What Is A Property Inspection?
A professional property inspection, as defined by the CA Business & Professions Codes 7195-7199, is 'a visual examination of the structure and major systems/components of a residential or commercial property, with regards to any material defects that would significantly affect the safety, habitability, or value of the property'. If you are thinking of buying a home, condominium, mobile home, or commercial property, you should have it thoroughly inspected before the final purchase by an impartial, experienced, and 'certified professional inspector'.
What Does An Inspection Include?
Our whole-house inspection performed in accordance with and/or exceeding the 'Standards of Practice' for InterNACHI, CREIA and ASHI inspection organizations includes a non-invasive visual examination of the primary property, including it's major components, systems, any built-in appliances and fixtures, and its associated primary parking structure, whether attached or detached. We evaluate and report on visible safety/health conditions, and the true condition of the building/structure, roof, foundation, drainage, chimney/fireplace, plumbing system/fixtures, electric service/fixtures, heating system, central air-conditioning system, visible insulation, visible walls, windows and doors, at the time of the inspection. The inspection is not intended to be technically exhaustive, and only those items and areas that are visible and readily accessible by normal means (not closed off or locked) are included in the report, along with the function of the components and systems by their normal user controls, as they were originally intended. In addition to the whole house inspections, ancillary inspections (for additional fees) of pools and spas, sewer lateral drain pipe, mold, air quality, termites or other Wood Destroying Organism (WDO), can be requested at the same time as your home inspection, or as stand-alone inspections.
When Do I Request An Inspector?
The best time to consult us for an inspection is right after you’ve made an offer on your new property. The typical real estate contract usually allows for a 'time period' at the start of Escrow, for all 'buyers' inspections and/or investigations of the property. Ask your professional agent to include this inspection clause in the contract, making your purchase obligation contingent upon the detailed findings of a professional and timely inspection of the property, supplemental to any other disclosure.
Can A Property “FAIL” The Inspection?
No. A residential or commercial property inspection is simply an examination into the current condition of your prospective real estate purchase, at the time of transfer. It is not an appraisal nor a municipal code inspection, but a thorough visual inspection with all the systems and components operated and/or tested by their normal controls. An inspector, therefore, will not 'pass' or 'fail' a property, but seek to identify any material defects in the structure, the major systems and/or components that are present and accessible to assure their proper function as was originally intended, and with regards to the safety and habitability of the property.
What If The Report Reveals Problems?
If/when there are any safety issues, defective conditions, and/or problems found with the property, it does not necessarily mean you won't or shouldn’t purchase it; only that you will know in advance what conditions may need to be addressed at the time of sale, and/or for the type of future repairs to anticipate. A seller may be willing to make necessary repairs because of safety issues, or for any other significant problems discovered during the inspection. The inspection will qualify which items and/or conditions are deemed safety or health concerns by the accepted building industry and/or real estate transaction standards, and report any inadequate or improper conditions of the systems and components that fail to operate by their normal controls, as they were originally intended. Any professional real estate agent that you hire should represent you, for help and guidance in understanding the property transfer process, and any purchase expectations or concerns you have.
If The Report Is Favorable, Did I Really Need An Inspection?
Definitely! Now that any doubts or 'question marks' about the unknown property have been quelled, you can complete your purchase with peace of mind about the home, its components, and operating systems without the concern for any major, near-future, out-of-pocket expenses. You will have learned more about your unknown property from our inspection process and final 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 occupy and enjoy your new home and/or investment property the way you anticipated, with confidence!
Why Do I Need An Inspection?
As a buyer, the purchase of a 'resale' home or commercial property is that of an unknown, and most likely one of the largest single investments you will ever make. You should know exactly what to expect -- both indoors and out -- in terms of any present and/or near future repairs needed, if any, whether disclosed or not by the seller. A fresh coat of paint could be hiding some serious problems that really need to be addressed. Some stains on a ceiling may indicate a chronic roof or plumbing leakage problem or may simply be the result of a single incident. We interpret these and other clues, then present a professional, objective opinion as to the 'true' condition of the property, so you can avoid unpleasant surprises afterward. Of course, inspections can also point out the positive aspects of a property, as well as some maintenance needed to keep it in good shape. After Steve's thorough inspection, you will have a much clearer understanding of the 'as is' condition of the property you are about to purchase, and be able to make your decision accordingly with confidence.
As a seller, if you have owned the property for any length of time, a professional inspection can identify present and/or potential problems prior to the sale of your home, with necessary or recommended repairs and/or preventive measures which might avoid future expensive repairs, and/or needlessly hold up the transfer process. Don't be blindsided by any negative surprises that would delay your transaction!
New Construction: Wasn't My New Home Already 'Passed' and Inspected By The Local Building Inspector?
Yes and No! Many 'new home' owners are misled by this broad-brush assumption! Municipal building inspectors may spend minutes on site; may overlook items; and are not mandated to inspect ‘non-habitable’ areas such as your attic or any crawl spaces. As per Gov. Codes 818.6 & 818.8, the ‘city’ is generally ‘immune’ from liability for any missed defect conditions and/or inspection disputes. The builder has been ultimately responsible for any/all building or workmanship defects, but ONLY if known and properly reported within the limited time period! As per the recent Title 7, CA Civil Codes 895 - 945.5, there is no 10 yr. ‘umbrella’ warranty by a builder for all defects. Most limitations for liability ‘action’ have been reduced to 1, 2, & 4 years! ALL new homes should be considered for a professional, objective inspection during the building stages, supplemental to any local municipal inspections, and/or prior to the owners taking occupancy, to minimize the possibility of living with any defective conditions and to protect your major investment!
Won't The Builder Fix All Defects Within Our First 12 Months?
While you may have placed all those pieces of 'blue tape' throughout the home, and have your list of known cosmetic ‘scratches, chips, dents, and paint finishes’ that the builder has agreed to fix as part of their '12 month' new home warranty, not all defective conditions are plainly visible or recognizable to an 'untrained eye'. Even though the builder will say any other inspections are ‘not needed’, you have the right to acquire ‘3rd Party’ professional inspection services to properly identify any defects in your new home, that you may otherwise never notice! You can't have unsafe or improper conditions repaired by the builder, at no cost to you, if you can't find them! You should be made aware of any existing or potentially unsafe and defective conditions, before it's too late!
Randy Meadows (CPI and CMI), is Lead Inspector with FOCUS Home Inspection Authority & Consulting, LLC and has performed hundreds of 'new home warranty' inspections and is familiar with the local builders/developers, for the various tracts and custom homes throughout Orange County. No home is perfect, but you have expectations for a new home that's as close to perfect as humanly possible. Along with the obvious smaller, aesthetic details of 'fit and finish' that you may notice on your own, our professional focus is on the fire/life safety, structural, roofing, electrical, plumbing, heating/cooling, and built-in appliance conditions that prevail and have been overlooked throughout the new homes of all developers, and that you may not be aware of yourself, until it's too late! You should be made aware of these conditions within your home and have them properly reported, addressed, and corrected by the builder, to meet your expectations! Are you completely satisfied with the condition of your new home and your interaction with the builder?
FHIA's professional, new construction inspection service is the most thorough and guaranteed to disclose and report the 'true' condition of your new home, with which to properly notify the builder for necessary corrections and repairs, before your '12 month warranty' would normally and contractually expire.
NOTE: Even if the original '1 year' time period has expired, the CA builder may still be responsible to properly address and/or correct any reported safety conditions and/or 'actionable' construction defects as required by CA 'Title 7', if properly disclosed and reported within any 2, 4, or 5 year periods after occupancy for those specific systems or components.
Can The Homeowner Inspect Their Own Property?
Even the most experienced home or property owner lacks the broad knowledge and experience necessary of a certified, professional inspector who has inspected thousands of homes and/or properties in their career. A homeowner and/or specific tradesman possibly qualified in one area of expertise, may have no knowledge or a limited amount of the current real estate disclosure standards, safety and health issues, and/or state mandated 'residential seismic hazard' knowledge, which a professional property inspector must have and actively maintain. A professional inspector with a Master Inspection Certification is equally familiar with the critical elements of construction, with the proper and accepted building or installation standards, and any maintenance or inter-relationships of these elements. Above all, most buyers would find it difficult to remain completely objective and unemotional about the property they wish to purchase, which would most assuredly lead to a poor assessment. As with any major decision in your life, you should be seeking to surround yourself with knowledgeable, seasoned professionals, for professional guidance and peace of mind!
Should I Attend The Inspection?
We strongly recommend that our clients or their legal representative be present at the time of the inspection; observing the process first-hand and asking any questions you may have about the new property, and possibly get some tips on general maintenance. All information about the unknown property that you can acquire, and having that information properly addressed before you purchase, will be of great benefit to you at the time of property transfer and after you’ve moved in.
What Will The Inspection Cost?
The cost, itself, should not be the deciding factor whether or not to acquire a professional inspection, or in trying to compare and choose between different inspection services. With the escalating prices of real estate, your focus should be in terms of the value for your investment in the potential purchase of the property. The meaning of value has never had more significance than that in purchasing a home and/or acquiring a professional inspector to assist in that purchase: It isn't always what you pay - it's what you receive in return! Unfortunately, there is a vast difference between the inspectors and inspection services for you to choose from. Industry wide, you can always find a 'cheap' inspector that will be less experienced and, therefore, can only offer up a reduced fee in hopes of competing with the more established inspection services. But, is that who you really want to rely on for your purchase, and who may still be 'practicing' the trade at your expense ? Primarily, the more established and experienced professional inspection services operate and have built their business from the numerous referrals of satisfied clients and/or their agents, who trust that service and inspector to perform in the best interest of their relatives, friends, and/or clients as it did for them, and who realize that the trusted and more experienced professional is well worth the price paid!
The inspection fee for any single-family residence or commercial property varies, as does the cost of housing or properties. Similarly, within a geographic area, the fees charged by different inspection services vary depending upon such factors as: square footage, type of structure, the age and/or particular features of the property, the type of reports furnished, how long that inspector has been in business, etc.. The less experienced inspector that is 'just starting out' will probably be cheaper, and most likely not even worth that cheaper fee being charged, in relation to the lack of service and/or useful information provided to you. The more experienced, knowledgeable, professional inspector with thousands of inspections and years of continuing education contributing to their expertise, is likely to be worth much more than their fees charged while maintaining a competitive balance within the industry, which relates to more value for their clients! You might save many times the cost of the inspection fee, if you are able to have the seller perform any necessary repairs, based on significant problems and/or safety hazards revealed by the more qualified and experienced inspector.
Surely, for a few hundred dollars invested on a professional inspection of an unknown property, with the current real estate values ranging from hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars, and repair bills and/or 'warranty' deductibles ranging in the hundreds of dollars or more, the cost of a knowledgeable, certified professional inspector is, by far, one of the best investments you'll ever make! Our fees for our inspection service are transparent and listed on this website under the tab "Services and Pricing" and we trust that you will find them competitive. We do not have hidden fees and we offer the strongest Guarantee in the industry.
How Do I Schedule My Home Inspection?
For the quickest response, please call us directly at 949-945-0111, or contact us by email at FocusInspectionAuthority@gmail.com or click on the HOME tab of this website and scroll to Contact Us for a timely response to your home inspection needs. Inspections can usually be scheduled within a 24 hours’ notice, if needed, and there is no additional charge for weekend inspections. We look forward to serving you and assure you that your satisfaction is our FOCUS.