September 2006 (Palm Springs, Calif.) - In an ongoing series during its 30th anniversary year, the California Real Estate Inspection Association (CREIA) cautions home buyers and sellers, as well as all individuals involved in real estate transactions, that there are myths and misconceptions associated with retaining the services of a professional home inspector. CREIA presents Part Five of the continuing series “Myths & Realities about Home Inspections”.
Myth: A “walk through” at closing is the same as a home inspection.
REALITY: Homebuyers should not confuse a final “walk through” with a home inspection performed to a recognized standard of practice. As opposed to a home inspection, a buyer’s "walk through" inspection should take place just a few days prior to escrow closing, while a professional home inspection may be done many weeks or even months before the close of a transaction.
A “walk through” provides an opportunity for the buyer to verify that anything the home inspector recommended and the seller agreed to do was actually done. It also is a time for the buyer to make sure nothing else has changed since the original offer was made, and a full inspection conducted. A “walk through” is not a substitute for a professional home inspection.
A professional inspector is a third party objective and independent investigator who visually inspects and reports on the condition of a home. As a trained generalist, he or she identifies and examines the major systems and multitude of components of the dwelling. The inspector investigates the condition of the building and systematically operates or tests plumbing, electrical, heating and cooling systems and components of the home. In their work, the home inspector is addressing health and safety issues, and may make recommendations on repair options and maintenance.
Myth: If you are not buying or selling a home, you don’t need an inspection.
REALITY: Homeowners should consider having their homes inspected on an annual basis. It is important for both the safety of occupants and for the value of the home that homeowners be informed on the status of their dwelling’s systems and components. A home that has not been recently inspected may have undiscovered, minor or major maintenance items that could lead to a significant financial expense to correct or replace if not discovered. Constant upkeep not only makes a home more livable, but also makes it less expensive to repair when the time comes to sell.
Because of the wide range of seasonal climates, unusual weather and seismic occurrences, a professional home inspection can help provide a wealth of information to a homeowner anxious to ensure that their valuable home is well maintained. In addition to market value, health and safety of the family are the primary reasons for an annual checkup. An annual professional inspection report would serve as a reminder of maintenance upkeep and provide a record of what services have been done. If minor problems are noted on the report, the homeowner has the opportunity to fix them before they develop into a major expense.
Make sure you retain the services of a qualified inspector who is trained and experienced in home inspection. It is also very important that your inspector be a member of a professional association such as CREIA to ensure qualifications and continued education. Since 1976, CREIA, a non-profit voluntary membership organization has been providing education, training, and support services to the real estate inspection profession and to the public. Inspectors must adhere to CREIA's Code of Ethics and follow the Standards of Practice developed and maintained by the Association. These Standards of Practice have been recognized by the State of California, and are considered the source for Home Inspector Standard of Care by the real estate and legal communities.
CREIA requires its members to successfully pass a written test of property systems and complete 30 hours of education each year. Members can accumulate credits through various sources of education including monthly chapter meetings, conferences, and other approved activities. CREIA keeps records to ensure that members are complying with the requirements. Educational topics cover a variety of technical subjects including updates and advances that affect property inspection and the business of real estate inspection.
CREIA is dedicated to consumer protection and education. To locate a qualified CREIA inspector near you click here or call CREIA at (800) 388-8443.