Servicing most of the San Francisco Bay Area, the certified inspector members of the Silicon Valley ASHI and CREIA chapter have been credentialed by either or both of the American Society of Home Inspectors and the California Real Estate Inspectors Association.
Use a Qualified Inspector
It’s easy to find an home inspector when you need one, but how do you know he/she is qualified? What standards does the inspector follow to insure that you’re getting a qualified, competent professional to back you up when you are buying, selling, or just want to known the condition of your current home or building? Members of ASHI and CREIA are tested and certified by their respective home inspection association. Both ASHI and CREIA have standards of practice to make sure that their members are providing an inspection meeting or exceeding industry standards. Continuing education credits are required; and obtained by attending ongoing seminars and on-site inspection events to insure that their skills are kept razor sharp.
Your home inspection will provide you valuable information to be used in the decision making process when purchasing a home. Rather than solely relying on the seller’s property disclosure, you’ll have another set of eyes looking at the house and its major components to insure that any serious problems are identified and discussed before escrow closes. All CREIA and ASHI members will provide written reports, some with review sections and photos to make the findings easier for you to understand. Your inspector, by state law cannot do any repairs on homes inspected for 12 months from the date of inspection. That assures you an un-biased property inspection.
Learn About The Home`
Your ASHI and CREIA inspector will be able to point out items you should know about; items even the property owner might not know exist, such as plumbing leaks under the house, leaking roofs, malfunctions in the heating and air conditioning systems, structural issues, or electrical problems that may cost you money if you didn’t know about them. The inspection report provides information that you may use for years after the initial purchase to maintain the home’s condition.
Negotiate Repair Items
Once you have the written report, you are able to go back to the seller and negotiate possible repairs or a reduction in the asking price. Because inspectors are unable to provide repairs for the noted items, there are no repair estimates included in the inspection, but the report often is the basis for determining which tradepersons need to be called for further inspection and/or estimates of needed repairs.
Many sellers say to themselves that it doesn’t make sense to get a home inspection before there’s even a buyer. Actually, nothing could be further from the truth. When a seller gets an inspection, they will know the type of problems that exist and have the option to fix them before the house is on the market or simply disclose the items to a potential buyer. In either case, the seller is in control of the information and what to do about it before the house is sold.
Find Repair Items
A listing inspection report will generally find some items that even a long time resident will not know about. There may be dangling electrical wires under the house, or the never connected tub drain pipe that no one knew about for years. Your inspector will be able to provide guidance on which items are health and safety risks and which items are low priorities.
Easing the Selling Process
Believe it or not, knowing the problems ahead of time makes the entire transaction go through more smoothly; and when the seller knows up front the major issues with the house, the price set at the time of sale reflects the known issues with the house. That may reduce the buyer’s leverage in trying to reduce the price and shorten the contingency period if other buyers are waiting on the sideline.
There are a few simply things you can do, at little or no cost, to get your home ready for a Home Inspection.
- Remove soil or mulch from contact with siding. Six or more inches of clearance is best.
- Clean out dirty gutters and any debris from the roof.
- Check to make sure all water from downspouts, sump pump, condensation and basement entry drains is diverted away from the house.
- Trim trees, roots, and bushes back from the foundation, roof, siding and chimney.
- Paint weathered exterior wood and caulk around the trim, chimney, windows and doors.
- Repair any failing mortar in brick or block.
- Remove wood and/or firewood from any contact with the house.
- Caulk all exterior wall penetrations.
- Clean or replace heating and cooling filters, clean dirty air returns and plenum.
- Test all required smoke and carbon monoxide alarms to ensure that they are working.
- Have the chimney, fireplace or wood stove serviced and provide the buyer with a copy of the cleaning record.
- Replace any burned out light bulbs.
- Have clear access to attic, crawl space, heating system, garage and other areas that will need to be inspected.
- If the house is vacant, make sure all utilities are turned on. This includes water, electricity, furnace, A/C and the water heater because they will need to be inspected.
- Ensure ready access to all rooms and crawl spaces. Clear all furniture, boxes, clothes, toys and other personal items that may block access to the furnace, water heater and electrical panel.
Basement, Crawl Spaces and Attics
- Check to ensure that the crawl space is dry and install a proper vapor barrier if necessary.
- Remove paints, solvents, gas, wood and similar materials from crawl space, basement, attic and porch.
- Update attic ventilation if none is present.
- If windows are at or below grade, install window wells and covers.
Doors and Windows
- Ensure that all doors and windows are in proper operating condition, including repairing or replacing any cracked windowpanes.
Kitchen and Bathrooms
- Ensure that all plumbing fixtures such as the toilet, tub, shower, and sinks are in proper working condition. Fix any leaks and caulk around fixtures if necessary.
- Ensure GFCI receptacles are functional.
- Check bath vents to see if they are properly vented and in working condition.
- Clear out areas under sinks so they can be inspected.
Code of Ethics
Home inspectors are governed by a hierarchy of codes and regulations. The most general are state and federal codes, both criminal and civil, which apply to the general population. Next, California Business and Professions Code, Sections 7195 to 7199 define “home inspector” and itemizes their duties. ASHI’s and CREIA’s Standards of Practice add another layer, specifying what are included and excluded in an inspection. As members of the Silicon Valley ASHI / CREIA Chapter our Inspectors adhere to one or both of the ASHI or CREIA Code of Ethics.
These Codes of Ethics establish guidelines for our interactions with our clients, sellers, and agents. These guidelines foster a higher level of public trust of our profession and organization as clients and agents learn they can depend on our clear, ethical behavior. Our Inspector Members abide by these Codes of Ethics as a condition of their Association Memberships and feel adherence to the ethical guidelines is critical in promoting our credibility as individuals and as an organization.
The Code of Ethics specifically prohibits practices that could create conflicts of interest: reports must be unbiased and objective; we must act in good faith toward our clients and other interested parties; we must not harm the public, discredit CREIA, or our profession; advertising must be honest and accurate.