You are buying a home but do you know what to look for in a home inspection process in Phoenix, Az? This article will help buyers know what to expect of your home inspector and questions to ask. Why does it matter who you choose for your inspection? What types of inspections should a buyer consider in Arizona? Read more about home inspections in the Phoenix metro area and what you need to know.
- What do Home Inspectors Actually Inspect?
- Are Home Inspectors Licensed in Arizona?
- Whose Side is the Inspector on?
- What is the Home Inspector Looking for?
- Are There Things Home Inspectors Don’t Check?
- How Does A Seller Prepare For a Home Inspection?
- More Seller Home Preparation
- Can the Buyer Attend the Inspection?
- Can the Seller Attend the Inspection?
- What if the Inspector Finds Something The Seller Didn’t Disclose?
- What Recourse Does A Buyer Have With Inspection Issues?
- How Does A buyer Know Repairs are Completed after the Home Inspection?
- What is the Cost of A Home Inspection?
- What is a good home inspection report?
- How do you Fail a Home Inspection?
- Do sellers have to fix everything on home inspections?
What do Home Inspectors Actually Inspect?
First, a home inspection is a visual inspection of the accessible home systems. Since the buyer does not yet own the home, the inspector is not permitted to do “invasive” inspections. They can’t make a hole in the wall to check on pipes.
They can’t take apart an air conditioning system. The state looks at this as a “limited visual inspection”.
Are Home Inspectors Licensed in Arizona?
Home inspectors in Arizona are required to be licensed by the state. Some states (as of this writing, California for example) do not require home inspectors to be state-licensed.
Arizona home inspectors are certified by the Arizona Board of Technical Registrations. To be certified, inspectors must go through 84 hrs of classroom learning, pass a national exam and perform a minimum of 30 inspections with a licensed home inspector.
Whose Side is the Inspector on?
Buyers want an inspector who states the facts and is thorough. The home inspector is a neutral third party hired to follow state-approved home inspection guidelines. They are hired by the buyer to ensure the house is safe and sound. Also, the buyer needs to understand if there are any repairs they want to request the seller make as part of the property sale.
Also, buyers need to understand what, if any repairs they may need to make. Some inspectors are known to blow issues out of proportion while others may not be as thorough as others. Also, some will only do the minimum state requirements, while others will go above and beyond. A good example of this is the requirement to check a “sampling” of outlets in each room.
A great home inspector will check all accessible outlets. The state requires a Sampling of windows and doors to check for functioning locks. A great home inspector will check all accessible windows and doors.
You may also be interested in reading about Seller Closing Costs in Arizona.
What is the Home Inspector Looking for?
When it comes to the home inspection process in Phoenix, Az, home inspectors will look for structural and system issues, not cosmetic items. Also, they are looking at the house exterior, plumbing, electrical, roofing, heating, air conditioning. insulation, electrical panels, and ventilation. If the seller has the garage packed to the rafters, the inspector will be unable to check outlets, water heaters, and other garage features.
Home inspectors will also check the water pressure to the house. Additionally, some inspectors will also check the yard irrigation systems. Some will go into the attic (complete with a respirator and coveralls) to look for moisture stains on the inside of the roof and rafters. They will also look for issues with electrical wires in the attic. Other inspectors will only peer into the attic but not set foot inside! Typically, home inspectors will check the built-in appliances, ie stove, microwave, dishwasher, etc.
The home inspector will also point out key controls in the house. Pay attention when the inspector points out these important features, such as the electrical breaker panel. In Arizona, the breaker panel is typically on the outside of the house. This is different from most states where it is found inside.
Due to the mild Phoenix-area weather, these are perfectly fine on the house exterior. Pay attention to the water main shutoff. It is typical in Arizona for there to be a shut-off valve to shut off water into the house. You can still leave the watering system on for the landscape. If you have a vacation home in the Phoenix area or are even traveling, you may want to turn off water into the house.
Most Phoenix landscaping will need daily watering. Paying attention to the shut-off valve can save you headaches later if, say, you need to turn off the water when an internal pipe bursts.
Are There Things Home Inspectors Don’t Check?
Most home inspections do not include a refrigerator, washer or dryer inspection if the seller is including these in the sale. Also, the inspector does not check aftermarket items, such as water softeners, in house vacuum systems, alarm systems, telephone systems or the cable system. Additionally, the home inspector is looking for structural and safety issues with the house, not normal wear and tear or cosmetic items.
How Does A Seller Prepare For a Home Inspection?
The home Inspection process in Phoenix, Az is easier if a seller prepares an inspection? First, be sure the utilities are on. Often, if the seller has moved out, the utilities may be turned off. Home inspectors need electricity, gas, and water to be turned on at the property. Be sure the inspector has access to the house. Also, if there is a home alarm, disarm for the inspection or be sure the inspector has the code.
If there is a real estate agent’s lockbox on the house or a contractor lockbox, the inspector will arrange with the listing agent for access at the scheduled time. If the seller has not moved out, be sure the inspector can reach all areas. Additionally, inspectors need to reach the water heater, typically found in Arizona in the garage. Be sure there is no furniture in front of doors or windows that need to be checked.
More Seller Home Preparation
Also, sellers should make sure all the light bulbs in the house are working. If the inspector can’t turn on a light there is no way to know whether the light bulb is burned out or the light does not work. None working lights will be noted on the inspection report. Go ahead and fix minor issues with loose drawers, cupboard doors or hardware. Additionally, if you know the faucet leaks, replace or repair, as the issue will most certainly show up in the inspection report. Also, leaking faucets screams a lack of maintenance to a buyer. Change the filter in the AC/Heating unit.
Remove pets from the house. You don’t want your pet to escape when the inspector opens a door. Also, often dogs are protective of their home and even if caged will bark at the strangers in the house. Don’t let your pet get stressed! A home inspection can take up to four hours, depending on the size and age of the house. Be sure the inspector can access sinks, showers or tubs.
Can the Buyer Attend the Inspection?
If you are the seller or the buyer, let the inspector inspect the house in peace. Also, inspectors typically follow a process as they go through a house. They are documenting any findings as they go through. When buyers attend and want to walk every step with the inspector, they may be distracted, forget to inspect or document an issue or take much longer than expected, causing a delay when the inspector will be ready to review the findings with the buyer and the buyer’s agent.
Typically home inspectors arrive first, complete their inspection and document any issues for their report. Most buyers and their agents arrive at the end of the inspection process for an on-site review with the home inspection. Also, at this time, the home inspector will walk the buyers through the house and show them any areas of concern.
Additionally, the home inspector will follow up with a full written report. These reports typically have a summary of issues noted as well as a full inspection report. Great inspectors will also have pictures of any issues. Once the buyers walk the house with the home inspector, sees the issue visually, then sees a write-up and picture in the report, they have a good understanding of the property condition.
Can the Seller Attend the Inspection?
The home inspection process in Phoenix, Az usually does not include the seller attending the inspection. However, nothing stops them from attending. Sellers can sometimes get defensive when the inspector references a defect. They may feel that they have lived with a particular condition for years and it is okay.
In Arizona, home inspectors follow a standard list of required items to be inspected and documented. They must communicate findings for the buyer. Now, how the buyer decides to proceed is up to the buyer.
What if the Inspector Finds Something The Seller Didn’t Disclose?
Sellers in Arizona are required to complete a seller disclosure document. They should disclose any latent defects they are aware of. A latent defect is a fault in the property that could not have been discovered by a reasonably thorough inspection before the sale. Also, often issues identified in a home inspection are things the seller is unaware of.
This could include roof issues (most sellers do not go on the roof too often), it could be a GFCI not working, a broken window lock, etc. However, if a seller is aware of a defect and purposefully hides it from a buyer, a buyer could have legal recourse after closing. Buyers should carefully review the seller’s disclosure prior to a home inspection. If there are areas of concern, forward on the seller’s disclosure to your home inspector for additional focus on the area of concern.
What Recourse Does A Buyer Have With Inspection Issues?
In Arizona, a buyer can cancel a purchase contract and receive their earnest money back if they find too many problems with a house. Also, the buyer can ask the seller to make repairs or just cancel the contract. Buyers must follow the contract dates to cancel. Additionally, a buyer and seller could agree to a seller credit in lieu of repairs.
How Does A buyer Know Repairs are Completed after the Home Inspection?
The Arizona purchase contract requires the work to be completed in a “workmanlike manner”. Also, receipts for the work performed are due to the buyer three days before the closing of the sale. Buyers can hire their home inspector to reinspect the items that showed up during the home inspection that the seller agreed to fix, The buyer can also review the receipts and when they do their final walkthrough on the house confirm the work has been completed. Some buyers will hire a pool company or roofing company to confirm certain repairs are made appropriately if they aren’t able to verify this themselves.
What is the Cost of A Home Inspection?
Like all professions, the cost of home inspections varies by inspection companies. A buyer will need to determine what services they want to be included and whether the standard inspection services are sufficient. What questions should you ask:
- Will the yard sprinkler system be included?
- Is there an extra cost for a pool and/or hot tub inspection?
- Do you do termite/pest inspections?
- Is there an extra cost for older houses?
- Do you inspect the roof?
- Do you scope for sewers in older homes?
What is a good home inspection report?
A good inspection report is one that is easy to read. The report should cover the inside and outside of the home. A comprehensive report to cover what items have been inspected and conditions the inspector found. A good report will have a summary section highlighting items the inspector wants to bring to your attention. These items may need repair, replacement, or further evaluation. The report should cover:
Structure, Exterior, Interior, Roofing, Plumbing, Electrical, Heating, Air Conditioning, and Ventilation/insulation
The inspector will go over these areas with the buyer. Be sure at a minimum, these items are covered in the inspection report.
How do you Fail a Home Inspection?
A home inspection is not a pass or fail inspection. The purpose of the inspection is to inform the buyer of the condition of the home. If you are buying a resale home, understand this is a “used” home. There will certainly be some wear and tear on the house. The inspection process provides information on the house condition. There may be things in the report the buyer was already aware of by walking through the house. The inspection information allows the buyer to ask the seller to make certain repairs. The inspection also informs the buyer of repair issues whether or not the seller agrees to make repairs. There are times when the report shows repair issues beyond what the buyer wants to deal with. In Arizona, a buyer can cancel a purchase contract and receive a refund of earnest money due to items found during the inspection.
Do sellers have to fix everything on home inspections?
Sellers in Arizona are not required to make repairs after a home inspection. A buy can submit a list of repair requests to the seller after the inspection. In Arizona, the buyer is required to provide the seller with a copy of the inspection report. The seller can elect to repair some of the requested items, all of them or pick and choose the ones to be completed. Often the items are minor, ie replacement of a faulty GFCI. Sometimes there is a minor leak under a sink. Often sellers are not aware of many issues on the report and will immediately fix some critical items.
Sellers typically do not go on their roof (especially with the Arizona tiles roofs). So they are often surprised to know there are many broken tiles or mud caps needing repair. Sellers need to understand that even if they refuse to make repairs and the buyer cancels the contract, the next buyer inspection will likely identify the same issues. It is best to negotiate the repairs for a win-win for buyers and sellers.
Your home inspector will talk to you about their home inspection and provide a written report. Be sure to ask any questions either during the home inspection walkthrough or after receiving the inspection report.
A good home inspector will inform and educate the buyer. They shouldn’t be alarmists, just stating the facts. The purpose of a home inspection is for the buyer to understand the condition of the house they want to buy, so they are fully informed. Check out any home inspector you are considering using. How are their reviews? Who recommended them? Do you know others who were happy with their service?
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Home Inspection Process in Phoenix, Az