Q: Do new homes require inspection? A: Yes. Most new homes are built to very good standards; however, about 5% have some significant defects. For example, some of the new homes built under the new Washington State Energy Code have non-functioning mechanical ventilation systems. These are new systems and not all builders have learned how to install them.

Q: Should condominiums be inspected? A: Condominiums require an inspection of the individual unit and of the condition of the building complex. The owner of a unit in a condominium complex is responsible for a share of the maintenance of the entire complex. While the home inspector is unlikely to have access to the entire complex, an inspection of the accessible areas will provide some important information about the condition of the building(s). This information along with the information provided by the homeowners' association should then be used by the buyer during the process of deciding whether to purchase the unit.

Q: Who should be at an inspection? A: As an experienced inspector, I am a strong advocate of performing inspections with the inspection clients present during the entire process. Other parties such as small children, friends, parents may wish to see the house at another time, but will often interfere with the inspection process.

Q: May I record, or video tape, the inspection? A: Most inspectors allow for the recording of the inspection. Inspections performed to ASHI standards must be followed up with a written report.

Q: Do inspectors guarantee their work? A: No. The inspection is not, and can not be a guarantee, warranty or insurance policy. The inspection is limited due to its visual and non destructive nature. Most inspectors will explain the scope and limitations of an inspection prior to the inspection. Many, including Sound Home Inspections, Inc., will request that a written pre-inspection agreement be read and signed prior to the start of an inspections.

It is understood and agreed that the COMPANY is not and insurer and that the inspection and report are not intended or to be construed as a guarantee or warranty or the adequacy, performance or condition of any structure, item or system at the property address. The CUSTOMER hereby releases and exempts the COMPANY and its agents and employees of and from all liability and responsibility for the cost of repairing any unreported defects of deficiency and for any consequential damage, property damage or personal injury on any nature.

In the even that the COMPANY and/or its agents or employees are found liable due to breach of contract, breach of warranty, negligence, negligent misrepresentation, negligent hiring or any other theory of liability, then the liability of the COMPANY and its agents and employees shall be limited to a sum equal to the amount of the fee paid by the CUSTOMER for the inspection report."

Most inspection companies (including SHI) are also covered by an errors and omissions insurance policy. And most of the companies which write this type of insurance require a liability limitation clause of this type.

Q: What do inspections cost? A: The price of a home inspection varies by company, the experience of the inspector, size or age of home and location. Currently, most inspections cost between $250 to $800+.