Home Buying in San Mateo>Question Details

Jack K, Home Buyer in San Francisco, CA

How much home inspection (what type of inspectors to hire) should be done before closing the deal on a singe family home?

Asked by Jack K, San Francisco, CA Sun Mar 6, 2011

Assuming the seller only provided a general report and a termite/pest report, how much home inspection should I get done as a buyer before closing the deal on a singe family home? Thanks!

Help the community by answering this question:


Get that home inspection before you close on a home
When it comes to things you need to do before buying a home, a professional home inspection tops the list. After you have signed a contract and it has been accepted by buyer and seller, you need to schedule a home inspection. Be sure that your contract indicates that the purchase is pending the results of a home inspection.

There are many home inspectors around. You can ask a friend, relative, or your Realtor for recommendations. Also search the Internet for local inspectors. The inspection should be completed by a certified or licensed home inspector. The cost is anywhere from $250 and up depending on the size of the home and the type of inspections performed. Also, plan to pay for this out of your own pocket up front as the buyer.

The purpose of the home inspection is to determine if the home has any potential or existing problems. It also gives you peace of mind knowing if there are any issues before you buy. You should be at the inspection with the inspector. The inspector can show and explain any problems that might be harder if you only received a written report. Most inspections take at least an hour and sometimes longer. In addition to seeing everything first hand with the inspector, you generally receive a written report with photos following the inspection.

What is typically included in an inspection? A home inspector will check the home structure, the water situation, as well as heating and electrical. You should also plan to get a separate termite and wood destroying organisms inspection from a pest control company. This is usually done for free and can be scheduled at the same time as the home inspection.

In Florida some other inspections that are offered are homeowner insurance inspections such as a 4 point insurance inspection, roofing certification inspection, and a wind mitigation inspection. These may have additional costs.

After the inspection is complete you can determine if you still want to go ahead with the purchase of the home. If there are problems that are too costly, then you can terminate the contract. An inspection can save you several thousands of dollars down the road, but again it also gives you peace of mind.

Tammy Hayes, Realtor, Sandals Realty, Punta Gorda, FL - tammyhayesre@gmail.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 7, 2011
Get an ASHI certified home inspector, and get a pest inspection done as well.
The ASHI certified general home inspector will let you know if you need to call in any specialist trade people, like roof, electrical or plumbing. The pest inspector will let you know if there is any wood damage to the house. Pest inspections cost around $200. General home inspections cost around $600. The specialists will usual do the bids for free.

Your agent should have a list of approved inspectores. It is money well spent.

Good luck
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 6, 2011
You should get as many inspections as you need to sleep at night about your new house! At the very least, get a whole house inspection by a licensed, experienced inspector. Follow them around during the inspection and have them explain everything they look at to you. Ask them specifically what they inspect, how they inspect it, what they don't inspect and what their limitations are. If ANYTHING raises a red flag - call in an expert to find out more about it! No inspectiion will every be perfect and find everything, so it's all a matter of your comfort level.

Seller disclosures can be helpful in pointing out unknowns - but I advise all of my buyers not to ever rely on it to discover defects in the house. The seller could be lying or may not know certain things about the house. Get a good inspector and rely on them and your own common sense!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 23, 2011
Web Reference: http://www.umboc.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 23, 2011
Hiring a general home inspector is always a great idea. If they find no major defects you can sleep better knowing you bought a solid property. If they find potential defects you can address them before closing, by calling in experts for more specific feedback. If a serious defect is found you may have an opportunity to renegotiate your offer.
Many Inspectors include maintenance tips both general and specific which are helpful, especailly to a first time home buyer.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 22, 2011
What is your agent advising? A reputable Accredited Buyer Representative (ABR) would be right on this with you. As a buyer, when you read a California Association of REALTORS(R) CAR contract, there are pages and pages outlining your rights and responsibilities as a buyer. You have the right to obtain any and all data you need to feel comfortable moving forward on this home.

Sometimes you may feel satisfied with the seller-provided reports. At the very least, arrange for those inspectors to go over the findings with you and answer questions (most will do this for a small consulting fee).

That may include a property, pest, chimney & roof inspection. It may, depending on the home and disclosures, also need a soils, engineering, foundation or mold inspection, too.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 16, 2011
Lynn in Dallas is incorrect. California does not license home inspectors. Otherwise, very good information posted here. The RPA (real estate agreement) requires you to hire "insured" professionals. Also, look at sample reports from inspector web sites. Thumbs-up to Realtors that suggest pulling permits. Reviewing permits is an inexpensive way to verify alterations and repairs were done lawfully.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 9, 2011
You should definitely get a home inspection done prior to closing. Even if there is nothing wrong with the home, the inspector will point things out to you for your reference. Especially if you are a first time home buyer, it's like your own home tutorial! If there are other things at the home, such as a septic system or pool, you may want to get an inspection on those as well. Bottom line, you don't want any huge surprises after closing, so better safe than sorry!

For more buying and selling tips, please visit http://www.RochesterHomeLocator.com

Salafia Sold Team
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 7, 2011
I always tell my buyers to inspect everything that they don't want to deal with after closing. If you don't find a problem and ask the seller to fix, then you are on your own once the home is closed.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 7, 2011
Home Inspection

Termite Inspection

Roof Inspection

Pool Inspection

Septic Inspection(If the home is on septic)
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 7, 2011
Jack -

I would recommend you completing any and all inspections/investigations that will allow you to feel comfortable with your purchase. In addition to what the seller has offered and depending on the property, there may be more that is needed to give you a complete picture.

For example, hill side homes may require civil engineering and environmental reports regarding the stability of soils etc. Homes in damp areas near watersheds may need foundation reports and "crawl space" analysis by professionals. Additions or remodeling may need documentation of permitting or may need a contractor to evaluate workmanship.

Look to the disclosures you have from the seller about potential issues, talk with neighbors, and consult with your real estate agent to help guide you. Ultimately, if you are not clear on the condition/report/result or simply have a funny feeling, find someone that can help you determine if it IS an issue and the cost of remedy before releasing your contingency.

Good luck!

Web Reference: http://www.TalkToCJ.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 6, 2011
Jack, your buyer agent should be going over this with you. What I recommend to my buyers is as follows.
Read the Seller's Disclosures, and Environmental Reports, along with any inspections provided by the seller.
Highlight any questions
Have your own Home Inspection and Termite Inspection. You can also ask to them pay close attention to any of the concerns for which you noted.
If a specialist in any of the areas is recommended or warranted then you would have those inspections; such as;
Roof, Chimney, Plumbing, Sewer Lateral, Electrical, Pool, Spa, Foundation, Septic and/or Well, Mold. It's not always necessary to have all the additional inspections, but if something is called out in the report you go to the expect.

I also pull the county tax records and verify it against what the MLS/Seller show as to age, size, etc. Pull permits, etc.
Web Reference: http://terrivellios.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 6, 2011
A home inspection is generally requested by you the buyer as a condition to the purchase of the home. Many homebuyers do indeed make the purchase of their home contingent upon a homeowner's inspection. The inspection is a way to protect your investment. A homeowner's inspection should not be confused with an appraisal, which is required by most mortgage lenders in order to support the valuation of the mortgage security. The appraisal does not go into the same amount of detail as a home inspection


Thierry Abel
Senior Loan Consultant
All California Mortgage, Inc
P: (415) 464-8261
C: (415) 378-7508
F: (415) 464-2367
E: tabel@allcalifornia.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 6, 2011
Dear Jack

All the answers that the other agents gave you are what I do, however I do go to the building department where the home was built and pull all permits and review the file for building violations or stop work notices and any type of notice the city may have sent the homeowner...in addition to all the inspections. Some cities require a sewer laterol inspection, even if they don't provide for a sewer laterol inspection...sometimes that inspection is worth while as that is thousands of dollars in the event you would need to replace the line...
Good luck to you on your home purchase...
If you have any questions, feel free to contact me..
Denise A Laugesen
Top 1% Internationally
Coldwell Banker
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 6, 2011
Hi Jack,

Other than the pest and home inspection that the others have mentioned, you may need to get a foundation and or drainage expert to look at any potential problems.

The home inspection should give you a very good idea of what kind of shape the home is in ( including the roof), but the home inspector will not tell you how much it costs to repair any problems that they find.

If there is a problem with the home, the home inspectors alway tell you to get a specialist, like a plumber, electrician or engineer to give their own report and bid.

Best of luck.

0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 6, 2011

For starters you want a contractor inspection and a pest inspection of your own, even if the sellers provide recent ones. The walkthrough with the contractor inspector is invaluable and you won't get through a written report, and frequently our pest inspectors turn up things others don't. Plus, if you get your own you know there is no other agenda.

I wouldn't hire a structural engineer or other inspectors unless recommended by either of the first two inspectors unless you have specific cause for doing so.

If you would like referrals for inspectors our contact info is below:

Best Regards,

Lance King/Owner-Managing Broker
DRE# 01384425
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 6, 2011
Hi Jack,
Typically on the peninsula most sellers will provide both a home inspection and pest inspection as part of their disclosure package. I would highly recommend having your own inspections as well just for your peace of mind and education, though you could certainly learn something new or find a new issue that could be of concern to you. You may also consider having a chimney inspection, which is around $125, and if you had concerns about the roof or foundation, you could have experts examine them too...all depends on your comfort level and understanding of the home.
Good luck.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 6, 2011
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