Home Inspection Questions Answered!

The Basics

A home inspection contingency is one of many contingencies set forth in a purchase contract.  The time period is completely dependent on negotiations, however, what inspections to be performed are chosen by the buyer.  The financial burden for paying for the inspection is the buyer’s responsibility & varies depending on company & which inspections are to be performed.  We recommend all our buyers get a home inspection regardless of the homes condition as it is crucial to uncover any defects before proceeding with the purchase.  We wanted to take the time answer some of the most common buyer questions.Philadelphia Real Estate Home Inspection Report

QUESTION: What is a “home inspection?”

ANSWER: A home inspection is “a noninvasive visual examination of some combination of the mechanical, electrical or plumbing systems or the structural and essential components of a residential dwelling designed to identify material defects in those systems and components and performed for a fee in connection with or preparation for a proposed or possible residential real estate transfer. The term also includes any consultation regarding the property that is represented to be a home inspection or that is described by any confusingly similar term. The term does not include an examination of a single system or component of a residential dwelling such as, for example, its electrical or plumbing system or its roof. The term also does not include an examination that is limited to inspection for, or of, one or more of the following: wood destroying insects, underground tanks and wells, septic systems, swimming pools and spas, alarm systems, air and water quality, tennis courts and playground equipment, pollutants, toxic chemicals and environmental hazards.”

QUESTION: What is a “material defect?”Image credit: francesco83 / 123RF Stock Photo

ANSWER: A material defect is “a problem with a residential real property or any portion of it that would have a significant adverse impact on the value of the property or that involves an unreasonable risk to people on the property. The fact that a structural element, system or subsystem is near, at or beyond the end of a normal useful life of such a structural element, system or subsystem is not by itself a material defect.”

QUESTION: What is a “national home inspection association?”

ANSWER: As defined by the law, a national home inspection association: (1) is operated on a not-for-profit basis and not operated as a franchise; (2) has members in more than 10 states; (3) requires that a person may not be a full member unless the person has performed or participated in more than 100 home inspections and has passed a recognized or accredited examination testing knowledge of the proper procedures for conducting a home inspection; and (4) requires that its members comply with a code of conduct and attend continuing professional education classes as an ongoing condition of membership.

QUESTION: When does this law apply?

ANSWER: In general, the Home Inspection Law applies to any “residential real estate transfer,” which is defined as a transfer of not less than one nor more than four residential dwelling units. Note that new construction is not excluded from the scope of the Home Inspection Law, nor is a mixed-use commercial transaction involving one to four residential dwelling units.


QUESTION: Who may conduct a home inspection?

ANSWER: In general, any home inspector may conduct a home inspection. HOWEVER, where the inspection is conducted as part of a contingency in an Agreement of Sale (i.e., where the results of the inspection may trigger certain duties to repair or renegotiate), the inspection must be conducted by “a full member in good standing of a national home inspection association” or by an inspector who is not a full member but is supervised by a full member who signs the inspection report.

If you have any additional questions regarding a home inspection, need a referral for an inspector or want to clarify the contingency period set forth in a purchase contract contact us today!