Home Inspection FAQ's


An inspection is a visual examination of the structure and systems of a building. If you are thinking of buying a home, condominium or mobile home, you should have it thoroughly inspected before the final purchase by an experienced and impartial professional inspector.

A complete inspection includes a visual examination of the building from top to bottom. The inspector evaluates and reports the condition of the structure, roof, pests & dry rot, foundation, drainage, grading, plumbing, heating system, central air-conditioning system, visible insulation, walls, windows, and doors. Only those items that are visible and accessible by normal means are included in the report.

The best time to call us after you’ve had your offer accepted by the seller. The real estate contract usually allows for a grace period to inspect the property.

No. A professional home inspection is simply an examination into the current condition of your prospective property. It is not an appraisal or a Municipal Code inspection. A home inspector, therefore, will not pass or fail a building, but will simply describe its condition and indicate which items will be in need of minor or major repairs or replacement.

If the inspector finds problems in a home, it does not mean you shouldn’t buy it.  Only that you will know in advance what type of repairs to anticipate.  A seller may be willing to make repairs because of significant problems discovered by the inspector or a price concession.  If your budget is tight, or if you do not wish to become involved in future repair work, you may decide that this is not the property for you.  The choice is yours.

Definitely!  Now you can complete your purchase with peace of mind about the condition of the property and its equipment and systems.  You may have learned a few things about your property from the inspection report, and will want to keep that information for your future reference.  Above all, you can rest assured that you are making a well-informed purchase decision and that you will be able to enjoy or occupy your new home.

The purchase of a home is one of the largest single investments you will ever make.  You should know exactly what to expect --- both indoors and out -- in terms of needed and future repairs and maintenance.  A fresh coat of paint could be hiding serious structural problems.  Stains on the ceiling may indicate a chronic roof leakage problem or may be simply the result of a single incident.  The inspector interprets these and other clues, then presents a professional opinion as to the condition of the property so you can avoid unpleasant surprises afterward.  Of course, an inspection will also point out the positive aspects of a building, as well as the type of maintenance needed to keep it in good shape.

As a seller, if you have owned your home for a period of time, an inspection can identify potential problems in the sale of your home and can recommend preventive measures which might avoid future expensive repairs.

Even the most experienced building or home owner lacks the knowledge and expertise of a professional inspector who has inspected thousands of homes.  An inspector is equally familiar with the critical elements of construction and with the proper installation, maintenance and inter-relationships of these elements.  Above all, most buyers find it difficult to remain completely objective and unemotional about the building they really want, and this may lead to a poor assessment.

As a seller, if you have owned your home for a period of time, an inspection can identify potential problems in the sale of your home and can recommend preventive measures which might avoid future expensive repairs.

The inspection fee for a typical single-family house varies depending on age and size of the home.  However, the cost should not be a factor in the decision whether or not to have a physical inspection. 

It is not necessary for you to be present for the inspection, however I strongly recommend it.  By following the inspector through the inspection, observing and asking questions, you will learn about the new building and get some tips on general maintenance.

It is not good business to forego a home inspection on a newly constructed house, regardless of how conscientious and reputable your home builder.  No home, regardless of how well it is constructed, is totally free of defects.  The construction of a house involves thousands of details, performed at the hands of scores of individuals.  No general contractor can possibly oversee every one of these elements, and the very nature of human fallibility dictates that some mistakes and oversights will occur, even when the most talented and best-intentioned tradespeople are involved.  It is also an unfortunate aspect of modern times that some builders/developers do not stand behind their workmanship and may not return to fix or replace defective components installed after the sale is complete. 

Often the builder/developer will state the home has been built to “code” and that it was inspected at different stages and signed off by the local jurisdiction.  However, building codes are frequently “minimum in nature” — that is, the primary intent of building regulations (codes) is to provide reasonable controls for the construction, use and occupancy of buildings.  The builder is responsible to meet minimal standards at best — you may want higher standards applied to your dream house.  Also, it is an unfortunate fact of the hectic pace of construction, that local building department inspectors are often overbooked with inspections, which results in their spending a minimal amount of time at the construction job site and important details may be overlooked.  Finally, jurisdictional inspectors are not concerned with workmanship as long as all the systems and components in a new home meet minimum code requirements. 

Inspection reports often identify the same neglected maintenance items. Performing some basic maintenance can help keep your home in better condition, thus reduce the chance of those conditions showing up on the inspection report. To present a better maintained home to perspective buyers follow these tips from Pacific NW Home Inspections. Most of these items can be accomplished with little or no cost, while the benefits of selling a well maintained home can be worth the effort.

Clean both rain gutters and any roof debris and trim back excessive foliage from the exterior siding.
Divert all water away from the house (for example, rain-gutter downspouts, sump pump discharge locations, and clean out garage and basement interiors.
Clean or replace all furnace filters.
Remove grade or mulch from contact with siding (preferable 6-8 inches of clearance).
Paint all weathered exterior wood and caulk around trim, chimneys, windows, doors, and all exterior wall penetrations.
Make sure all windows and doors are in proper operating condition; replace cracked windowpanes.
Replace burned out light bulbs.
Make sure all of the plumbing fixtures are in spotless condition (toilets, tubs, showers, sinks) and in proper working order (repair leaks).
Provide clear access to both attic and foundation crawl spaces, heating/cooling systems, water heater/s, electrical main and distribution panels and remove the car/s from the garage.
And finally, if the house is vacant make sure that all utilities are turned on. Should the water, gas or electric be off at the time of inspection the inspector will not turn them on. Therefore, the inspection process will be incomplete, which may possibly affect the time frame in removing sales contract contingencies.