Frequently Asked Questions about Home Inspections in Atlanta, GA
For over 20 years, Top to Bottom Home Inspections Services has helped Atlanta area homeowners and business owners rest easy knowing the property their purchasing is in good shape. A big part of our job includes providing knowledgable, expert-level answers to frequently asked questions regarding the home inspection process.
Our professional and fully certified home inspectors are committed to educating our clients about their new property and its condition, which is why we’ve gathered some of the most common questions we receive from our customers.
Home Inspection FAQs
Definitely yes! This is the only way you get to learn about the condition of the house you are getting ready to purchase. People need to know the condition of the house so they can make the right informed decisions.
That depends on the size of the house. The bigger the house, the longer the inspection. Also, the more problems are found, the longer the inspection. We tell customers to plan on 3 to 5 hours minimum for your home inspection and remember that some can take even longer.
Most home inspection companies factor their prices based on several different aspects of the home, like the square footage of the home, the number of levels with foundation type, and the age of the home. These aspects of the home give the inspector an idea of how long the inspection will take and how much work is going to be involved, which helps calculate the final price.
With this purchase, you are getting ready to make the largest investment in your life, which is your home. Do you really want to get the “cheapest price” from an inspector to inspect your most important investment? Try to remember the old adage, “You get what you pay for.” More experienced and certified home inspectors all stay in or around the same prices with maybe a $25 to $50 difference. If you shop long enough, you can always find someone cheaper, but what are you getting for your money?
We encourage people to ask questions, but you want to ask the right questions. By asking the right questions, such as asking for details on the inspection process, the inspector’s experience, and what services they offer, you can be sure you are interviewing the inspector for a job to inspect your future home, not the other way around. Always remember, you are the one doing the hiring!
- What did you do before you became a home inspector?
- How long will the inspection take to perform?
- Can we, the clients, attend the entire inspection?
- Do we need the utilities on?
- How long have you been inspecting homes?
- What type of national and local certificates do you have, or what organizations do you belong to, like ASHI or InterNACHI?
- Are you code certified (ICC)?
- Can you inspect “New Construction” homes?
- Are you insured?
You should contact your home inspector as soon as you are notified that you are under contract and the contract is binding. Before you call anyone to celebrate, call your inspector to set up the appointment, then you can go back to celebrating. You only have the number of days listed in your “Due Diligence Period” to have the inspection performed and if you wait around, you may not get an appointment because good inspectors book up quickly.
Yes, unless you are a licensed real estate agent in that state representing yourself. Your agent should understand that you are the boss and they are supposed to be in your corner and looking out for your best interests. Tell them what you want and what you need for yourself and your family. Take charge: this is your home, and you are the one paying for it.
No. Once you go under contract, the clock is ticking and you need to get the inspection completed as soon as possible. Talk with different inspectors, ask your questions, and make your choice as to who you want to be your inspector. We recommend that you don’t keep your inspector in the dark. Be sure to let them know that you chose them. Once you’re under contract, they will immediately be notified to set up the appointment.
The “Due Diligence Period” is a contract-based span of time that provides potential owners with the chance to have the house inspected and allows you to get out of the contract. Be sure to let your agent know that you do not want them to negotiate with your number of “Due Diligence” days to “Sweeten the Pot” so your contract will be the one that is accepted. Who just got the “Sweetened Pot” in that deal? Not You. This only benefits the seller.
You should have no less than 10 days of “Due Diligence” to have the house inspected and appraised. No exceptions. This puts you in a rush and people are known to make mistakes when they are rushed around. Don’t allow yourself to be rushed around by anyone. Find out what you have to do, take care of it, and keep the process moving forward.
In most cases, professional home inspectors stay busy. For example: if you needed to see you doctor, you would call their office and schedule an appointment for a week or two out. There is generally no problem with this. If you have an emergency, then we are either going to call an ambulance or take you to the emergency room. Home inspectors are considered professional people and most of us stay busy, meaning that we book up 4 to 5 days in advance.
Remember, this is the single largest investment you are about to make, and you don’t want to be rushed. Having 10 days for “Due Diligence” allows you to get the home inspection and call in any other professional (electrician, HVAC contractor, plumber, or structural engineer etc.) based on information your inspector has provided to you.
We constantly hear that there are multiple offers on a property and that you, the buyer, must sweeten the pot so that you can stand out among the other offers. Remember, the sellers put their house on the market, not you. If there are multiple offers in play, then a good question to ask is, “why did you pick us?” This is becoming a trend for some agents to control the due diligence and put in the contract for the buyer to have 3, 5, or 7 days of due diligence time.
Whenever we encounter this issue, we make sure our customer is asking the right questions:
- “Is there something you don’t want us to find out about the house?”
- “Why are you in such a hurry?”
- “How do you expect us to find a good inspector in that short of time?” “How are we supposed to get other professionals in to look at items in need of further evaluation?”
An extension of the due diligence occurs when your agent requests that the due diligence in the contract be extended a few days to work out additional details. This may include having different contractors come to the house to further evaluate items noted in the inspection report. Having an extension of the due diligence is not uncommon.
If you need more time to complete inspections and be confident in your purchase, then let your agent know that you want an extension. You, the buyer, and the sellers have to agree to extension.
Yes. All utilities include electricity and water. If the house has gas equipment, such as a gas furnace or gas water heater, then the gas must be on as well. When one utility is not on, that system cannot be tested during the inspection, which means we can’t determine if the system or equipment is operating properly. Not knowing can cost you thousands or your family’s safety.
Make sure your agent knows how you feel up front about the due diligence and how many days you must have, starting with 10 at the minimum. Now, here is the scenario: you go under contract or the contract becomes binding. The house is vacant, and even with the advance planning, it is going to take a minimum of 6 or 7 days to have the water, gas, and electricity reactivated.
If your agent did not have a provision in the agreement or contract stating that the due diligence starts when all utilities are confirmed and active, then you just lost 6 to 7 days of your due diligence period. Never inspect a home with one or more of the utilities turned off. Systems or equipment costs a lot of money and the only way you can inspect the systems or equipment is to have the utilities active. Remember: your due diligence time frame should start when it is confirmed that all utilities are active.
New Construction Inspection FAQs
Absolutely! There is no such thing as a perfect house. Even though the house was recently constructed, that doesn’t mean the house was constructed properly or that there are no issues with the house. Issues can often be missed during the construction process by the builder, the subcontractors, and even the county or city inspectors. The bottom line is, you don’t want to move into your new home and later start having problems because of something that should have been addressed by the builder prior to you closing on the house.
As code certified home inspectors (ICC), we are looking for any code violations, safety hazards, and/or improper building practices. Things are missed all the time in new construction by builders, subcontractors, and even the county or city inspectors. These issues can vary from minor concerns that are easily corrected to serious structural problems or safety concerns.
If you are hiring your own home inspector to inspect your new house, then be warned that most builders actually require that the inspector submit their credentials before they will allow the inspector in the home. They want to see that the inspector is licensed and insured, a member of a reputable home inspection organization, and that they’re code certified.
The home inspectors at Top to Bottom Home Inspection Service are licensed and insured, ASHI Certified, InterNachi Certified, and ICC Code Certified. Prior to becoming a home inspector, the owner (Steve Goolsby) was a builder in both residential and commercial construction for many years.
The final inspection should be performed when the house is 100% complete and virtually move-in ready, minus any minor touch up work. Inspections are generally performed before or after the first walkthrough with the builder.
When we say “complete”, that means that all utilities should turned on, a heating and air start up should have been performed, and all included components of the home should be installed and operational so they can be tested. This is very important to the inspection process and should not be rushed as you do not want to pay for an inspection that doesn’t include certain components that weren’t ready for inspection.
Yes. Just like an inspection on an existing home, a report detailing the issues and concerns with the house is provided. Our reports on a newly constructed homes explain the issues we found at the time of the inspection and are very detailed and easy to understand. We also provide the exact code sections that pertains to each code violation we write up in our report so there is no misunderstanding. Pictures of the issues are also included to help showcase discovered issues.
Three-Phase Inspection FAQs
Three-phase inspections are for someone who is having a house built from the ground up and wants to make sure their home is being constructed properly throughout the construction process. The three inspection phases are: Slab prep, rough-in (pre-drywall), and the final.
If you are having a house built from the ground up, three-phase inspections are the best way to make sure that your home is being constructed properly. Once the slab is poured and the drywall goes up, there is no way to see behind the drywall or underneath the slab, so it is important to catch issues during these phases. As three-phase inspectors, we act as a second set of eyes to ensure that the final product is what you expect.