Frequently Asked Questions
There's no such thing as a dumb question.
A home inspection is an objective visual examination of the condition of the physical structure and systems of a home at a given point in time. Having a home inspected is like giving it a physical check-up. If problems or symptoms are found, the home inspector may recommend a remedy or further evaluation by an appropriate tradesman. It’s important to understand that a home inspection includes only readily-accessible areas and systems. Home inspectors do not perform any destructive testing. Consumers should not expect a home inspection to reveal hidden defects or their reports to include the condition of every nail, wire or pipe in the home. Although our inspections are thorough, we have very limited time in the home and are primarily focused on pointing out major concerns and/or safety related items rather than cosmetic items, which are usually readily apparent to the consumer themselves.
The purchase of a home is probably the largest single investment you will ever make. You should learn as much as you can about the condition of the property and the need for any major repairs before you buy, so that you can minimize unpleasant surprises and difficulties afterwards. Of course, a home inspection also points out the positive aspects of a home, well as the maintenance necessary to keep it in good shape. After the inspection, you will have a much clearer understanding of the house you are about to purchase. If you are already a homeowner, a home inspection may be used to identify problems in the making and to learn preventive measures, which might avoid costly future repairs. If you are planning to sell your home, you may wish to have an inspection prior to placing you home on the market. This will give you a better understanding of conditions which may be discovered by the buyer’s inspector, and an opportunity to make repairs that will put the house in better selling condition.
Even the most experienced of homeowners typically lack the knowledge and expertise of a professional home inspector who has inspected hundreds, perhaps thousands, of homes in his or her career. An inspector is experienced with the many elements of home construction, their proper installation, and maintenance. He or she understands how the home’s systems and components are intended to function together, as well as how and why they fail.
A home inspector is typically contacted right after the contract or purchase agreement has been signed, and is often available within a few days. However, before you sign, be sure that there is an inspection clause in the sales contract, making your final purchase obligation contingent upon the findings of a professional home inspection.
No. A professional home inspection is an examination of the current condition of your prospective home. It is not an appraisal, which determines market value, or a municipal inspection, which verifies local code compliance. A home inspector, therefore, will not pass or fail a house, but rather describe its physical condition and indicate what may need repair or replacement.
Your inspection report for morning or afternoon appointments will be posted the evening of the inspection. Reports for evening appointments will be posted within 24 hours of the inspection. Water testing reports will be emailed directly to you from the lab in 1-3 business days. If your inspection will include water testing, please schedule early enough in your “due diligence” period to allow for time to get the results from the lab.
It’s important to be realistic. No house is perfect. We’ve never had an inspection report that was perfect, not even on new construction. Every house has maintenance or repair issues that need to be addressed and always will. If your inspector identifies problems, it doesn’t necessarily mean you shouldn’t buy the house, only that you will know in advance what to expect. The information provided by your home inspection can allow you and your real estate professional to ask for the seller to adjust the purchase price or make repairs if problems are found that merit renegotiating the deal, or to pull out of the deal if there is an issue that you consider to be a deal-breaker.
Definitely! Now you can complete your home purchase with your eyes open as to the condition of the property and all its equipment and systems. You will also have learned many things about your new home.
A home inspection typically takes 2 to 3 hours, but could take longer in large, poorly-maintained or antique homes. The time will also vary depending on who attends and the level of questions. Our Certified Master Inspector typically does only two inspections a day, to be sure to have enough time scheduled for every inspection so that he’s available to answer any questions that may come up.
It is not required that you be present for the inspection, but it is highly recommended. You will be able to observe the inspector and ask questions directly, as you learn about the condition of the home, how its systems work, and how to maintain it. You will also find the written report easier to understand if you have seen the potential issues first-hand with the inspector. We do ask that you limit the number of attendees to two people, if possible (not including the realtors). Remember, it’s someone else’s home we’ll be in – not an appropriate time to bring the whole family. A larger number of attendees can also be very disruptive to the inspection process, which requires a great deal of focus and concentration by your inspector.
Definitely! Many homebuyers are led to believe that the county or municipality inspection and the final walk-through with the builder’s representative is an adequate way to inspect a home. Most municipality inspectors spend no more than 30 minutes at a home site. The builder’s final walk-through inspection is very unlikely to disclose any problems with the home they built as some repairs can prove to be expensive. Your home inspector will spend 2-3 hours during a typical inspection and could save you thousands of dollars in repairs later-on. We also offer an “11th Month Warranty Inspection” to assist the homeowner in negotiating builder warranty issues.
Your inspection fee will vary depending on the type and size of the home, and will also depend on what services you order. Our up-front pricing can be viewed on our website here. You’ll find that our rates are very competitive.
We accept cash, check, or credit card (MasterCard, Visa, Discover or American Express) at the time of the inspection. If you cannot attend the inspection, we require you to prepay your fee. Payment can be made on our website here. You also have the option to pay right away when you book your appointment online. No report will be delivered unless the fee is paid in full, so please be prepared to pay your fee at the inspection.
We encourage you to ask all the questions you want at the inspection. However, should you have additional questions or concerns after the inspection, please feel free to call or email us. Some of our clients call us with specific and general questions well after the inspection takes place. We believe client support during the inspection and beyond is one of the many reasons that our company is so successful.
While we never want our clients to experience unexpected costs with their new home, it’s important to have realistic expectations. A home inspection is not a warranty or guarantee and is not exhaustive (meaning not every inch of the home will be inspected). The goal is to give the client a better understanding of a home’s condition to help with their negotiation decisions. We do our very best to identify all of the issues that we can in the limited time that we have in the home, but there are limitations to a home inspection which include constraints on time and the ability to see hidden defects, so it’s not realistic or reasonable to expect that every defect will be found during an inspection. Many issues can only be discovered by living in a house and cannot be discovered during a home inspection. For example, some roof leaks can only be detected when ice dams form on the roof. Some basement leaks can only be detected during the spring thaw. Some hidden issues will only be discovered when carpets are lifted, furniture or appliances are moved, or finishes are removed during a renovation. Some issues can happen without notice, such as a failed water heater tank. Some items in the home can’t be inspected seasonally, such as the central A/C during winter and the roof shingles when covered with snow and ice. Conditions within a building can and will change, even in a short period of time. Every home has maintenance & repair items that need to be addressed, and always will. As a homeowner, the maintenance and repair of your home is your responsibility so it’s important to budget for repairs that will inevitably need to be made.
Some home inspection companies will offer you a short home warranty as part of an inspection, but it’s important to read the fine print. These inexpensive warranties are very limited and typically do not cover most items that, if failed, would cause a financial hardship. For example, these warranties typically exclude HVAC systems that are more than ten years old, septic systems, roofs, wells – basically anything in a home that actually costs money. It’s our opinion that these warranties are essentially just marketing gimmicks that offer you little, if any, value. Many real estate companies do offer optional home warranties with better coverage, so check with your realtor. But again, read the fine print as there are still some limitations.
We do include InterNACHI’s 90-Day Guarantee with every buyer’s inspection, which offers to buy the home back within the 90 days after closing if anything covered in the standards of practice was missed during the inspection. We believe that this guarantee is the best protection available to offer you as a new homeowner. And this guarantee is good for 90 days after closing, not 90 days after the inspection like most warranties.
At Gate City Home Inspections, our objective is to deliver the highest level of service possible. With at least 70% of our business originating from referrals, we’re proud to be one of the most trusted home inspection companies in New Hampshire. Brian Burleson, our Certified Master Inspector® (one of only eight in NH), has over 20 years of home repair & remodeling experience. Our pricing is very competitive and our inspection techniques and equipment are state-of-the-art and regularly updated to ensure that we’re providing outstanding service throughout the inspection process. Brian’s not satisfied that an inspection is complete until he’s sure that all of the client’s questions and concerns have been addressed an they’re comfortable that they understand any and all of the conditions found during the inspection. A look at our Client Testimonials page will show you that our clients are very happy with our service and that many come back again when they’re looking to buy another property.