Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What is a home inspection?

A home inspection is an objective visual examination of the physical structure and systems of a house, from the roof to the foundation.

Q. What does a home inspection include?

The standard home inspector’s report will cover the condition of the home’s heating system; central air conditioning system (temperature permitting); interior plumbing and electrical systems; the roof, attic and visible insulation; walls, ceilings, floors, windows and doors; the foundation, basement and structural components. The American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) publishes a Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics that outlines what you should expect to be covered in your home inspection report.

Q. Why do I need a home inspection?

Buying a home could be the largest single investment you will ever make. To minimize unpleasant surprises and unexpected difficulties, you’ll want to learn as much as you can about the newly constructed or existing house before you buy it. A home inspection may identify the need for major repairs or builder oversights, as well as the need for maintenance to keep it in good shape. After the inspection, you will know more about the house, which will allow you to make decisions with confidence.

If you already are a homeowner, a home inspection can identify problems in the making and suggest preventive measures that might help you avoid costly future repairs.

If you are planning to sell your home, a home inspection can give you the opportunity to make repairs that will put the house in better selling condition.

Q. When do I call to schedule an Inspection?

After you've made an offer on a house, your attorney will usually include an "inspection clause” in the purchase contract. This clause generally says that your purchase is contingent upon a home inspection report, verifying that the house has no major deficiencies, and allows a specified period of time (usually 10-14 days) for you to have a home inspection performed. Once the “attorney review” of the contract is completed, it’s time to call Empire Inspection to set up an inspection appointment. We will schedule a convenient date and time for the inspection – well within the time frame allowed in your contract. Both morning and afternoon appointments are available.

Q. How long will the home inspection take?

A home inspection will take approximately 2 to 3 hours depending on the size of the home and the conditions present. Condominiums and town homes typically take less time than single family homes. Older homes generally take longer.

Q. Should I attend the home inspection?

If it is possible to come to the home inspection, we highly recommend it. Seeing your home through the home inspector’s eyes will provide you with a better understanding of what you are buying.

Q. What if I cannot attend the home inspection?

After receiving your home inspection report, if you wish to speak to the home inspector personally, we can arrange a time for you to do that. You can receive your report by any combination of mail, e-mail or fax.

Q. Will you send a copy of the report to my Realtor and attorney?

Yes! At your request we will send a copy of the report to your Realtor and/or attorney. The State of New Jersey requires home inspectors to obtain your written permission in order to release the report. This is easily obtained through the home inspection agreement.

Q. Can I call the home inspector if I have questions?

Yes! Feel free to call the home inspector to discuss any concerns you may have.

Q. When should I schedule my home inspection?

Schedule your home inspection as soon as you are sure you will be out of attorney review. Your contract will provide you with a specific number of days within which to get your home inspection. If the contract does not allow you enough time, you can ask your attorney to request an extension on the allotted time.

Q. What will it cost?

The inspection fee for a typical one-family house varies geographically, as does the cost of housing. Similarly, within a given area, the inspection fee may vary depending on a number of factors such as the size of the house, its age and possible optional services such as septic, well or radon testing.

Do not let cost be a factor in deciding whether or not to have a home inspection or in the selection of your home inspector. The sense of security and knowledge gained from an inspection is well worth the cost, and the lowest-priced inspection is not necessarily a bargain.

Q. Can a house fail a home inspection?

No. A professional home inspection is an examination of the current condition of a house. It is not an appraisal, which determines market value. It is not a municipal inspection, which verifies local code compliance. A home inspector, therefore, will not pass or fail a house, but rather describe its physical condition and indicate what components and systems may need major repair or replacement.

Q. When do I can a home inspector?

Typically, a home inspector is contacted immediately after the contract or purchase agreement has been signed. Before you sign, be sure there is an inspection clause in the sales contract, making your final purchase obligation contingent on the findings of a professional home inspection. This clause should specify the terms and conditions to which both the buyer and seller are obligated.

Q. What if the report reveals problems?

No house is perfect. If the inspector identifies problems, it doesn’t mean you should or shouldn’t buy the house, only that you will know in advance what to expect. If your budget is tight, or if you don’t want to become involved in future repair work, this information will be important to you. If major problems are found, a seller may agree to make repairs.

Q. If the house proves to be in good condition, did I really need an inspection?

Definitely, now you can complete your home purchase with confidence. You’ll have learned many things about your new home from the inspector’s written report, and will have that information for future reference.