Mandatory Whole House Inspection

Real Estate Agent with The AmyBSells Team - Keller Williams Advisors

As a responsible Realtor, and Accredited Buyers Representative (trained and experienced in hundreds of purchases) it is absolutely necessary for buyers to conduct a whole house inspection before purchasing a home. I have compiled a selection of frequently asked questions that my clients have and my commentary on each.

A Home Inspection is an absolute must when making your largest investment!

Having your future home and your largest investment inspected by a licensed inspector is an absolute must! As an Accredited Buyersashi.jpg Representative, I require all of my buyers to get a home inspection. The home inspection simply allows you to pay an independent inspector to inform you about the properties status or condition. Perhaps there are some maintenance items, or some mis-wired electrical outlets, or maybe the house needs a new roof, or the furnace is dead. You as the buyer need to know the condition of the property to move on to the next stage in the purchase. For your benefit, a whole house inspection is an essential part of the purchase of a home. This is so much the case, that if you decide not to inspect your largest investment, you must sign a waiver stating that I recommended this service and you denied the opportunity. That really says something!

Who pays for the inspection?

Since the buyer wants to know the condition of the property he is buying, it is he who pays for his information/inspection. Inspections can run between 250 (small condo) to more than $500. I have seen the average around $350. They typically charge based on the sale price or size of the home. Not a bad price to pay considering you are about to make the single largest investment of your life to the tune of several hundred thousand dollars.

What type of inspection should I get?

In my experience of working with some great inspectors, and as an ABR, I would suggest nothing less than a whole house inspection, and a termite inspection. The inspector will look at every system and component in the house, and do a termite inspection. The whole house inspector knows many things about typical issues, and many about complex issues. Every once in a while, the inspector will find a crack in the foundation that looks out of the norm, or some gross buckling in the roofing and suggest some ancillary inspections. For the foundation, we would call on a structural engineer, or the roof, a roofing contractor. But for the general inspection, the whole house inspector can evaluate the home 99% of the time and that will be all that is necessary. So, to start, choose a whole house inspection and a termite.

Termite inspections can be a requirement of the lender (depending on your loan), and thus a normal part of the process. In addition treatment for termites is around or under $1,000, so worth a $55 inspection in the event they are in the house we can ask the seller to have it treated. More on Termites and their treatments in another article.

Ancillary inspections like mold, radon or structural are all added expenses, increasing your costs $500, $120 and $400+ respectively and take between 3-20 days to complete. These are items that may be recommended by your inspector or Realtor based on evidence that they should be done. Visible mold on the walls, bowing in the walls of the basement, large cracks in the floors of the basement all lead to suggestion of ancillary inspections. If you are working with me, Amy Broghamer, my experience touring homes and other sales give me a solid back ground to help you identify any major issues while we are initially touring the home. I can spot potential major issues that may help reduce the chance that you will buy a house that will have a lot of inspection items noted. I can show you what to look for and when to know you have a great home that is worth making an offer on!

Who should I use for an inspector?

This question is simple. Ask Me! I work with very talented and knowledgeable inspectors. I work through more than 30 inspections a year, and know who is better than others, and who is going to be the most knowledgeable for your home. I recommend and use Kentucky inspectors for many reasons. Kentucky inspectors are LICENSED, which means they must keep their licenses current with continuing education, and follow a code of ethics set forth by the American Society of Home Inspectors. Using an ASHI inspector shows the seller that you have an inspector who knows what they are talking about and they have been trained.

See the Inspectors Code of Ethics here.

With so many new issues with homes it is good to know that your inspector has been in continuing education this year, and knows the latest on building trends and other inspection related issues. In the state of Ohio, there is no licensing requirement or continuing education required. I could decide to be in inspector tomorrow and inspect your home, without having training or knowledge of building codes and other inspection related skills. This is why I prefer to refer a few KY licensed inspectors to inspect your property. They work in Ohio about 50% or more of the time. The inspectors I recommend do more than 500 inspections in a year, which means they know what they are looking at, and have likely seen it before. With my referral, the will usually work you into the schedule faster and are often more in depth. They can suggest ways to fix issues and roughly estimate costs to do so.

I always recommend a good referral before you select an inspector. I have seen some poor inspections completed, and I know who is good! Also something to consider, if you call for an inspection and they are available that day or the next, why is no one else booking them? This is your largest investment, get a great inspector!

Since we are on the topic of great inspectors, check out AA Home Inspections website. Here they have an example report, with comments, photos with arrows and circles pointing to trouble areas, and you can see where everything gets inspected.

Having a thorough report with photos like this one, allows for better negotiation for you. Imagine if there were an issue with some flashing in the roof, causing leaking in the attic. The inspector would have photos of the roof and photos of water intrusion in the attic, with wet insulation proving with photos to the seller that this is a real issue that needs to be repaired by them ASAP. These photos and the professional report by a licensed professional give the issues more serious credibility and works to your advantage when remedying an issue that could cause you problems when you move in.

NOTE: Not all whole house inspectors take photos or include them in a report. The report is key, and it looking professional provides credibility to all parties involved.

With each inspector, you will find they have an agreement that you will sign. Here is a link to that agreement for AA Home Inspection.

In short, this document says that during this inspection process, we do the very best we can to completely inspect this property inside and out. We are limited to what we can see and get to inside the home and outside. They do the very best they can to give you the best idea of the condition of the property. There may be something that is not found during the inspection and later discovered after you move in. It is almost impossible to know every single intricacy of the house. All inspectors will have similar agreements.

During the inspection you are encouraged to be in attendance. The inspector will point out to you the things he has found in the home that need some attention, or he will teach you how to use a particular appliance or which way to turn the water on and off. As an ABR, I think it is important for me to attend your inspection as well. I will stop in towards the end to get the summary of any issues. This allows me to see and understand the things found so that I can effectively communicate and then show if necessary the listing agent the issues so that we can see eye to eye and get the issues resolved for you. You may also save some time by attending at the end for the summary tour as well. Inspections typically take around 3 hours, some longer, some shorter depending on the size of house. If you would like to do a virtual inspection, click here to see how things work at an inspection, and what inspectors look for in different areas of a home.

Frequently Asked Questions
compliments of the AA Home Inspection website.
What is a home inspection?

A home inspection is an in-depth visual examination of the physical structure and systems of a home. It is not an appraisal that tells you what the home is worth or a code compliance audit. If you are thinking of buying a home, condo, townhouse, or duplex, you should have it properly inspected before final purchase by an experienced and impartial inspector.

Why do I need a home inspection?

Purchasing a home will probably be the single largest investment you will ever make. You should know exactly what to expect, inside and out, in terms of repairs and maintenance. A fresh coat of paint could be hiding serious structural problems. Water marks on the ceiling, roof decking, or floor joists may indicate a chronic leakage problem or simply the result of a single incident. The home inspector interprets these and other clues, and then presents a professional and impartial opinion as to the condition of the property before you buy, so you can avoid any unpleasant surprises after the sale. Of course, a good home inspection will also point out any positive aspects of a home, such as: a new roof, new siding, and professionally installed pool or spa, to name a few.

Can I do a home inspection myself or have my friend help me?

Even the most knowledgeable home buyer or home owner lacks the expertise of a professional home inspector who has inspected hundreds or even thousands of homes in their career. An inspector is equally familiar with all the elements of home construction and the proper installation, maintenance, and interrelationship of these elements. Plus, most buyers find it hard to stay completely objective and unemotional about the home they are considering, possibly leading to a poor assessment. Even trained craftsmen, know that professionally inspecting a home is no simple task. Many wouldn’t consider doing an inspection for themselves, or even having one of their own employees do it for them, why should you?

Can a house 'fail' an inspection?

No. A professional home inspection is simply an examination into the current condition of the prospective home. It is not an appraisal or a municipal code inspection. A home inspector will not pass or fail a house but rather, we describe its condition at that time and indicate which items will be in need of repair or replacement. This is when you call upon ME to help you appropriately negotiate repairs, price reductions or other consessions to make the results of the inspection worth it!

If the report is favorable, did I really need an inspection?

Definitely! Now you can have peace of mind in completing your home purchase, knowing the condition of the property and all its equipment and systems. You may have also learned a few things from the inspection and will want that for future reference.

How does your service compare to that of other home inspectors?

AA Home Inspections answers this question as follows: We welcome you to read more out about our services, and then compare us to the competition. We're sure that you will find that we are the best in the business; well-educated, professional, sincere, unbiased, fair, and thorough. Our inspections are a complete service, with no hidden charges. Our report format is easy to understand, easier to read (digital printout, no handwriting to decipher), and we include images with every report. We are not satisfied unless you’re satisfied, it’s that simple AND that’s our guarantee. All of these factors separate us from our competition, and continue to make us the preferred choice for home inspections!

Comments (8)

Debbie Summers
Charles Rutenberg Realty - New Smyrna Beach, FL
Amy - You've written some really great posts today...  Valuable information for consumers.  Great job, hope you will be posting more!
Jan 15, 2008 06:29 AM

So Amy, what do you know about NACHI?

Nov 26, 2008 12:26 PM

Amy, I see you can spot major defects when touring homes with clients. Do you take them into the attics? Do you know what lurks behind the electrical panel? How do you convince the clients to climb on the roof with you to inspect the roof? Do you load the plumbing system to check for leaks or possible blockages?


Just wondering!


Nov 26, 2008 01:04 PM
Kevin Pierce
Cascade Builder Services - Tacoma, WA
New Construction Warranty Management

"Using an ASHI inspector shows the seller that you have an inspector who knows what they are talking about and they have been trained."

I'm not intentionally trying to be adversarial here but when I see false information written, I'm inclined to point it out.  Anyone can be a member of ASHI by simply writing a check to the association.  No testing required.  However, that's not the case with NACHI.  The rest of your post is excellent!

Nov 26, 2008 02:14 PM
Amy Broghamer
The AmyBSells Team - Keller Williams Advisors - Cincinnati, OH

Kevin - Thanks for the information.  That is certainly something I will investigate. 

Nov 27, 2008 03:34 AM
Kevin's friend :)

Hi Amy,

I'm a professional home inspector and a friend of Kevin.  We both are members of NACHI.  Both NACHI and ASHI are simply home inspector organizations plain and simple. Both organization's main goal is to educate and certify professional's within our career field in every way they possibly can.  IMO both organizations promote strict standards of practice and preach to their members that all must follow strict code of ethics and always work in the best interest of their clients.  Anything less will not be tolerated.  To help some of my NACHI brothers out I will educate you on the difference between NACHI and ASHI and please help me spread the word around the rest of the Active Rain community.  I would greatly apprecaite it. 

Ok bottom line here's the difference.

ASHI has three levels of inspector designations.  NACHI only has 1.

With ASHI once you send your check your immediately an associate member and you can start performing inspections with no experience.  You can claim the fact on your website that your a ASHI associate however YOU CANNOT PROMOTE THE ASHI LOGO until ASHI has verified 50 paid inspections according to their standards of practice and you must have passed the NHIE (inspector test) and you must have passed their code of ethics test.  Once all this is completed now the inspector can promote the logo however they are still an associate and must claim so until ASHI has validated 250 paid inspections from that inspector.  Once all that takes place now your a FULL member with ASHI.  Now you know what to look for when someone says they are ASHI. 

NACHI - will not allow anyone to sign up unless they pass a comprehensive online home inspector exam, standards of practice exam and the code of ethics exam.  It's difficult.  One must score 80% or better on the home inspector exam.  Half who take it fail it multiple times before passing.  The questions are made up of a 2500 question database you rarely see the same questions.  If you pass atleast our newbie inspectors shows some levels of construction competence plus they are required to do atleast 4 mock inspections which is investigated by a CMI (certified master inspector) before we ever let them collect a fee not so with ASHI.  That's what set's us apart.  So if one claims to be NACHI ask to see their certification logo and check it.  We don't issue any membership unless they have met all the pre req requirments. 

Here's a list of our requirements before and after one joins.  You'll clearly see why NACHI stands out as a industry leader.  Our organization's primary mission is to help and educate our inspectors.  ASHI has done a excellent job in branding their name and image within your industry.  We haven't and that's why many realtors don't know just how strong and knowledable our organization really is.  Bottom line though both orgs are great and produce strong inspectors.  So next time you hear NACHI keep us in mind that's all we ask!  :)  Hope this helped!




Nov 27, 2008 11:14 AM

Why don't you leave it to the buyer to determine who they want retain? How about a little disertation on used house salesmen and their qualifications.

Nov 27, 2008 12:54 PM
William Decker
Decker Home Services, LLC - Highland Park, IL

As a state licensed home inspector (Illinois), a member of NACHI (NACHI Member of the Year, 2006) and a certified thermographer, as well as being a certified environmental inspector, I want to add this.

The three most inportant keys to beng a good home inspector:

1) Technical Expertize:  A good inspector will know his field (both from book learning AND from field experience) and work, every year, to learn new things.  National and locl building codes change, as to construction techniques.  One point about NACHI.  They have the industries highest continuing education requirements as well as advanced classes.

2) Report writing:  A good inspection report should be in narrative form (actually written, not just a checklist) and include pictures, maintenance tips and be written in such a way as to be understandable to the client.

3) Be a good applied psychologist:  As most Realtors know, the client is under much stress during the RE process.  A good inspector knows this and knows how to deal with the cleint's situation.  a good inspector EXPLAINS and EDUCATES.  There may ne some problems with the house, but a good inspector will help the client understand which isses are serious and which can be easily and inexpensively handled.  My state HI law states that I must inspect the property to current national standards and that means that an older house will have "defects", but I also explain what these defects mean and put them into perspective.

Hope this helps;


Nov 29, 2008 09:51 AM