FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
You’ve got questions, we’ve got answers!
WE ARE HERE TO HELP
We have created this Question & Answer / Frequently Asked Questions page to help provide a more in-depth understanding of Whole Home Inspections’ processes and perspective(s). The questions have been collected over time from several sources and past conversations with people interested in home inspections. The answers given are from Whole Home Inspections and may not apply to other inspection companies. If you have any questions not covered here feel free to call or submit a new question here.
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WHAT CAN I EXPECT DURING THE HOME INSPECTION PROCESS, WHERE DO I START?
- Research home inspection companies (we recommend you start looking for inspection companies at the beginning of your home search).
- Call and speak to some of them (research questions to ask prospective home inspection companies).
- Price should not be a huge factor in your hiring decision. Most standard home inspection companies should be within $25 to $75 dollars difference from each other. If there is a big discrepancy in pricing, you may want to ask why.
- If you have any specific concerns with the property you should discuss them with the inspection company.
- Once you have picked an inspection company or two you feel you would like to hire, call them to check availability and get something on the calendar.
- Once the inspection is scheduled, Whole Home Inspections sends a confirmation email to you and your Realtor so that everyone is on the same page. If needed, we also contact the listing agent for access. (It is standard practice for you to fully communicate with your Realtor and for your Realtor to communicate with the listing agent or seller in some cases).
- We will send an inspection agreement that is required by not only our insurance company but also the state. The agreement should be signed before the inspection; the agreement will help you further understand what is covered in a home inspection and our limitations.
- On the day of the inspection, you and your Realtor are highly encouraged to meet at the end of the inspection to have an in-person full walk-through review of findings.
- During the walk-through, all questions are answered in a way that everyone can understand.
- Payment is due at the time of review.
- The Comprehensive Inspection Report is emailed within 24 hours, most times (99%) the night of inspection.
- Once you receive the report you should read all of it. If you have any further questions or need further information regarding anything, you should call your inspector.
- You then work with your Realtor to determine next steps.
- Once you move into your new home, if you experience any initial problems, we encourage you to call your inspector. Most times they will know your home better than anyone else, at least in the beginning. They are also an unbiased person to help walk you through the problem or answer any additional questions you may have.
WHEN SHOULD I START LOOKING FOR THE RIGHT PHOENIX HOME INSPECTOR?
We recommend you start looking for/vetting home inspection companies when you start looking to purchase a home, are thinking of selling a home, or have been in your home for more than 5 years.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE A CUSTOMER LOOKING TO HIRE A PHOENIX HOME INSPECTOR?
Ask some or all of these 9 questions:
- Are they licensed? The state requires it.
- How long has the inspector been licensed with the state/been professionally inspecting homes?
- Are they insured or bonded? Insurance provides much more coverage if anything goes wrong.
- Do they use an inspection agreement? So you know what to expect and have the price in writing. (This is also required by the state.)
- Are they a member of an inspector’s association? These associations require continued education and a high level of standards and ethics.
- What are their additional fees? Inspection companies have a variety of fees that can increase the cost considerably. (Some don’t and just build it into their pricing; this may make it easier to see the prices, however, are unfair to those not using the additional services.)
- Are pictures included in their reports? Pictures help everyone involved better understand items in the report.
- When it’s safe, do they go on the roof, in the attic, under the house/in the crawl space? Many important items can be found in these areas. (Some companies do not allow their inspectors on the roof.)
- Would they feel comfortable with you being at the home during the inspection? (Several Phoenix inspection companies do not want anyone else there during the inspection.)
HOW MUCH IS A HOME INSPECTION IN PHOENIX?
Prices are based on square footage, age, and any selected additional services. For an accurate quote, please give us a call, or fill out our Request a Quote form.
WHY SHOULD I GET A HOME INSPECTION?
When buying a home, you are given time to gather further information regarding a home’s current condition. It’s important to take this opportunity to better familiarize yourself with the home to help make a more informed decision.
Our inspection reports are not intended to be used as a negotiating tool, they are to help further inform you of the home’s systems/components and condition at time of inspection.
Regardless of when you get a home inspection, it will help provide you with some invaluable/important information regarding your home. In most cases, no one ever taught us how to take care of our homes. Your home inspector can be a great resource to help you better understand the home’s systems and components including items of interest to better take care of your home.
WHEN SHOULD YOU HIRE A SPECIALIST ALONG WITH YOUR HOME INSPECTION?
- If you are overly concerned with a specific system or component, we strongly recommend hiring a specialist for that specific item of interest. It would not be that much more of an investment for further piece of mind. A specialist will perform their evaluation with more tools and use a much more invasive process than any inspector can or should. They can also help by providing quotes for any needed items of interest and may also be able to estimate the best time for replacement.
- As part of your inspection, the home inspector will offer advice if they feel you should get an additional evaluation by a specialist, and then it’s up to you if you care to have the additional information.
- Sometimes you can be proactive by scheduling a specialist at the same time or before the home inspection. If a component is known or suspected to be in bad/poor condition and you feel this one component could sway your decision about the home, you may consider first having it evaluated by a specialist before the home inspection to save yourself the fee for both inspections.
- If it’s outside the scope of a home inspection and you would like further information, including things that would require lab testing or special licensing: low voltage items such as landscape lighting and irrigation, termite inspection, bird or pest mitigation, mold, lead, asbestos, etc.
- If a system has physical defects such as a roof with missing shingles/tiles or a pool with cracks in it.
- If you are really concerned with the condition, such as an OLD air conditioner.
(If an old component/system is working properly at the time of inspection and it’s visually in good condition, we cannot estimate how long it will function. We are also unable to be invasive and see some components that can only be seen by going outside of the State Standards for Professional Practice for Home Inspectors. A specialist will be able to perform exhaustive/invasive diagnoses but will also be able to provide helpful additional information, such as when they feel it would be the best time to budget for replacement, the severity of its condition, and/or costs for any needed correction(s).
WHAT IS A HOME INSPECTION?
I have come up with an analogy to help answer this question in its most basic form. “Home inspectors are like translators, we tell you what the home tells us.” We use all of our past and ongoing experiences to help us gather as much information as we can during the inspection so that we can relay that information back to you. A good home inspector does a great job of translating what the home has revealed during the inspection without adding or subtracting what was learned in terms that you can understand (without having to learn how to speak house).
Side note: We can only tell you what the home tells us.
WHAT DOES A HOME INSPECTOR LOOK FOR AND WHAT WILL BE IN THE REPORT?
The primary focus in our inspections fall under these three categories:
- Major defects
- Things that may lead to major defects
- Safety hazards
The inspection report also includes:
- Some details about the home’s components
- Some maintenance and/or upgrade recommendations
- Some minor/moderate imperfections and/or cosmetic items as reminders (mostly upon client’s request).
WHAT SHOULD I KNOW ABOUT HEATING AND COOLING EVALUATION BY A HOME INSPECTOR?
HVAC systems are typically operated and visually evaluated. Most home inspectors check for proper temperature differential (air in/out of the air conditioner within a certain range) as well.
Cooling will not be operated when the outside temperature is below 65 degrees.
Most times heating will not be operated when the outside temperature is above 85 degrees.
These guidelines have been established to help prevent the systems from becoming damaged while evaluating.
It is recommended that HVAC systems be evaluated by a specialist when these limitations exist, or the system(s) are over 15 years old.
HOW LONG DOES A HOME INSPECTION TAKE?
Most inspections take around 3 to 4 hours. Time will increase based on size, age, and additional services. Our typical walk-through review of findings takes around 30 minutes to an hour, mostly depending on how many questions our clients ask and how much there is to review.
WILL I BE ABLE TO ATTEND THE HOME INSPECTION?
Yes, unlike many home inspection companies in Phoenix, you are welcome to join us at any time during the inspection. (Please note you can’t join us in areas that can be harmful to yourself or the property; such as but not limited to the roof, attic, crawl space, or within an arm’s length of an open electrical panel.)
WHAT TYPE OF HOME INSPECTION REPORT DOES WHOLE HOME INSPECTIONS PROVIDE?
The inspection report is a mix of pictures, narratives, and a checklist. This means information required by the state standards and items of interest can be reported without overloading the report with information that is not relevant to the inspection while still providing an educational, easy-to-understand, and clear report.
WHEN WILL I RECEIVE THE HOME INSPECTION REPORT?
The home inspection report is sent within 24 hours after the home inspection, 99% of the time – the night of the inspection.
WHAT WILL FAIL THE INSPECTION?
- Home inspections are not a pass-or-fail evaluation of the home, rather a perspective of the condition of the home at the time of inspection. Home inspectors offer suggestions for further evaluation or corrections where needed/observed during the home inspection. Most times, if a buyer feels the home “failed” an inspection, it’s when they don’t have reasonable expectations of the property. Older homes generally have older components and in most cases have items of interest that require work to function properly.
- If there are systems that are old but are working and “pass evaluation,” they may still need maintenance or you may need to replace it/them in the near future.
- Some items of interest may have been proper to the home’s age and would be considered an UPGRADE to bring up to current safety standards.
ANY TIPS/POINTERS WHEN REVIEWING MY HOME INSPECTORS REPORT?
- Keep in mind that every home requires some amount of work, maintenance, repairs, and/or upgrades to make it what you want it to be.
- The report is to provide information for you to better understand the home based on the information gathered at the time of inspection. It is not intended to be a negotiating tool, warranty, or guarantee.
IF MY HOME INSPECTOR RECOMMENDS FURTHER EVALUATION BY A SPECIALIST, SHOULD I SPEND THE EXTRA MONEY?
YES, the reason for a home inspection is to help determine if there are any major defects, things that lead to major defects, or safety hazards. A specialist can help determine the scope of work required for proper correction(s) and the costs associated. Your inspection time frame is the BEST time for any further evaluations you may want or are recommended by the inspector.
DOES A HOME INSPECTION REPORT INCLUDE ESTIMATES OF REPAIR COSTS?
NO, home inspectors are not specialists and should not offer estimates for correcting items of interest. They also should not perform any paid work on the home or benefit from anyone else working on the home.
WHAT SHOULD SELLERS FIX AFTER THE HOME INSPECTION?
This is a conversation you should have with your Realtor.
DO YOU OFFER TO DO REPAIRS OR IMPROVEMENTS BASED ON THE INSPECTION?
NO, it is a conflict of interest for a home inspector to perform work on a home they have inspected or benefit/be paid/receive referral money for work done to a home they have inspected for at least 24 months after performing the inspection.
DO I HAVE TO FIX EVERYTHING FOUND ON A HOME INSPECTION?
No, not all items of interest require immediate attention. Most things in the report will be reminders or suggestions for maintenance or upgrades to better the condition of the home.
WHY IS A HOME INSPECTOR TELLING ME I NEED TO FIX SOMETHING ON A HOME I’M SELLING?
They are not, home inspectors don’t determine what a buyer requests the seller to do.
Home inspectors make suggestions to better the home’s condition. Whether it’s due to an old/failing system or for safety reasons, we are not the one who decides what to ask the seller to correct or how exactly to make a correction.
DO YOU OFFER A WARRANTY / GUARANTEE?
We don’t offer any warranties as we don’t perform any work on the home or partner with any companies that benefit from having your information without your permission. We do however guarantee, if you attend the walk-through review of findings, we will meet and in most cases exceed your expectation(s).
WHY NOT JUST GET SPECIALISTS TO INSPECT THE HOME?
Time and money, if you have plenty of both you may consider it. It would require hiring some but not all of the following specialists: plumber, roofer, electrician, HVAC, appliance, foundation, structural engineer, pool tech, pest specialist, etc. Home inspectors look for things that may warrant further evaluation by some of these specialists.
We don’t recommend getting a home inspection if the home is majorly distressed or you plan on renovating the majority of the home. The reason for this is a home inspector will most likely just refer/recommend most components be further evaluated by specialists.
WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I EXPERIENCE A PROBLEM WITH MY HOME AFTER A HOME INSPECTION?
We highly recommend and encourage people to contact the home inspector or inspection company. In Arizona we are bound by and follow ethics that prohibit us from performing work or capitalizing on corrections needed to a home within 24 months of the inspection. So we are an unbiased contact for you to utilize for further information/advice. Most times they can help you with your concern by offering solutions and/or advice on how to correct the problem. Home inspectors can only report conditions observed or were evident at the time of inspection, however can still offer further help to our clients long after the inspection.
We have seen things like water heaters that have been turned off by the seller and when the buyer moves in they don’t know why the water heater is not working or how to get it turned on without calling a plumber. Sometimes you could save a service call by calling the inspector to help determine if the problem could be solved over the phone, requires a specialist or handyman, by contacting a warranty company, or by doing a simple Google search.