Buyer Resources - Articles

Home Inspections & Warranties

Do I need a home inspection?
Yes. Buying a home "as is" is a risky proposition. Major repairs on homes can amount to thousands of dollars. Plumbing, electrical and roof problems represent significant and complex systems that are expensive to fix. 100% perfect homes do not exist.

How do I find a home inspector?
Your real estate agent is one source because they have attended and handled many home inspections; they know who does thorough home inspections. But keeping them independent from the agent may be a good idea, or ask for several names from your agent, not just one. Inspectors are also listed in the yellow pages. You can ask for referrals from friends, but if you are from out-of-town, ask those at your new work site. Also, utilize websites like

Ask for their credentials, such as contractor's license or engineering certificate. Also, check out their references.

How do I find a home inspector?
In order to find a home inspector, Dian Hymer, author of "Buying and Selling a Home A Complete Guide," Chronicle Books, San Francisco; 1994, advises looking for someone with demonstrable qualifications. "Ideally, the general inspector you select should be either an engineer, an architect, or a contractor. When possible, hire an inspector who belongs to one of the home inspection trade organizations."

The American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) has developed formal inspection guidelines and a professional code of ethics for its members. Membership to ASHI is not automatic; proven field experience and technical knowledge of structures and their various systems and appliances are a prerequisite. One can usually find an inspector by looking in the phone book or by inquiring at a real estate office or sometimes at an area Realtor association. Rates for the service vary greatly. Many inspectors charge about $200 - 400, but costs go up with the scope of the inspection and square footage of the home. Payment is required at the time of inspection, so this is a cost that you have before closing on a property.

It is not a requirement to attend the home inspection, but if you are a first-time homebuyer, you learn a lot about your home and maintaining it from your home inspector.  This information comes in very handy if you have a home emergency later, such as a leaking pipe.

What's a home inspection?
A home inspection is when a paid professional inspector -- often a contractor or an engineer -- inspects the home, searching for defects or other problems that might plague the owner later on. They usually represent the buyer and are paid by the buyer.  A good realtor will either attend the home inspection or talk directly with your inspector after the inspection to discuss any deficiencies found.   

The inspection usually takes place after a purchase contract between buyer and seller has been signed (binding agreement) noting an inspection time of 10 to 15 days. If you do not hold your inspection within this time period, you loose the opportunity to inspect and request repairs from the Seller. Your real estate agent will complete the contract form requesting repairs from the Seller and submit to the listing agent before the 10-15 days are up. If the Seller refuses to make the repairs, you can re-negotiate the offer, or terminate the offer for the home.  Remember that your real estate agent is an integral part of this process in Georgia!

Sharon Darley
Sharon Darley