Many property buyers, when taking occupation of a property, discover defects that were not disclosed to them at the time the sale was finalised. These defects range from hidden dampness and wall cracks to defective alarm systems and swimming pool pumps, from roof leaks and geyser malfunctions to security gate breakdowns and termite damage.
The home inspection industry encourages home buyers to seriously consider a home inspection in order to minimise uncertainty about possible latent defects and to achieve peace of mind with regard to the property.
Home inspection also enables sellers to avoid the problems described above with regard to disputes and unexpected expenses. Inspection motivates sellers to do the necessary repairs to make their homes marketable, and thus prevents comebacks from unhappy buyers later.
What is a home inspection?
A home inspection is a thorough visual examination of the outside and the inside of a home, which includes the structure, any outbuildings, the grounds and certain accessible mechanical and electrical items.
The purpose of a home inspection
The purpose of a home inspection is to determine whether a home has any patent (visible) defects, any broken mechanisms or systems; or any other damage as a result of breakdowns, wear and tear or weather conditions.
What does a home inspection involve?
A home inspection involves a thorough visual inspection of a home. The inspector produces a report that describes the condition of the property in detail. An inspection usually takes approximately one hour and includes a full check of the interior and exterior of the home and outbuildings, including identifying structural cracks; identifying moisture penetration; checking for ceiling and wall stains; investigating electrical circuits; and investigating plumbing.
The above is not an exhaustive list but illustrates items and situations that an inspection is designed to point out. The inspection also covers any possible causes of leaks in roofs or pools, for instance. The client receives a final conclusive report, including photographs, together with a proper certificate of inspection.
The benefits of home inspections
There is a strong need in South Africa for home inspections to be performed by trained and qualified inspectors. This need arises because of deficient construction practices, materials and workmanship and a need to protect the consumer, who wants maximum value for what is often the largest financial investment of his or her life.
As an industry, home inspection assists real estate agencies, developers, banks and private individuals (buyers, sellers and home owners) to ensure that the transfer of home ownership is regulated.
An accurate and independent home assessment is often vital in helping to establish the value of a property. At first glance, a home may appear to be in great shape. In reality it could have a hidden defect that can result in endless problems for a buyer who is not aware of it. Latent defects may significantly affect the value of the property.
A professional home inspector conducts a detailed visual inspection of the home and gives the client a comprehensive report of the property, which can also be used as the basis for a realistic valuation. A thorough inspection and report helps the buyer to make a decision with confidence and makes it easier for the seller or real estate agent to sell a home quickly and efficiently. A home inspection report is a very valuable tool for the real estate agent, seller or buyer wanting information about the exact condition and state of a house. Home inspectors give the client convenient access to detailed information – including photographs.
A home inspection allows any prospective buyer to obtain full disclosure with regard to the property. Like the certificate of compliance (COC or roadworthy certificate) required for the change of ownership of a vehicle, a home inspection certificate reassures buyers that they know what they are getting.
A career in home inspection offers the following advantages: It does not require much capital. The training required is readily accessible.Once trained, you can perform inspections anywhere. You can decide to make home inspection your profession or do it part-time. There is a huge potential client base, consisting of every person who buys a home in South Africa. It can be very lucrative – the fee recommended by the South African Society of Home Inspectors (SASHI) for a home inspection of an average-sized house is approximately R2 500 (including VAT), but can go up to R5 000, depending on the size of a house, and an inspector can do up to five inspections per day.
The competent inspection of properties opens a world of possibilities for a THITA trained home inspector who is prepared to provide a professional and reliable service. A home inspection can also create opportunities for the inspector to offer the client further related services, such as valuations.
In short, home inspection is a new, challenging, necessary, lucrative and emerging profession that has the potential to provide you with a long and satisfying career.