(Frequently Asked Questions)
We often get asked the same questions, so below we’ve compiled answers to the most common queries.
How can I become a Home Inspector in Kansas?
While it is true that some successful home inspectors enjoy an above average income, many don’t. There are numerous obstacles and pitfalls to starting and operating a home inspection business, even if you are experienced or do your job well. We encourage those with a serious interest to carefully consider the entire cost of training, equipping, certifying, insuring, and operating a business before jumping in head first. Home inspections are NOT a get rich quick scheme, or a “part time job with full time earnings” as is sometimes advertised on late night TV. Get the facts; talk to a current certified Home Inspector who has been in the business for at least a few years. Crawling through spider infested crawl spaces and stifling hot attics filled with itchy insulation is not a glamour job. There have been at least 3 Kansas home inspectors leave the business due to severe and debilitating injuries related to workplace falls.
How can I join KAREI?
If you are currently a Home Inspector operating in Kansas, want to be one, are in a related field and wish to network with qualified Home Inspectors, or just wish to be kept current on topics that affect the Home Inspection industry, then we invite you to become a full member or KAREI affiliate. For more information and an application in a downloadable PDF format click here.
What is a Home Inspection?
A home inspection is usually defined as “a non-invasive limited visual examination of a residential dwelling…designed to identify material defects present at the time of the inspection”. It is neither technically exhaustive nor totally comprehensive; however, the inspection process may be both complex and technical in its nature. In an age of specialization, home inspectors are one of the few remaining generalist. They don’t have to know everything about anything, but something about almost everything. Most experienced home inspectors possess a broad understanding of all home’s systems, their typical life cycles, and common or potential failure points. There is no single occupation or educational degree that fully prepares one for this profession, as there is nearly infinite variability in the range of systems and problems that must be recognized, diagnosed, and succinctly described.
Why should I have a Home Inspection?
Just like with people, the older an item the more likely it will fail, and sometimes the more expensive it will be to repair or replace. Most wouldn’t operate a car for 100,000 miles without changing the oil, yet many people go years or even decades without servicing some mechanical components in their homes. All homes need some maintenance, but not all houses are maintained. Since the maintenance history of a home may not be known, an inspection is your best insurance to avoid a literal “money pit”. There is no reason to risk your family’s safety, your health, or your possessions by purchasing a home without an inspection; even if you have an “as is” purchase agreement.
When should I have a Home Inspection?
Home sellers may choose to have a “pre-listing” inspection to allay buyer’s concerns of obvious defects, or serve as a disclosure for homes sold by non-resident owners or estates. Real estate contracts typically specify a buyer must have their inspection made within a given time period (for example: “10 business days following the signing of the contract”; ask your Realtor or read your contract carefully). Following the inspection, a buyer typically has a limited time (usually 3 days) in which to make a formal written repair request. Failure to make a written repair request may result in the acquiescence of your rights to have the Seller make repairs or adjust the price. It is important to schedule your inspections as soon as the contract is signed, as the more experienced inspectors often schedule appointments a week or more in advance.
In addition to complete home inspections, there are other inspections that may be needed, including: termite, mold, indoor air quality, lead-based paint, radon gas, EIFS, water well, septic, etc. Check with your inspector to see if they provide these ancillary services, as some require a separate certification or license.
Why do fees for Home Inspections vary so greatly?
Nowhere does the old adage "you get what you pay for" apply more aptly than with home inspections. As a general rule if you are paying a rock bottom price for your inspection, there's a good chance you are not getting as competent or comprehensive inspection as you might from a higher cost inspector. While there are always exceptions, the lower cost inspection report may be less inclusive, detailed, and/or documented than a higher priced inspection, and the inspector may be less experienced or educated. An inspector’s competence may be demonstrated by their professional organization affiliations (including membership in KAREI) and other hard won certifications earned through monitored testing and/or documented inspection experience (as opposed to those “certifications” conferred by simply paying a fee). Don't let price be your only factor in choosing a Home Inspector and don’t be misled by a bunch of meaningless letters following their name. Your real estate agent likely knows the competency of inspectors in your area, but they may be reluctant to make an endorsement for fear of acquiring liability. Others may not provide the names of the “toughest” inspectors for fear they’ll “kill the deal”. Of course inspectors don’t “kill deals”, they merely provide the facts. In the end, all parties to the transaction are best served when the buyer is fully informed. If you don’t have a personal referral or reference, a “sample” report from your prospective home inspector can be instructive as to his/her level of detail and documentation. When calculated by the hour, some of the most “expensive” inspectors work at the lowest rate.
Is it reasonable to request all items be fixed before I buy?
All homes come with problems; some major and some minor. With existing houses the price may reflect needed repairs. Your Inspector typically will not provide an exact repair cost estimate, as there are too many factors determining the price of any job, however, he/she may be able to indicate those items which are potentially major expenses as compared to those of little cost to repair.
Items noted in the inspection report may be classified as general maintenance rather than repair, and typically are handled by the buyer; however, there may be hidden or latent defects that you may request for repair or a price adjustment by the seller. It is typically not your Inspector’s job to determine what items to include on your repair request or to negotiate with the seller. When represented, these discussions and contract negotiations are within the scope of the real estate agents duties. When purchasing real estate without representation, we recommend you rely upon the advice of a knowledgeable family member, trusted friend, and/or attorney as to what constitutes a reasonable repair request.
What if the builder or seller won't do what my inspector recommends?
Major problems and defects that can affect health, safety, or habitability of a home are usually addressed in a buyer’s repair requests. We find most new home builders will fix construction defects identified by the inspector; however, “fit and trim” appearance defects are typically not covered in a home inspection report. There are no perfect homes, new or used; so one must decide which defects you can live with or repair yourself; and those that can’t wait or will involve a major cost to repair. Although your inspector may not advise you on whether or how to make a repair request to a seller, he/she likely will be a good resource to answer questions regarding urgency and severity of problems discovered during the inspection.
Where can I find a contractor to address the items listed in my inspection report?
KAREI does not specifically recommend contractors for certain jobs, but we maintain an Associate Member Directory for all those listed in related fields. This directory is a good starting point for your search for all types of contractors. These companies can often provide answers to questions that Inspectors can't answer, like: “How much will it cost to fix that?”