Bob Northern & Company
12540 Patterson Ave
Richmond, VA 23238
Tel: 804-708-9463 • Fax: 804-708-9467
Home Inspection Information
Questions about house inspectors and what they do.

Specific information on what to expect from your house inspector

Questions about house inspectors and what they do
What do inspectors do?
"House Inspectors" will check your new home from top to bottom including structural systems, mechanical systems, drainage, appliances, etc.

What is the inspector's liability if he misses something big?
Most inspectors attempt to limit their liability to the amount of fee they charge for the house inspection.

How much do they charge?
There is a wide range of charges. A rough "rule of thumb" is the inspector will charge a fee equal to 10%-15% of the total square footage of the house.

What do I expect them to do with me and for me?
The inspector should be willing to let you accompany him during the inspection. He should be willing to point out both minor and major deficiencies found in your new home and the significance of each. In addition, your inspector should show you preventive measures to assure a longer life of it's components.

What should I expect in form of documentation from them?
Most inspectors will give you a written report explaining the condition of each specific component of your new home as well as a general description of your new home's condition.

Should sellers get one before they list their home?
It is advantageous if a seller is able to have an inspection done before they put their home on the market. Realistically it only happens about 1% of the time. Many times, sellers can make corrective measures before deficiencies are discovered by the buyer. This seller paid inspection report can be used as a tool to make the buyer feel more comfortable with the general condition of the house. It should never be used by the buyer as a substitute for a thorough, impartial inspection by his own inspector. Who knows, maybe the sellers unemployed jack-leg brother made the report!

Should they get on the roof?
Many times inspectors can cause a lot of damage to a roof if they get on it. Older slate roofs, cedar and brittle composition roofs can be innocently and severely damaged! Many times inspectors will check the roof's condition from ladders, stand off at a distance with binoculars, and check the attic area for light and moisture stains that show evidence of past or present leaks.

Should they crawl under the house? Should I?
They should! Why don't you do it just once to make sure you know what you are buying? I promise you'll never do it again!

Should they "poke at the wood" with a screwdriver?
You'll be amazed how much rotten wood you will find. It especially occurs around windows and doors where caulking has failed. Many times it occurs at butt joints where pieces of siding meet each other. Make sure you check where the deck meets the house. This is a common place for severe decay. If you see fresh paint, beware. It is often used as an attempt to cover old rotted soft wood.

How many repairs can I expect the seller to perform?
The more you cut his price at the beginning, the less likely he is to make a long list of repairs!

Should I have the seller do the work or give me cash so I can do it?
Often it is better for you to hire your own people to do the work after you move in. If something goes wrong with the work, you will know whom to contact to get the problem(s) corrected. Many contractors do not allow their warranty to be transferred from the seller to the buyer, so be careful!

The purpose of a house inspection is not to renegotiate the contract price! Its purpose is to find significant hidden defects that you were not aware of that may affect your health, safety and investment.
Don't take anything for granted! Take your time and pay attention!