTION IS NOT...
A home inspection is not an appraisal and vice versa.
An appraisal is the formal process of estimating a property's value as it relates to a mortgage loan or mortgage insurance. It does not itemize defects or reflect potential problems in the home. Even an FHA appraisal currently does not attest to the condition of a home. In fact, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development encourages home buyers to use private inspection services, and authorizes that closing costs may include inspection fees of up to $200.
A home inspection report is not a warranty.
Because a home inspection is a visual examination of the home and operating systems, it is not technically exhaustive. There is no assurance, expressed or implied, that equipment will not break down at some future date. However, such protection is available when a home inspection is complemented by a home warranty. When the services are used in conjunction with one another, a home warranty covers the items that were serviceable at the time of the inspection and subsequently fail due to normal wear and tear (consult your real estate agent about the availability of a home warranty).
A home inspection does not detect every conceivable flaw.
It is an inspection of those areas and items that can be seen. Home inspectors cannot see through foundations, floors or walls, and cannot inspect areas or items that are inaccessible.