Serving Northeast Indiana Home

Star Home Inspections, Inc. © All Copyrights Reserved                         | Home | Information | Services | Gallery | Pricing | Contact Us |

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a home inspection?

A home inspection is a visual assessment of most all readily accessible areas of the home.  It is detailed, comprehensive, and unbiased.  It is not an appraisal or Municipal code inspection.  The inspection conforms to the standards of practice established by the Indiana State Licensing Agency and the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors.  However, these are MINIMUM Standards; many components of our home inspection exceed these standards.  You can view these standards of practice online at www.internachi.org, for a complete understanding of the standard.  Information is also available regarding what is not covered: Swimming pools, hot tubs, irrigation systems, radon, water well and septic systems, termites, intercoms, water softeners, etc., are not a component of a general home inspection; however, we do provide inspections on many of these components with separate fee-based inspections.


Why should I get a home inspection?

Most home purchases are one of the most important of your lifetime; even if you do not stay in that home your entire life, it is still the principle means of building net worth for non-businesses.  It is also a 15-30 year commitment to monthly payments.  A professional home inspection can not only save you money, but it can provide a more accurate perspective of your potential home.  All homes have maintenance issues.  Some homes have major and minor deficiencies.  It is advantageous to know what you’re buying, reducing the possibility of unexpected, perhaps costly surprises soon after the purchase.  In a nutshell, it is a wise decision to collect all the information you can about the house before you purchase.  It is very disheartening to discover expensive issues after closing.  A good/quality home inspection will also provide valuable maintenance tips that can become costly if ignored.  Our Promise to you: Star Home Inspections is dedicated to providing clients with superior service—based on Integrity, Quality, and Fairness.  The sole purpose of our business is to provide you, the home buyer, with sufficient information—to uncover the unknown, to reduce your investment risk, and ultimately, to help you make a sound decision—to “help you purchase with confidence.”


How long does a home inspection take?

This depends on several things: The size of the home, the number of issues found that must be reported on, and the time that you and I spend talking about your home.  Typically, an inspection will take between 3 and 4 hours; however, they have been known to take as little as 1.5 hours on a new 1 bedroom condo, to as long as 5 hours on a large home with many issues.


What should I tell my realtor or the homeowner, as to how to prepare for the inspection?

The home inspection is a visual inspection of readily accessible areas.  We are not supposed to move a lot of homeowner’s possessions, although sometimes we move a few miscellaneous items that are in the way.  Please tell the homeowner we need access to the electrical panel, furnace, water heater, windows, at least one outlet in every room, and the attic space.  If the attic access is located in a closet and is blocked, they may want to remove their clothing and shelving from the closet where it is located.  Vehicles parked under the pull-down in the garage are known to cause problems.  If the home has a crawlspace, it also has to be accessible.  Crawlspace accesses must be a minimum of 16 X 24 inches, and crawlspaces should be at least18 inches deep.  The homeowner should make sure that no standing water is present in the crawlspace; standing water or exceedingly damp conditions create problems such as mold/fungus growth, settlement, and wood rot, but also are a serious electrocution hazard to the inspector.  If we encounter any of these issues with the crawlspace, we will not enter and will recommend correction and re-evaluation.  Please have the homeowner leave a disclosure of all defective items they are aware of; if it is already known that a dishwasher is defective, we do not want to cause additional problems by attempting to operate it.


Is my home inspection guaranteed?

We stand behind our work; however, it is unreasonable when you think about it, to walk into a home, and do a visual inspection, and think that we can provide any type of guarantee or warranty in terms of how long something will last before it fails.  Some home inspection companies provide a warranty program, where they pay a warranty provider to warrant some components of the home, and pass this on to their clients (you).  Many of these providers have solicited me over the years, wanting me to become part of their warranty program; however, after review, it appears that they are (1) expensive, (2) limit their coverage explicitly, and (3) usually have a deductible – all in the fine print.  I tell my clients this:  “a home inspection is not designed to eliminate the risk in purchasing home; however, it is designed to significantly reduce this risk.”


The house looks good to me; do I still need a home inspection?

Ever buy a really nice looking kitchen appliance at a yard sale, only to find that it doesn’t work?  Ever buy a really nice looking used car only to find that the rust was filled in with Bondo, and it all falls out in a few months?  Someone can do a lot of great things with spackle, paint, carpet, and a few new bathroom fixtures.  An expensive issue many times takes a trained eye (that would be me).


Can I have someone in my family who is very handy or a contractor inspect the house?

Technically, you can do whatever you want, but it isn’t advisable.  Even a contractor is not usually trained or skilled in every aspect of the home; he/she also doesn’t normally have a bag full of technical noninvasive tools at his/her disposal, nor is he/she trained to use them.


Can I contact you for advice after my home inspection?

By all means--We are always available for our clients!


Does a newly constructed home need a home inspection?

You would probably be surprised at how many issues we have found in new homes.  Also, we do not look at new home construction like a used one.  My philosophy can best be described using an analogy:  When you buy a used car, you expect a few scratches and a few miles.  When you buy a new car, scratches and miles are not acceptable.  The same goes for a new home inspection.  We are there to assist you in your final walk-through, and will mark every blemish that needs to be touched up, etc.


Will the inspector fix any problems found?

That would be a direct conflict of interest.  Some home inspectors solicit the client for more work; this is in direct violation of our Code of Ethics.  A home inspector that fixes what he finds can potentially create work for himself by reporting conditions dishonestly.  We inspect, and that is all we do.  Sometimes, it is easier to fix something than write about it.  I’ve been known to go through a kitchen and tighten cabinet hinges, or tighten up door knobs, or adjust a safety reverse on a garage door.


Can a home fail an inspection?

Star Home Inspections acts as an independent, objective party, who simply reports the overall condition of the home, as it exists, at the time of the inspection.  We do not pass or fail an inspection; we may describe something as in poor condition, or defective, or in need of repair/replacement, but only you, the buyer, have the authority to pass or fail the home.  It’s all about your expectations of the home you are purchasing.


What if a home inspection reveals problems?

We report our findings to you and the agent that you have retained to act in your best interest (with your permission of course).  If the inspection reveals anything that you are not satisfied with, and you wish to ask the seller to correct, then your agent will fill out an “inspection response form.”  This is submitted through the proper channels to the seller, who can either agree to fix these issues, or agree not to fix them.  If the seller agrees, all is well; if the seller disagrees, then you have a decision to make; you can either buy the house and fix those issues yourself, or you can get your earnest money back and go find another house.


For items that require repair or replacement, will the inspector tell me the costs of each or refer me to somebody?

No--We distance ourselves from contractors, and we cannot provide cost estimates since we do not work in performing repairs.  We also will not refer other contractor’s services.  We work in such a large area, that it is not practical for us to know local pricing for repairs and competent contractors.  Your real estate agent works in a smaller geographical area, and usually knows the good and the bad.  Always get 3 estimates, and always ask them to be specific regarding what they will do and the materials they will use.  We always strongly advise our clients to get licensed professionals to perform major repairs.


Will the inspector tell me which repairs the seller should take care of and which ones I should repair myself?

That is a rather difficult thing to do.  I do not have any idea what your skill set is, and what your expectations are.  I can tell you what needs to be corrected, and you should make the decision as to who will or who has the ability and skill set to fix it.  However, I do recommend that if the seller agrees to correct an issue, and chooses to do the work himself, you should have it re-inspected to make sure that it was done right.  If he/she obtained the services of a professional, receipts and contact information for that professional should be provided by the seller and retained by you at/after closing.


Should I attend the home inspection?

Many home inspectors do not prefer that clients attend the home inspection; they claim it slows them down and clients “get in the way.”  It is my belief that an inspector that thinks clients slow them down, need to slow down.  This is not the case with Star Home Inspections; we highly recommend and encourage you to attend the inspection.  You will get a better appreciation for what we do, a better perspective on the home you will be owning, and you will get much additional advise and information through informal conversation with the inspector.  


What makes Star Home Inspections different from its competitors?

I have been in the home inspection business for 17 years; that’s as long as or longer than anyone I am aware of.  We have logged many thousands of inspections – so many I no longer keep track.  We are not only experienced in every aspect of the home inspection process, but we have a strong environmental background as well.  Undergraduate and post-graduate study has given us the writing and reporting skills necessary to report clearly and concisely, without relying on a software program containing a database of statements.  I have been Infrared Certified for over 6 years, giving me the knowledge and experience to not only use infrared equipment, but to interpret the data.  This tool is so useful, that I cannot image anyone performing a home inspection without it.  We provide a thermal scan of the home as part of the home inspection without additional charges or fees.  When you call us, you can be assured that you are calling one of the best qualified professionals in the industry.


How soon will I get my inspection report?

We take great pride in the quality of our report and our report writing skills.  We ask that we be given 48 hours to get the report to you.  Some inspectors promote their services by providing on-site reporting.  However, it has been our experience that these reports are exceedingly brief, way too vague, difficult to comprehend, and many times hand-written in carbon copy and are eligible.  Over the years, we have developed a system that takes more time, but works best for everyone.  If you are in a pinch for time to respond to the seller, please let us know ahead of time, and we can make your deadline if necessary.


What type of report will I receive?

Star Home Inspections has personally designed an easy-to read format for the buyer.  A formal computer-generated report, typically 30-32 pages in length, is issued describing the inspection in detail.  The report also includes a comprehensive summary, serving as a reference guide, describing defects and maintenance issues found, along with recommendations for correcting defects.  We also take lots of digital photos for your benefit as well as for our own reference.  We commonly take from 50 to as many as 150 photos per inspection.  We simply take all photos taken at a property and include them as an additional “PDF” file with the report.  If an issue is encountered that can be best illustrated by infrared, we will include these photos as well.  Reports are emailed to insure promptness; other means of report submission are available per request.


If I am selling my home, can I get a home inspection?

Sure – we provide pre-listing inspections to sellers.  It is a great marketing tool, and we provide through our association “MOVE-IN CERTIFIED” inspections.  It’s a great way to prepare your home for sale.  The whole list your house, get an offer, accept the offer contingent upon inspections, buyer gets an inspection, buyer responds to inspection by asking the seller fix correct issues ---- the whole process goes a lot smoother if an inspection is done prior to listing the house.  In fact – it has been our experience that many times a buyer sees the quality of our report, and waives the whole inspection process all together.  Makes everyone’s life a lot simpler.