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Purchasing real estate is a heavily involved process that takes time, coordination and a whole lot of paperwork. It is easy to spend months finding your dream home, so when it’s time to close on the house, homeowners might want to rush to that finish line. Experts, however, recommend first obtaining a home inspection report.

The pre-sale inspection is the last chance to address issues, both current and potential, with the house and determine whether the buyers or the sellers are responsible for necessary maintenance. It is also an opportunity for buyers to learn all about the new home and any problems they might encounter down the road.

It is imperative to have a knowledgeable and experienced home inspector conduct the inspection. He or she should be able to give buyers and sellers alike all the answers they need before finalizing the sale and can help determine if certain disclosures that need to be made. If you are in either position, these are the best questions to ask a home inspector in Arizona.

Information Regarding Inspectors

It is understandable that sellers feel uneasy about letting a stranger into their home, but the answers to the following questions can put them at ease.

How are home inspectors in Arizona regulated?

All Arizona home inspectors are regulated by the Arizona Board of Technical Registration, which requires stricter expectations than other states for becoming a certified home inspector, or CHI. All prospects are required to complete 80 hours of education, 30 training sessions alongside a CHI and a home inspector bond or proof of errors and omissions insurance provided to the Board with a completed home inspection report. Additionally, applicants submit a fingerprint to be run by the FBI in case of any issues while the inspector is alone in the home.

What information will the inspector provide me?

Regardless if the home inspector provides a “checklist” or “narrative” report, the written document will be in compliance with the Standards of Professional Practice for Arizona home inspectors, which explain a home inspector’s requirements and can be found on the BTR website or from the Arizona chapter of the American Society of Home Inspectors.

Checklists are less costly and are delivered faster than narrative reports, which are prepared on a computer and contain pictures. However, a checklist is far less detailed than a narrative report.

What is the cost of a home inspection?

Sellers do not pay the cost of a home inspection report unless they are the ones who offered to hire an inspector, but it could cost the buyer anywhere from $275 to $1,000. Many inspectors charge per square footage, sometimes more for older homes or properties with hard-to-reach areas. Some inspectors also offer pool area or other property inspections for an additional fee.

Do I need to be on site during the inspection?

Many inspectors prefer to be alone while on site so they can keep track of their observations without interruption from more people in the home.  You should have the option to be on-site during the inspection if you prefer.  Be sure to talk to him or her if you are uncomfortable with the process at all.

Buyer Questions

Before signing on the dotted line, buyers want to know exactly what they are getting into so they will understand all the ins and outs of their new home. A good inspector will be prepared for many questions, and “I don’t know” simply means he or she is committed to finding you the best answer.

What is the scope of the inspection?                                                

The home inspection ensures that the home is safe to inhabit and everything is in working order. You will learn if the house is structurally sound and if there are any predicted future issues.

What are the details of the report?

Most inspectors provide you with a report within 24 hours and often do so while still on-site. You will be given a copy of the checklist report with pictures, and the total document will be at minimum 15 pages detailing what all was inspected and how it is functioning at present.

How do your practices match up to industry standards?

Your chosen home inspector should be able to demonstrate how he or she is staying current with the best practices and building industry standards so the reports can include information about how the home can be brought up to code.

What is the expected lifespan of the property’s materials?

From the foundation to the roof, you’ll want to know what parts of the home may cause problems during your ownership. Ask about the roof materials and how long a typical roof made of that material lasts.  Always ask about the foundation of the structure to make sure to get the full picture of the inspector’s findings.

How will this property fare in a storm?

The Arizona monsoon season causes damages across the Valley, so you want to be prepared. Ask your home inspector about the property’s drainage and susceptibility to hazards because the storms come around every year and are unavoidable.

How do I shut off the main water valve to the house?

This may seem trivial, but it is an important part of protocol during emergencies or repairs. For more information about the exact location and process to shut off the main water valve, ask your home inspector during the inspection.

Is there room to expand the electrical panel?

Your electrical panel will determine the number of circuits you can run for lighting, appliances and more within the home. The inspector will be able to tell you if the current panel is full or if you can add onto it.

Find an Experienced Real Estate Attorney in Arizona

Our firm understands that homeowners want to be fully informed before purchasing or selling a home. MacQueen & Gottlieb can help you determine if your property was properly inspected or how to move forward with inspection-driven negotiations. Contact us today at 602-562-7218 to schedule an initial consultation or make an appointment online.




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