FAQ from Home Inspectors

Here is the low down on home inspection questions.

How do I get an inspection before buying a house?

You should never sign a “Offer to Purchase” (OTP) agreement without making your offer conditional on you first obtaining and being satisfied with an independent inspection report. Home Inspectors qualified in South African Buisling Standards such as those offered by SAHITA are essential to detect compliance with SA building standards.

What things will fail a home inspection?

Home inspection reports never “pass” or “fail” a property. A home inspection report merely documents all significant defects which the inspector has observed.  This information enables the prospective buyer to make informed decisions, firstly on whether to buy the property and also secondly what would be a reasonable price taking in account the defects to the property as revealed in the home inspection report.

What is included in a typical home inspection?

A typical home inspection will cover a visual inspection of all of the Vital areas where significant defects may pose financial or safety risks.  This includes inspecting the roof covering and waterproofing, the roof cavity, the hot water geyser, the walls, ceilings and floors, plumbing and electrical installations.  The risks of potential flooding, fire and personal safety will usually also be assessed by the inspector. The client may be prepared to pay more for a Comprehensive inspection – which would document all observed Vital and cosmetic defects – or a limited area inspection – for instance an inspection confined only to the roof, or only to stormwater management issues.

How much does a home inspection cost?

The cost of a home inspection will depend on the size of the property and the scope of the inspection – is it a Vital inspection, a Comprehensive inspection, or a limited area inspection (say the roof only).   HouseCheck bases its quotations on a room count and a typical inspection of the entire property would vary between R3,000 and R5,000.   An inspection of a very large home could be even more.

When buying a house who pays for the home inspection?

Usually the prospective buyer pays for the inspection, but there are no rules in this regard.  Sometimes, the owner (seller) pays for an upfront inspection as part of the mandatory condition disclosure by the owner required by the Property Practitioners Act.  Estate agents often opt to pay for the inspection as part of their service and to ensure that the deal is fair to both parties.

Do sellers have to fix everything on a home inspection?

Sellers have no obligation to fix the defects listed in a home inspection report.  This is a matter of negotiation between the buyer and the seller.  A good estate agent will usually advise both seller and buyer taking into account both the price, the estimated cost of needed repairs and also the relationship between the asking price of the property and a comparative market analysis of other comparable properties.

Should I waive a home inspection?

Buyers should never waive a home inspection but should always insist on making a satisfactory inspection report a condition of the sale.  No one can be sure of the condition of a roof covering, or structural roof timbers without someone physically inspecting these critical items. The same goes for the hot water geyser.   Only a trained person will be able to diagnose the cause of wall cracks or damp and only a trained professional will be able to determine how serious and significant these defects really are.  Home inspections are the only practical way a prospective buyer can be sure of making informed decisions.

Can a home inspection kill a deal?

Yes, a home inspection can “kill a deal” if the home inspector discovers serious defects on the inspected property which have not been disclosed to the prospective buyer by either the property owner or by the estate agent.  There are only two possible reasons for the non-disclosure of serious defects to potential buyers – ignorance or dishonesty.  In most cases where the home inspector finds the property to be seriously defective, the cause is ignorance by the owner and agent of potential or actual defects and risks in areas such as the roof, roof cavity and as regards the hot water geysers.

How long should a home inspection take?

A typical home inspection will usually take around 3 hours on site, but this depends very much on the condition and complexity of the structures to be inspected.  Under normal conditions HouseCheck will deliver its inspection report within one working day of the inspection. 

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