You are buying a home but do you know what to look for in a home inspection process in Phoenix, Az? This article will help buyers know what to expect of your home inspector and questions to ask. Why does it matter who you choose for your inspection?
What types of inspections should a buyer consider in Arizona? Read more about home inspections in the Phoenix metro area and what you need to know.
?️ What is the Home Inspection Period?
The inspection period is a set time allowed in the state of Arizona purchase contract for a buyer to conduct any inspection they feel is necessary. Typically here in the Phoenix metro area, we see buyers obtaining a home inspection and a termite inspection.
If the home inspection finds everything in working order, many buyers do not do further inspections. Additionally, be sure to ask your home inspector the scope of their inspection. Some inspectors do not go into the attic, may not conduct pool inspections or complete roof inspections. Also, buyers would typically want to inspect the roof and pool equipment. Following the inspection, the home inspector may recommend further evaluation of items such as HVAC (AC and heating) systems if there are questions about how the system is operating.
If problems are found with electrical or plumbing, the inspector may recommend further inspections by a licensed professional. The buyer is responsible to pay for all inspections. The buyer is also responsible for scheduling additional inspections.
? Should I Read the Seller Disclosure Statement Befor the Inspection?
In Arizona, sellers are required to provide a buyer with a Seller Home Disclosure. This is a document disclosing what the seller knows about the property. This includes things like past plumbing or electrical problems, age of the HVAC system and water heater. It disclosures whether there have been any building additions and whether these were permitted. This also disclosures roof repairs, issues, or replacement.
This disclosure is due to the buyer within 5 days of an accepted purchase agreement. Buyers should carefully review the report. There may be things to have the home inspector look at in more detail. I will often send the report to the home inspector to give a good idea of past problems to check on.
?️ Is a Home Inspection Required When Buying a House?
A home inspection is not usually required when buying a house. However, the home inspection provides an expert examination of a house by a professional. While the home buyer can make a visual inspection of the accessible areas of the house, the home inspector goes deeper.
A home inspector in Arizona is licensed by the state and required to undergo vigorous training. Additionally, they are required to alert buyers to various safety and code issues. Buyers typically do not go into an attic or walk the roof looking for issues. And home inspectors typically test electrical outlets. Most homebuyers do not have access to the same tools as an inspector.
It only makes sense when spending thousands of dollars on a house that a licensed home inspector completes a home inspection. Inspectors also typically include such things as yard sprinkler systems, AC units, and pool equipment. Again, most consumers are not equipped to evaluate these components.
? Is a home inspection required for an FHA loan?
Again, home inspections are not typically required, however, it makes sense for a professional to inspect the property before purchasing. This also gives the buyer an opportunity to ask for repairs to be performed by the seller for material items found in the inspection. The inspector is not looking for cosmetic items. These are easily seen by the buyer. Again, they dig deeper into the house structure and safety items.
? What Repairs are Mandatory After a Home Inspection?
In Arizona, there are not mandatory repairs. Properties are sold in as-is condition. There are times when an appraiser may require certain repairs. We see this on FHA or VA loans where there may be some roof issues visual from the ground. An appraiser may also require wood areas to be painted if there is exposed wood as this could attract termites.
❓ Who Pays for Repairs After a Home Inspection?
A buyer has an opportunity to have a home inspection completed and ask the seller to make repairs. The seller can agree to all requested repairs, refuse to do any repairs, or pick and choose what they will complete. If the seller will not make the requested repairs, the buyer can cancel the contract.
The seller may decline to make repairs but agree to credit a dollar amount for the buyer to make repairs after the sale closes. The benefit of this to the seller is they don’t have to schedule the repair person. We often see this when a seller is out of state. The seller may otherwise be unable to find a vendor to make the repairs and find time in their schedule to meet them at the house to complete the repairs.
The benefit for the buyer is they can make the repairs themselves or hire their own vendor to do the repairs.
?️ Does a seller have to fix everything that comes up in a home inspection?
Most sellers are willing to make reasonable repairs. Buyers are typically asking for items to be repairs related to safety and soundness. Buyers will often ask for the immediate repair of anything that could cause damage to a house before the closing, such as a water leak. Most sellers do not want to have the buyer cancel the contract due to minor issues. Also, whatever comes up on one home inspection will likely come up in subsequent inspections.
❓ How long does a Buyer Have to Complete a Home Inspection?
The Arizona purchase contract states there is a 10 day period for a buy to conduct any home inspections they feel are necessary. The purchase contract also has a place for the buyer to choose their own number of days if the 10 day period does not work for them. If a buyer and seller are looking for a quick close, they may agree to fewer days.
If the buyer or seller is unable to accommodate the 10 day period after they are under contract, they can mutually agree to a different number of days for the buyer to complete the inspection through an addendum to the initial purchase contract. The 10-day count begins the first day AFTER the contract is fully executed. If additional time is needed, often the inspection period can be extended with an addendum to the purchase contract. Any inspections need to be completed in the agreed time period.
I recommend scheduling the inspection as soon as possible after the purchase contract is accepted. The home inspector may recommend additional inspections based on the initial home inspection. Additional inspections could be needed for a roof, swimming pool, HVAC, plumbing, etc. The buyer pays for all inspections.
? What types of Inspections are Needed?
In addition to a home inspection, there are other inspections that a buyer may want to consider. In Arizona it is highly recommended buyers get a termite inspection. The saying in Arizona is there are two types of houses; those that have termites and those that will get termites. Arizona is home to subterranean termites. They are slower moving than their midwest and east coast cousins. These are very common in the desert.
Sellers may also want to have a licensed roofer look at their roof, particularly if it is an older roof. If the home inspector recommends additional inspections, such as a pool contractor or AC contractor, buyers will want to add those inspections.
Consider a scoping of the sewer line if the home is older or there are many trees in the yard. A small camera is sent into the sewer lines to look for breaks in the lines. In order neighborhood s in Tempe or Phoenix, there are wonderful trees, however, over time, the roots can go into the sewer system. The drains may drain normally, however, broked sewer lines and allow some water to drain an appear to be working until a back up is noted. It can cost $10,000 – $15,000 to repair broken sewer lines. Sewer scoping is not typically included in the home inspection and is an additional cost. However, this makes the cost of having the lines scoped out a great investment.
?️ What is the Purpose of a Home Inspection?
First, in Arizona, home inspectors are licensed by the state. They perform a visual observation in accordance with the state’s standards. Then, the home inspector identifies health, safety, or major mechanical issues. since the buyer does not own the home yet, the inspection is unable to perform any “invasive” inspection.
They can not remove roof tiles, take apart the HVAC unit or open walls. They do, however, have tools to evaluate the functionality of most equipment.
? What do Home Inspectors Actually Inspect?
First, a home inspection is a visual inspection of the accessible home systems. Since the buyer does not yet own the home, the inspector is not permitted to do “invasive” inspections. They can’t make a hole in the wall to check on pipes.
They can’t take apart an air conditioning system. The state looks at this as a “limited visual inspection”. Also, inspectors do not moveout furniture or boxes in the house or garage. They can check outlets that are accessible, but they will not climb under furniture or move furniture to reach an outlet. When a garage is packed to the brim boxes and furniture, this can limit what areas can be inspected.
? Are Home Inspectors Licensed in Arizona?
Home inspectors in Arizona are required to be licensed by the state. Some states (as of this writing, California for example) do not require home inspectors to be state-licensed.
Arizona home inspectors are certified by the Arizona Board of Technical Registrations. To be certified, inspectors must go through 84 hrs of classroom learning, pass a national exam, and perform a minimum of 30 inspections with a licensed home inspector.
?️ Whose Side is the Inspector on?
Buyers want an inspector who states the facts and is thorough. The home inspector is a neutral third party hired to follow state-approved home inspection guidelines. They are hired by the buyer to ensure the house is safe and sound. Also, the buyer needs to understand if there are any repairs they want to request the seller make as part of the property sale.
Also, buyers need to understand what, if any repairs they may need to make. Some inspectors are known to blow issues out of proportion while others may not be as thorough as others. Also, some will only do the minimum state requirements, while others will go above and beyond. A good example of this is the requirement to check a “sampling” of outlets in each room.
A great home inspector will check all accessible outlets. The state requires a Sampling of windows and doors to check for functioning locks. A great home inspector will check all accessible windows and doors.
You may also be interested in reading about Seller Closing Costs in Arizona.
? There are seven major things that home inspectors look for:
- Water Damage
- Structural Issues
- Old/Damaged Roof
- Damaged Electrical System
- Plumbing Problems
- Insect and Pest Infestation
- Issues with the HVAC System
When it comes to the home inspection process in Phoenix, Az, home inspectors will look for structural and system issues, not cosmetic items. Also, they are looking at the house exterior, plumbing, electrical, roofing, heating, air conditioning. insulation, electrical panels, and ventilation. If the seller has the garage packed to the rafters, the inspector will be unable to check outlets, water heaters, and other garage features.
Home inspectors will also check the water pressure to the house. Additionally, some inspectors will also check the yard irrigation systems. Some will go into the attic (complete with a respirator and coveralls) to look for moisture stains on the inside of the roof and rafters.
They will also look for issues with electrical wires in the attic. Other inspectors will only peer into the attic but not set foot inside! Typically, home inspectors will check the built-in appliances, ie stove, microwave, dishwasher, etc.
?️What Does a Home Inspector NOT Do?
A home inspector performs what is called a limited visual inspection. Since the buyer who ordered the inspection does not own the home, the inspection is visual only. A home inspector is not allowed to make holes in a wall or remove the carpet. The inspector can not lift up roof tiles. Often a roofer will go up into the attic or crawl space to look for moisture stains on the inside of the roof. They will also either walk the roof or view it from a ladder (often using binoculars)
They can not take apart the AC unit. The inspector can take the air temperature of the air going into an intake vent and compare that temperature to air coming out the vent to determine if the difference is within standard levels.
However, when a home inspector sees a problem with an area, they will likely recommend further evaluation by a licensed contractor in the field needing attention, ie HVAC, Roof, Pool, etc)
? Key Controls
The home inspector will also point out key controls in the house. Pay attention when the inspector points out these important features, such as the electrical breaker panel. In Arizona, the breaker panel is typically on the outside of the house. This is different from most states where it is found inside.
Due to the mild Phoenix-area weather, these are perfectly fine on the house exterior. Pay attention to the water main shutoff. It is typical in Arizona for there to be a shut-off valve to shut off water into the house. You can still leave the watering system on for the landscape. If you have a vacation home in the Phoenix area or are even traveling, you may want to turn off water into the house.
Most Phoenix landscaping will need daily watering. Paying attention to the shut-off valve can save you headaches later if, say, you need to turn off the water when an internal pipe bursts.
? Are There Things Home Inspectors Don’t Check During the Home Inspection Process in Phoenix, Az?
Most home inspections do not include a refrigerator, washer, or dryer inspection if the seller is including these in the sale. Also, the inspector does not check aftermarket items, such as water softeners, in house vacuum systems, alarm systems, telephone systems, or the cable system. Additionally, the home inspector is looking for structural and safety issues with the house, not normal wear and tear or cosmetic items.
?️ How Does A Seller Prepare For a Home Inspection?
The home Inspection process in Phoenix, Az is easier if a seller prepares an inspection. First, be sure the utilities are on. Often, if the seller has moved out, the utilities may be turned off. Home inspectors need electricity, gas, and water to be turned on at the property. Be sure the inspector has access to the house. Also, if there is a home alarm, disarm for the inspection or be sure the inspector has the code.
If there is a real estate agent’s lockbox on the house or a contractor lockbox, the inspector will arrange with the listing agent for access at the scheduled time. If the seller has not moved out, be sure the inspector can reach all areas. Additionally, inspectors need to reach the water heater, typically found in Arizona in the garage. Be sure there is no furniture in front of doors or windows that need to be checked.
Access if is Important!
Be sure the inspector can gain access to the attic. If a seller normally locks the electrical panel (In Arizona this is typically located outside of the house), be sure this is unlocked or the key is left for the inspector to unlock and relock the panel. If the seller uses a lock for a side gate, be sure it is unlocked or the key is available.
One of the things a home inspector will look at is gate accesses into the property. Do they open and close correctly? Do they open in the right direction? If there a pool, should the gate be self-closing, etc?
Be sure all light bulbs are functioning. If a light doesn’t work, the inspector doesn’t know if the bulb is burned out or if there is an electrical problem. This will end up on the inspection report.
? Should I Remove Pets for a Home Inspection in Phoenix, Az!
If a seller has pets, they should be kenneled or removed from the home. You don’t want a pet to escape the home inadvertently. Also, do consider removing the pet from the home. A dog may bark during the entire inspection when they see a stranger in their home. Dogs don’t understand what the home inspection is all about!
Replace Air Filters – The HVAC must work harder when the air filters are dirty. This can be a red flag for the inspector and it screens the homeowner isn’t taking good care of the home systems!
A wise seller will run faucets for all drains and make sure all drain efficiently and are not sluggish. If not, this will end up in the inspection report. The buyer doesn’t know if there is a drain problem (tree roots in the drain line) or just a sluggish drain that a bit of Draino would take care of.
?️ More Seller Home Preparation for the Home Inspection Process in Phoenix, Az
Also, sellers should make sure all the light bulbs in the house are working. If the inspector can’t turn on a light there is no way to know whether the light bulb is burned out or the light does not work. None working lights will be noted on the inspection report.
Go ahead and fix minor issues with loose drawers, cupboard doors, or hardware. Additionally, if you know the faucet leaks, replace or repair, as the issue will most certainly show up in the inspection report. Also, leaking faucets screams a lack of maintenance to a buyer. Change the filter in the AC/Heating unit.
Remove pets from the house. You don’t want your pet to escape when the inspector opens a door. Also, often dogs are protective of their home and even if caged will bark at the strangers in the house. Don’t let your pet get stressed! A home inspection can take up to four hours, depending on the size and age of the house. Be sure the inspector can access sinks, showers, or tubs.
? Can the Buyer Attend the Inspection?
If you are the seller or the buyer, let the inspector inspect the house in peace. Also, inspectors typically follow a process as they go through a house. They are documenting any findings as they go through.
When buyers attend and want to walk every step with the inspector, they may be distracted. Also, they could forget to inspect, or document an issue. And, This could cause the process to take much longer than expected, causing a delay when the inspector will be ready to review the findings with the buyer and the buyer’s agent.
Typically home inspectors arrive first, complete their inspection, and document any issues for their report. Most buyers and their agents arrive at the end of the inspection process for an on-site review with the home inspection. Also, at this time, the home inspector will walk the buyers through the house and show them any areas of concern.
Additionally, the home inspector will follow up with a full written report. These reports typically have a summary of issues noted as well as a full inspection report. Great inspectors will also have pictures of any issues. Once the buyers walk the house with the home inspector, sees the issue visually, then sees a write-up and picture in the report, they have a good understanding of the property condition.
❓ Can the Seller Attend the Inspection?
The home inspection process in Phoenix, Az usually does not include the seller attending the inspection. However, nothing stops them from attending. Sellers can sometimes get defensive when the inspector references a defect. They may feel that they have lived with a particular condition for years and it is okay.
In Arizona, home inspectors follow a standard list of required items to be inspected and documented. They must communicate findings for the buyer. Now, how the buyer decides to proceed is up to the buyer.
? What if the Inspector Finds Something The Seller Didn’t Disclose?
Sellers in Arizona are required to complete a seller disclosure document. They should disclose any latent defects they are aware of. A latent defect is a fault in the property that could not have been discovered by a reasonably thorough inspection before the sale. Also, often issues identified in a home inspection are things the seller is unaware of.
This could include roof issues (most sellers do not go on the roof too often), it could be a GFCI not working, a broken window lock, etc. However, if a seller is aware of a defect and purposefully hides it from a buyer, a buyer could have legal recourse after closing. Buyers should carefully review the seller’s disclosure prior to a home inspection. If there are areas of concern, forward on the seller’s disclosure to your home inspector for additional focus on the area of concern.
? What Recourse Does A Buyer Have With Inspection Issues?
In Arizona, a buyer can cancel a purchase contract and receive their earnest money back if they find too many problems with a house. Also, the buyer can ask the seller to make repairs or just cancel the contract. Buyers must follow the contract dates to cancel. Additionally, a buyer and seller could agree to a seller credit in lieu of repairs.
❓ How Does A buyer Know Repairs are Completed after the Home Inspection?
The Arizona purchase contract requires the work to be completed in a “workmanlike manner”. Also, receipts for the work performed are due to the buyer three days before the closing of the sale. Buyers can hire their home inspector to reinspect the items that showed up during the home inspection that the seller agreed to fix, The buyer can also review the receipts and when they do their final walkthrough on the house confirm the work has been completed. Some buyers will hire a pool company or roofing company to confirm certain repairs are made appropriately if they aren’t able to verify this themselves.
You may also enjoy reading about the Home Owner Association Fees.
? What is the Cost of A Home Inspection?
Like all professions, the cost of home inspections varies by inspection companies. A buyer will need to determine what services they want to be included and whether the standard inspection services are sufficient. What questions should you ask:
- Will the yard sprinkler system be included?
- Is there an extra cost for a pool and/or hot tub inspection?
- Do you do termite/pest inspections?
- Is there an extra cost for older houses?
- Do you inspect the roof?
- Do you scope for sewers in older homes?
❓ How long does a home inspection take?
The length of time for a home inspector to complete the inspection varies. Older homes will take longer to inspect. The size of the house will also affect the inspection time Your home inspector will typically tell you the start and end time scheduled after reviewing the property information. Townhouses and condos may take less time as the homeowner association may maintain some aspects of the property exterior.
? How Long Does it Usually take to get the Results of the Home Inspection Process in Phoenix, Az?
It can vary buy a home inspection company. Some will actually be able to print our their final report and hand it to the buyer at the end of the inspection. Others will email it to the buyer and their agent by the end of the day. Always ask when you will receive your copy.
You will want to review the actual report to determine what, if any, repairs you want to request from the sellers. Your agent will also want to see the report in order to correctly request any repairs you want to be requested. Most inspections will walk the buyer around the property for a visual look at potential issues The reports typically contain pictures of the issue along with a written explanation of the problem.
❓ How Do I Find A Home Inspector For A Home Inspection in Phoenix, Az?
Homebuyers can select any home inspector they choose. Ask your real estate agent for recommendations. If you have friends who have recently has a home inspection, ask if they were happy with the inspector and the inspection report.
? Why does a home inspection take so long?
The length of the inspection depends on the age of the home, the size as well as the scope of the inspection itself. If the home inspector is completing a pool or roof inspection, that will take a little longer. In Arizona, home inspectors are licensed by the state. They must follow a checklist of items to be inspected and report certain conditions if not in alignment with state guidelines.
Additionally, this is a process. If a house is large and has HVAC for example, that will take longer than a smaller home with one HVAC unit. You do not want to rush the inspector. This is also why we ask buyers to attend a walk through at the end of the inspection time in order for the inspector to follow their process, uninterrupted. Also, the home inspection process in Phoenix, Az is a very important part of the home buying process and should not be rushed!
? How Long Does a Home Inspection take for a Condo?
A home inspection for a condo can take about 2 hours, depending on the size of the unit. Since most condos or townhouses have exterior maintenance included in the monthly HOA bill, there is less for the inspector to check on. In those cases, the inspector may not have to do a roof inspection. There are no pools or irrigation systems to inspect.
❓ What is a good home inspection report?
The home inspection process in Phoenix may seem a bit daunting. A good inspection report is one that is easy to read. Also, the home inspection report isn’t designed to be “good” or “bad”. The report should state in clear English any issues or concerns the buyer should be aware of. Also, the report should be a statement of facts, deficiencies, or concerns about the house.
The report should conform to state guidelines for home inspections. In Arizona, home inspectors are required to be licensed by the state. Not all states require home inspectors to be licensed. The report should not contain “opinions”. Just the facts, please. The report should cover the inside and outside of the home.
A comprehensive report to cover what items have been inspected and conditions the inspector found. A good report will have a summary section highlighting items the inspector wants to bring to your attention. These items may need repair, replacement, or further evaluation. The report should cover:
Structure, Exterior, Interior, Roofing, Plumbing, Electrical, Heating, Air Conditioning, and Ventilation/insulation
The inspector will go over these areas with the buyer. Be sure at a minimum, these items are covered in the inspection report.
? How do you Fail the Home Inspection Process in Phoenix, Az?
A home inspection is not a pass or fail inspection. The purpose of the inspection is to inform the buyer of the condition of the home. If you are buying a resale home, understand this is a “used” home. There will certainly be some wear and tear on the house. The inspection process provides information on the house condition. There may be things in the report the buyer was already aware of by walking through the house. The inspection information allows the buyer to ask the seller to make certain repairs. The inspection also informs the buyer of repair issues whether or not the seller agrees to make repairs. There are times when the report shows repair issues beyond what the buyer wants to deal with. In Arizona, a buyer can cancel a purchase contract and receive a refund of earnest money due to items found during the inspection.
? Do Sellers Get A Copy of the Home Inspection Report in Phoenix, Az?
In Arizona, the purchase contract specifically states that the seller will be provided a copy of the inspection report. Additionally, even though the report is paid for by the buyer, the seller is entitled to see specifically what the inspection is reporting. There are times when there is something wrong with the report.
A great example of this is a light on a swimming pool. All pool equipment is different. Occasionally an inspector may be able to get the light to respond, only to find they missed the right switch! Sometimes exterior lights are on timers to come on dusk. A home inspector may be unable to determine if the light doesn’t respond because it is broken or if during the day it just isn’t going to turn on.
? Do sellers Have to Fix Everything on home Inspection Reports?
Sellers in Arizona are not required to make repairs after a home inspection. A buy can submit a list of repair requests to the seller after the inspection. In Arizona, the buyer is required to provide the seller with a copy of the inspection report. The seller can elect to repair some of the requested items, all of them, or pick and choose the ones to be completed. Often the items are minor, ie replacement of a faulty GFCI. Sometimes there is a minor leak under a sink. Often sellers are not aware of many issues on the report and will immediately fix some critical items.
Sellers typically do not go on their roof (especially with the Arizona tiles roofs). So they are often surprised to know there are many broken tiles or mud caps needing repair. Sellers need to understand that even if they refuse to make repairs and the buyer cancels the contract, the next buyer inspection will likely identify the same issues. It is best to negotiate the repairs for a win-win for buyers and sellers.
Your home inspector will talk to you about their home inspection and provide a written report. Be sure to ask any questions either during the home inspection walkthrough or after receiving the inspection report.
A good home inspector will inform and educate the buyer. They shouldn’t be alarmists, just stating the facts. The purpose of a home inspection is for the buyer to understand the condition of the house they want to buy, so they are fully informed. Check out any home inspector you are considering using. How are their reviews? Who recommended them? Do you know others who were happy with their service?
? How Long After A Home Inspection does the Buyer have to Back Out?
In Arizona, the buyer has 10 days to complete inspections. They can cancel by the 10th day due to items found in the inspection. If the buyer elects to ask the seller for repairs, the seller has 5 days to agree to some, all, or none of the requested repairs.
If the seller agrees to all repairs, the buyer can no longer cancel due to repairs. However, if the seller does not agree to everything requested, the buyer has 5 days to evaluate the response and either accept what the seller offered or cancel the contract and back out. During these 5 day periods, buyers and sellers can get estimates for repairs to determine the actual costs before making their decisions.
Sellers in Arizona must complete agreed-upon repairs 3 days before closing, provide receipts and complete the work in a workmanlike manner.
? What are the most common home inspection problems in the Home Inspection Process in Phoenix, Az?
In Arizona, the most common issues are found on the roof. Since most roofs here are tile, we often find cracked or broken tiles or mortar caps on the roof. Since most folks never see their roof, most sellers aren’t aware of the roof issues. Another typical issue can be leaking faucets, tubs, or sinks. Another frequently seen items are GFCIs either not installed or not working. It is not unusual for an inspector to find an electrical outlet in a room that doesn’t work. Sellers don’t always have every plugin use, so don’t know there is an issue. There are often slow drains or low water pressure issues. Some sellers get used to slow drains or low water pressure and overtime think that is “normal”.
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Home Inspection Process in Phoenix, Az
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Home Inspection Process in Phoenix, Az