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woman and inspector looking at ceiling

A home inspection is the visual examination of the physical structure and major interior systems of a residential dwelling (up to four units). While home inspections are not a guarantee that there are no problems with your home and they are not intended to provide buyers with protection from all the risks involved, they are generally recommended when buying a new home to help make the buyer aware of any existing or future problems that may arise.

The Process: Home inspectors look at the exposed portions of the structure of the home, which includes the roof, the attic, walls, windows, ceilings, floors, doors, basements, air conditioning, plumbing, electrical systems, and the foundation.  Home inspectors have no obligation to point out every minor or cosmetic flaws they notice as these should be apparent to the buyer without the aid of a professional.

While some home inspectors are qualified to offer additional inspections and tests, these tests are not part of the basic home inspection. This includes test for lead paint, water quality, wood destroying insects, air quality, including radon gases, and fungi or mold. You may want to consider contracting these tests through qualified licensed professionals of your choice.

It is recommended that the buyer be present when the home inspection is underway.  This will give the buyer an opportunity to observe the inspector, ask questions directly and have a good idea as to the condition of the home.

When to Hire One: Most home inspections occur right after the purchase offer contract is signed, before the purchase is finalized.  It’s usually recommended that the prospective buyer put an inspection clause in the contract making the purchase obligation contingent upon the findings of the home inspection. This clause should specify the terms to which both the buyer and seller are obligated.

Where to Find One: One of the easiest ways to find a home inspector is to ask friends and family.  You can also get referrals from online sources that offer reviews. Real estate brokers and salesmen may not directly recommend a specific home inspection company or home inspector unless representing the buyer as a buyer’s broker. Brokers, however, may provide assistance to buyers in accessing information on licensed home inspectors.

The Board of Registration of Home Inspectors within the Division of Professional Licensure licenses home inspectors. The Board is responsible for insuring that licensed home inspectors have proper training and experience through an education program and meet minimum inspection requirements in each inspection performed. Applicants must pass a board approve test and fulfill continuing education requirements for license renewal. When you’re ready to hire an inspector, be sure you check their license status: https://www.mass.gov/division-of-professional-licensure-check-a-license

If you have need to file a complaint about a home inspector, file a complaint with the Division of Professional Licensure. More information about Home Inspectors can be found here: https://www.mass.gov/orgs/board-of-registration-of-home-inspectors

If you have additional questions, contact the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation by calling our Consumer Hotline at (617) 973-8787, or toll-free in MA at (888) 283-3757, Monday through Friday, from 9 am-4:30 pm. Follow the Office on Facebook and Twitter, @Mass_Consumer. The Baker-Polito Administration’s Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation along with its five agencies work together to achieve two goals: to protect and empower consumers through advocacy and education, and to ensure a fair playing field for Massachusetts businesses. The Office also oversees the state’s vehicular and customized wheelchair Lemon Laws and Arbitration Programs, Data Breach reporting, Home Improvement Contractor Programs and the MA Do Not Call Registry.

 

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