Hints To Home Buyers:
Look for the following signs to recognize foundation problems:
Cracks in the sheetrock
Doors sticking
Wallpaper tears or buckling

Cracks that open and close indicate a foundation that is moving according to seasonal moisture changes. This movement will continue to get worse and can cause additional problems to the structure.

How will a home inspection benefit me?
The purchase of a home is the single most costly investment most people make, and you want to know what you are getting for your hard earned money.
A home inspection is an objective professional examination of the condition of the visible and accessible components of a home. A real estate agent will not determine for you the condition of the property. It is your responsibility as a buyer to ascertain the condition of the property. A registered professional inspector is one of the best qualified to make an unbiased and objective evaluation of the functionality of an item or if it is in need of repair. The seller is not required to repair anything unless the items needing repair is listed on the Property Inspection and Repair Addendum and are within the repair allowance in your contract.

What will the inspection cover?
An inspection will usually cover, at a minimum, those items specifically requested on the Property Condition Addendum of your contract. However, the inspector will not always limit themselves to those items.
An inspection typically will include all structural items, mechanical and electrical systems, appliances and check for water penetration. Gas line, swimming pools/spa, sprinkler systems, septic systems and any environmental inspections are usually additional inspections, and these additional services may or may not be offered by a particular inspector. "Cosmetic" items are usually not noted because they are not included in your contract. The Seller has agreed, in the contract, to repair only those items listed on the Property Condition Addendum up to a certain dollar amount. If you ask the Seller to repair additional items or if the repairs cost more than the agreed upon amount, you could void the contract and lose the house.

What should you look for in an INSPECTOR?
Be sure your inspector is registered by the state, has experience as a home inspector and extensive background in construction. Affiliation with professional organizations like the Arkansas Association of Real Estate Inspectors or the American Society of Home Inspectors will assure a code of ethics, minimum standards for their inspections, and commitment to continuing education. For further information visit the Secretary of State web site.

Which houses should be inspected?
Any house should be inspected regardless of age. New construction as well as existing homes have defects. The home inspector uses his experience of inspecting older homes to anticipate future problems in new home construction as well as looking for work that has not been completed.

What if the report reveals problems?
Just because the house may have some problems doesn't mean it isn't a good investment. The report will help you understand what will be involved in future maintenance.

Do I need to be present at the home inspection?
It isn't necessary for you to be at the inspection, however, being at the inspection will help you learn about your new home. The inspector can give you tips on maintenance and upkeep. It's a good time for you to ask questions.

Is a home inspection an insurance policy or warranty against future repair?
No! A home inspector will not pass or fail a house. A professional home inspection is simply an examination of the current condition of the house. The purchase decision is left up to the home buyer. The inspector describes the home's condition and notes items in need of repair or replacement.

When do I need a home inspector?
Buyers: After you have made an offer to purchase a property or before closing is the time to call in the inspector. Have your lawyers or Realtor include an "inspection clause" in the contract, making your purchase contingent upon the findings of the professional home inspection.
Sellers: You should have the property inspected at or before the time of listing.

How long will an inspection take?
A complete structural and mechanical inspection of an average 2000 square foot home on a slab foundation will usually take 2-2.5 man hours. Additional inspections of pier and beam foundations, swimming pools/spa, sprinkler systems, or if you have a lot of questions; the inspection will take longer. You, the buyer, should always try to be at the inspection because of questions that may arise about problems that are found, or maintenance tips that may be passed on. The inspection report should be provided after the inspection so that the repair request can be submitted within the contract time restraints.

Common Issues Found Throughout Inspections

Organizing a home inspection is a vital part of the home buying/selling process. Here are some common issues found throughout inspections.

Electrical: House fires tend to be caused by faulty electrical wiring. Older homes are not as well equipped with power outlets when compared to modern homes, making them more prone to electrical fires due to inadequate overload protection, improper grounding, and dangerous do-it-yourself amateur wiring.

Plumbing: Running taps, loose toilets and leaking drains cause subsequent water damage and mold to wood frames and house foundations. Repair to plumbing depends on the amount of damage caused. Undetected and prolonged plumbing problems can require serious damage repair which can be costly.

HVAC Maintenance: Regular maintenance to HVAC systems is important; without maintenance home owners run the risk of damaged insulation, corrosion and dirty filters which are both dangerous and unhealthy. Poor ventilation causes moisture build up, promoting mold growth; ensure bathrooms have adequate roof vents.

Poor Overall Maintenance:

The most common problem found during home inspection is poor general maintenance throughout the home. This goes beyond general wear and tear. Cracked painted surfaces, dilapidated foundations and broken fixtures may seem more like simple cosmetic issues; however they reflect the overall neglect of the home.