A home inspector can find problems with a home that may not be obvious to the prospective homebuyer. Obtaining a professional home inspection by a licensed inspector can help keep the dream of owning your own home from becoming a nightmare.
All licensed home inspectors must abide by the New York State Standards of Practice and the Code of Ethics during each inspection. In addition, according to the New York State Department of State Division of Licensing Services, home inspectors must also receive 24 hours of continuing education every two years, which is when they must renew the license, and maintain a certificate of liability coverage of at least $150,000 per occurrence and $500,000 aggregate.
Structural issues can be of paramount importance to a homebuyer. For example, a long horizontal crack in a foundation can mean substantial repairs with very substantial costs (upwards of $10,000 or more in many cases). Usually, simple vertical cracks are of little structural significance. A licensed home inspector is trained to identify structural issues such as these, along with a host of other systems and components of a home. According to NY State license law, home inspectors must follow a rigorous "Standards of Practice," which stipulates in great detail what must be inspected according to the laws of New York State. Accordingly, home inspectors are required to provide a written report to their client, covering subjects such as electrical, plumbing, heating, air conditioning, structure, roofing, siding, drainage, insulation and ventilation, along with many other systems and components.
With many home sales now consisting of foreclosures or short sales - in which the homeowner is under the threat of foreclosure and owes more than what the house is worth - it has never been more important to have a qualified professional inspect a home. According to the National Association of REALTORS, foreclosures and short sales accounted for 30 percent of sales during the month of June.
Often, homes that are the subject of short sales and foreclosures fall into disrepair. As the homeowner falls behind in his mortgage payments, he may forego repairs or substitute repairs for replacements. In a foreclosure, if the electric and other utilities are shut off, it makes it difficult to spot problems. At times, appliances and fixtures are removed, further complicating matters.
Another danger to be aware of is "fix it and flip it" - that is, they buy a house, make the repairs themselves and try to sell the home as quickly as possible in order to turn a profit. However, the repairs may be largely cosmetic and not address structural or mechanical problems; the items that they repaired may actually need to be replaced. A licensed home inspector can identify these issues.
"We urge those who are looking to buy a home to hire a licensed home inspector to look at the house prior to purchasing one," says Scott Gressin, President, Metropolitan Association of Home Inspectors. "Identifying potential problems will help ensure that the prospective homeowner is getting what they are paying for."
For more information, or to find a home inspector, visit www.mahionline.org.
About Metropolitan Association of Home Inspectors
The Metropolitan Association of Home Inspectors (MAHI) was founded in 1998. The organization's major focus is to educate its home inspectors through ongoing training. MAHI was at the forefront of the discussion regarding the licensing of home inspectors and was instrumental in shaping the current Home Inspectors Licensing Laws. For more information, visit www.mahionline.org.