For most of us, our home represents the largest investment we’ll make in our lifetimes. It’ll also be one of the most complex transactions for most of us.
In the center of it all – is the property we’re attempting to buy. Homes are made up of major systems such as plumbing, electrical, refrigeration or heating to name just a few. The home itself is a complex combination of systems and subsystems. Literally hundreds of defects can exist which wouldn’t be obvious to the naked eye. A professional home inspector will inspect the entire structure from roof to foundation, interior and exterior and all electric and mechanical parts of the home.
“Buyer Beware” at one time was the mantra. That’s no longer the case in Arizona. The Arizona Association of Realtors Residential Purchase Agreement provides two significant protections for buyers: First, there is a period of time during which the Buyer can have the property inspected by a professional Home Inspector. Secondly, there is a mechanism in the process that provides for the Seller to disclose all known defects to the Buyer. The Seller’s Property Disclosure Statement (SPDS) is a form that asks every conceivable question related to the property. Unless a Buyer waives the requirement in the original offer, the seller is required to complete the form and provide it to the buyer within 5 days of the contract. Buyers comparing the sellers responses with the Inspection Report have intimate knowledge of the property before the escrow closes. After the inspection, the provision in the agreement allows the Buyer to request the Seller to repair the major systems before the escrow closes.
Arizona Home Inspectors are required to be registered and certified with the Arizona State Board of Technical Registration. This Board is also the regulatory agency for Architects, Assayers, Clandestine Drug Laboratory Site Remediation On-Site Workers and On-Site Supervisors, Engineers, Geologists, Home Inspectors, Landscape Architects, Surveyors and Remediation Specialists.
Certification by the State of Arizona requires a minimum of 80 hours of classroom education, successful completion of the National Home Inspection Examination, and 30 parallel inspections in the presence of a certified home inspector. (THATS RIGHT A WHOPPING 30 INSPECTIONS WITH SOMEONE ELSE)
So the question is: “How does a Buyer choose a home inspector?”
First be sure they licensed by the state then ask the following questions:
Are they members of the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI)? ASHI Certified Members have performed over 250 fee paid inspections.
Be aware of the distinction between membership and doing the inspection to ASHI standards or the NACHI Code of Ethics. The State of Arizona Requires inspections be done to the AZ-ASHI Standards of Practice. These are more stringent than just the ASHI Standards.
Are they bonded, insured and do they carry Errors & Omissions insurance? The State of AZ requires they be Bonded OR Insured, not both.
What is their past experience? You want someone that has been in the area for years and is knows about local construction, Our climate is different than other places and therefore we build things differently. If you want to know about common defects found by Phoenix Home Inspectors
What are their rates? Cheaper is not the best route to go when your basing a huge investment on it.
Additional testing or inspections that a Buyer may want to consider include those for wood destroying organisms, Thermal Imaging, mold, radon gas, etc. Not all home inspectors are qualified to do these inspections or tests. There would probably be an additionally charge as well since these are above and beyond the inspectors normal qualifications.
It’s important to remember the home inspector is a generalist. As a Buyer, you may also want to consider additional inspections on major systems such as the roof, refrigeration, plumbing and electrical by contractors licensed within those specialties.
While there are no guarantees that all defects will be found and all future problems prevented, the process in place today in Arizona allows home buyers to have confidence in their decisions.
More Information about selecting an Arizona Home Inspector