How to Look

at a House


A blog with answers
to your questions about
HOME INSPECTION
and HOME MAINTENANCE

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Welcome to our blog!
We want you to be an informed homebuyer, and each blog post is a question that we have answered for our friends and customers over the years. Hope they help you make a good choice for your next home.

2. How long have you been practicing in the home inspection profession and how many inspections have you completed?

The inspector should be able to provide his or her history in the profession and perhaps even a few names as referrals. Newer inspectors can be very qualified, and many work with a partner or have access to more experienced inspectors to assist them in the inspection.

We have been doing home inspections since 2002, and have completed over 5000 inspections. Look on our “About Us” page of this website for reviews of our work by previous customers.

3. Are you specifically experienced in residential inspection?

Related experience in construction or engineering is helpful, but is no substitute for training and experience in the unique discipline of home inspection. If the inspection is for a commercial property, then this should be asked about as well.

Both Richard and Greg are licensed building contractors, with years of experience building and remodeling homes and commercial buildings in Florida.

4. Do you offer to do repairs or improvements based on the inspection?

Some inspector associations and state regulations allow the inspector to perform repair work on problems uncovered in the inspection. Other associations and regulations strictly forbid this as a conflict of interest.

No, we do not offer to do repairs based on our inspection. We think it creates a potential conflict of interest, and so does InterNACHI, the national home inspector association that we belong to, and ban their members from doing inspection-related repairs.

5. How long will the inspection take?

The average on-site inspection time for a single inspector is two to three hours for a typical single-family house; anything significantly less may not be enough time to perform a thorough inspection. Additional inspectors may be brought in for very large properties and buildings.

Because we do a two-man inspection, our average is about two hours, and maybe up to three hours for larger homes.

6. How much will it cost?

Costs vary dramatically, depending on the region, size and age of the house, scope of services and other factors. A typical range might be $300-$500, but consider the value of the home inspection in terms of the investment being made. Cost does not necessarily reflect quality. HUD Does not regulate home inspection fees.

We post our fees on our website, and can give you a price quote over the phone anytime. The base cost is $295 for homes of up to 1,750 square feet of conditioned space (porches and garages not included). There is a $50 additional charge for home 40 years old or more, because they are always more work for us. Also, it’s an added $25 to $50 travel surcharge for homes outside Alachua County, depending on distance.

7. What type of inspection report do you provide and how long will it take to receive the report?

Ask to see samples and determine whether or not you can understand the inspector's reporting style and if the time parameters fulfill your needs. Most inspectors provide their full report within 24 hours of the inspection.

We provide a computer-generated report, with photos, in a pdf format by email, next day after inspection. Call or email us to receive a sample report.

8. Will I be able to attend the inspection?

This is a valuable educational opportunity, and an inspector's refusal to allow this should raise a red flag. Never pass up the opportunity to see your prospective home through the eyes of an expert.

We welcome you to attend the inspection if you can.

9. Do you maintain membership in a professional home inspector association?

There are many state and national associations for home inspectors. Request to see their membership ID, and perform whatever due diligence you deem appropriate.

We are both members of InterNACHI, the International Association of Certified Home inspectors. On our website page “About Us,” you will find links to verify our membership, along with Florida home inspector and building contractor licenses.

10. Do you participate in continuing education programs to keep your expertise up to date?

One can never know it all, and the inspector's commitment to continuing education is a good measure of his or her professionalism and service to the consumer. This is especially important in cases where the home is much older or includes unique elements requiring additional or updated training.

Yes, we do 20 to 30 hours of on-line classes and live seminars each year to stay abreast of the continually evolving challenges of home inspection. Also, the research for writing our weekly blog posts keeps us up-to-date on many issues.

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  To learn more valuable strategies for getting the best possible home inspection, here’s a few of our other blog posts:

  1. How can I make sure I don’t get screwed on my home inspection?

  2. Should I trust the Seller’s Property Disclosure Statement?

  3. Can I do my own home inspection?

  4. How can homebuyers protect themselves against buying a home over a sinkhole?

  5. What makes a house fail the home inspection?

  6. The seller gave me an old home inspection report from a previous home inspection. Should I use it or get my own inspector?

  7. Why are expired building permits a problem for both the buyer and seller of a home?   

    To read about issues related to homes of particular type or one built in a specific decade, visit one of these blog posts:

  1. What are the common problems to look for when buying a 1950s house?

  2. What are the common problems to look for when buying a 1960s home?

  3. What are the common problems to look for when buying a 1970s house?

  4. What are the common problems to look for when buying a 1980s house?

  5. What are the common problems to look for when buying a 1990s house?

  6. What problems should I look for when buying a country house or rural property?

  7. What problems should I look when when buying a house that has been moved?

  8. What problems should I look for when buying a house that has been vacant or abandoned?

  9. What are the most common problems with older mobile homes?

  10. What should I look for when buying a “flipper” house?

  11. What should I look for when buying a former rental house?

While we hope you find this series of articles about home inspection helpful, they should not be considered an alternative to an actual home inspection by a local inspector. Also, construction standards vary in different parts of the country and it is possible that important issues related to your area may not be covered here.
© McGarry and Madsen Inspection

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More Blog Posts on Similar Subjects:

  1. Should a home inspection scare you?

  2. What is the difference between an appraisal and a home inspection?

  3. Are you licensed and insured?

  4. We looked at the house carefully, and it seems alright. Do we really need a home inspection?

  5. Is a home inspection required?

  6. What is the difference between “character” and a defect in an old house?

  7. Should I be there for the inspection?

  8. What tools do you use for a home inspection?

  9. Is it common for an insurance company to require an inspection?

  10. The seller has to fix everything you find wrong with the house, right?

  11. Can I do my own home inspection?

  12. Is it still possible to do an inspection if there’s no electricity or water?

  13. What’s the difference between a roof inspection and a roofing estimate?

  14. Should I hire an engineer to inspect the house?

  15. Do inspectors go on the roof? Do they get in the attic?

  16. What should I look for when buying a former rental house?

  17. What happens at a home inspection?

  18. Does the home inspector also check for termites?

  19. What different types of specialized inspections can I get?

  20. What are the questions a home inspector won’t answer?

  21. What is the difference between a building inspector and a home inspector?

  22. What do I need to know about buying a 1950s house?

  23. What is the difference between a home inspection and a final walkthrough inspection?

  24. Should the seller be at the home inspection?

  25. What is the average lifespan of a house?

  26. What are the common problems to look for when buying a 1960s home?

  27. Should I use my realtor’s home inspector or choose one myself?

  28. Should I use a contractor or a home inspector to inspect a house I’m buying?

  29. Should I get a home inspection before signing a contract to buy the house?

  30. Can a home inspector do repairs to a house after doing the inspection?

  31. What is a “continuous load path”?

  32. When did the first Florida Building Code (FBC) begin and become effective?

  33. Should I only hire an inspector that is a member of a national association like ASHi, InterNACHI, or NAHI?

  34. What is a “cosmetic” defect in a home inspection?

  35. Where are the funny home inspection pictures?

  36. Should I follow the inspector around during the inspection?

  37. Why do realtors call some home inspectors “deal killers”?

  38. How can I reduce the risk of an expensive surprise when buying a house sight unseen?

  39. Does my home have to be inspected to get insurance?

  40. Who should pay for the home inspection?

  41. Can you do a home inspection in the rain?

  42. What are the most Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) at a home inspection?

  43. What are the common causes of ceiling stains in a house?

  44. How can I make sure my house doesn’t fail the home inspection?

  45. Are there any minimum inspection standards that a Florida licensed home inspector must meet?

  46. Can a Florida licensed contractor do home inspections without having a home inspector license?

  47. What’s missing? Our “Top 10” list of things that are home inspection defects because they are not there?

  48. What inspections does a bank or mortgage lender need for loan approval?