The State of Utah does not license or regulate home inspectors. If a home inspector mentions being “licensed and certified” you should definitely ask for details. The only “license” required is a business license from the County or City. When an inspector says he/she is “certified” one might ask by whom. The State of Utah has no such licensing category for “Certified Home Inspector,” nor does the State have required testing.
Currently the only way to assure that the home inspector you have hired is qualified is to check his/her credentials and to verify their affiliation with a professional organization such as ASHI (American Society of Home Inspectors). Membership status in this organization, for example, requires adherence to high professional Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics, accreditation by the Examination Board of Professional Home Inspectors, and completion of continuous education courses every year to keep their memberships valid.
While most homeowners can do a thorough walk through and spot obvious defects, a professional home inspector has specialized instruments to test major components of the home, as well as a trained eye, to find the not so obvious defects of the home.
By themselves, the costs are very reasonable. When considering the peace of mind that comes with knowing the quality of the home you are buying or understanding the extent of damage to a home, the cost is negligible.
Building codes are constantly being revised. Houses built thirty years ago would not necessarily pass present-day building codes. This does not mean that older homes are necessarily unsafe. The purpose of a home inspection is to determine the condition and safety of a home, as it is at the present time, not whether it meets past or present codes.
A home inspection is a professional opinion and not a warranty or a guarantee. If additional assurances are desired, the buyer may purchase a home warranty from a home warranty company. Your real estate agent will be able to provide information regarding home warranties.
In most cases, only one is necessary, but sometimes a return visit may be desired to inspect items that may have been inaccessible or concealed at the time of the first home inspection. There may or may not be an additional charge for a one time follow up visit. The inspector may discover defects that may require a specialist opinion. In addition, other testing may be desired for such things as radon gas, wood destroying insects, yard sprinkler system, mold, or EIFS (synthetic stucco).
No, you should call an inspector after you’ve signed the earnest money agreement but before you sign the final papers. Be sure to include a legally clear clause in the earnest money agreement making the sale contingent on a home inspection satisfactory to you as the buyer. Since negotiations between buyers and sellers are often hectic, with tight deadlines, you might want to speak to, and decide on a home inspector in advance of making your purchase offer.
The inspection process is to help you familiarize yourself with your new home. A quality home inspection should include a personalized walk-through with the inspector as well as a written report.
Many times a qualified inspector will be able to point out areas that need to be repaired or upgraded to prepare the house for a sell. This may expedite the closing of the sale of your home.