Frequently Asked Questions
What is a home inspection?
A home inspection is an objective visual examination of the physical structure and systems of a house, from the roof to the foundation, on a given day and time. It provides you with a report that clearly identifies safety issues and describes the physical condition of the components and systems of a home that are not performing properly or are nearing or beyond their serviceable lives. A home inspection should not be confused with a property appraisal, a municipal code inspection, an environmental audit or a home warranty.
What does a home inspection include?
The standard home inspector’s report will cover the condition of the home’s heating system; central air conditioning system (temperature permitting); interior plumbing and electrical systems; the roof, attic and visible insulation; walls, ceilings, floors, windows and doors; the foundation, basement and structural components.
Why should I have a home inspection?
Buying a home could be the largest single investment you will ever make. To minimize unpleasant surprises and unexpected difficulties, you’ll want to learn as much as you can about the newly constructed or existing house before you buy it. A home inspection may identify the need for major repairs or builder oversights, as well as the need for maintenance to keep it in good shape. After the inspection, you will know more about the house, which will allow you to make decisions with confidence.
If you already are a homeowner, a home inspection can identify problems in the making and suggest preventive measures that might help you avoid costly future repairs. If you are planning to sell your home, a home inspection can give you the opportunity to make repairs that will put the house in better selling condition.
Does a newly constructed home need an Inspection?
Absolutely. A professional inspection of a new home is important. We can spot potential problems early, while they are still easy to correct. As building professionals, we may find problem areas where the builder has taken shortcuts or not done good work.
How long does the inspection take?
An average home inspection generally takes from 2-4 hours. Larger homes can take longer.
What do you charge for a home inspection?
The inspection fee varies depending on a number of factors such as the size and age of the house. The presence of any outbuildings and/or additional units at the property will increase the cost. Please call for a quote on a specific property.
Do not let cost be a factor in deciding whether or not to have a home inspection or in the selection of your home inspector. The sense of security and knowledge gained from an inspection is well worth the cost, and the lowest-priced inspection is not necessarily a bargain. Use the inspector’s qualifications, including experience, training and compliance with your state’s regulations, if any, and professional affiliations as a guide.
How far in advance do I need to schedule an appointment?
A home inspector is typically contacted right after the contract or purchase agreement has been signed, and is often available within a few days.
Do I need to be present at the inspection?
While it’s not required that you be present for the inspection, it is highly recommended. This is a valuable educational opportunity and you will be able to observe the inspector and ask questions as you learn about the condition of the home and how to maintain it.
What type of report do you produce?
We produce a narrative report using HomeGauge report writing software. Our reports include detailed descriptions of the issues identified, illustrative photographs and recommendations for remediation and/or further evaluation by licensed professionals. All our reports comply with the Massachusetts Standards of Practice for Home Inspectors 266 CMR 6.00.
When will I get the report?
Within 24 hours of the end of the inspection. However, in most cases the report is delivered by the end of the same day.
How do you send me the report?
Once the report has been completed you will receive an email with a link to your report, and you can then download a PDF copy. The report is available for up to three years.
Can I see a sample report?
Yes, click here: Sample Report
Can a house fail a home inspection?
No. A professional home inspection is an examination of the current condition of a house. It is not an appraisal, which determines market value. It is not a municipal inspection, which verifies local code compliance. A home inspector, therefore, will not pass or fail a house, but rather describe its physical condition and indicate what components and systems may need repair or replacement.
Do you report on the cost to correct any defects found in the home?
No, we do not. In MA CMR 266, the Massachusetts Regulations for Home Inspectors, inspectors are strictly prohibited from reporting on the cost to repair conditions observed at the home.
Do you offer to do repairs or improvements based on the inspection?
No, we do not. The Massachusetts Standards of Practice for Home Inspectors 266 CMR section 6.06 prohibits home inspectors from doing repair work on properties they inspect. This assures that there will never be any conflict of interest by the inspector. Our purpose is to provide an unbiased, objective third party report on the condition of the home.
What if the report reveals problems?
No house is perfect. If the inspector identifies problems, it doesn’t mean you should or shouldn’t buy the house, only that you will know in advance what to expect. If your budget is tight, or if you don’t want to become involved in future repair work, this information will be important to you. If major problems are found, a seller may agree to make repairs.
How should I negotiate with the seller after the Home Inspection?
Litt Home Inspection cannot advise you on how you should negotiate or move forward with your transaction. You should seek the professional advise of a licensed realtor or real estate attorney. We are here to inform you solely on the condition of the property.
Are you Licensed, Certified, or Insured?
Yes. Our inspectors are licensed by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. We are insured with Errors and Omissions and General Liability insurance. We are also Certified Members of The American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI).
What is the American Society of Home Inspectors?
The American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) is the oldest and leading nonprofit professional association for independent home inspectors. Since its formation in 1976, ASHI's "Standards of Practice" have served as the home inspector's performance guideline, universally recognized and accepted by professional and government authorities alike.
What is the importance of selecting an inspector who is a member of the American Society of Home Inspectors?
Members of ASHI are independent professional home inspectors who have met the most rigorous technical and experience requirements in effect today. To become an ASHI Member, an inspector must pass two written technical exams, have performed a minimum of 250 professional fee-paid home inspections, and maintained his or her candidate status for no less than six months. ASHI Members are required to follow the Society's Code of Ethics, and to obtain continuing education credits in order to keep current with the latest in building technology, materials, and professional skills.
You said I needed to have further investigation on one of the items. What do I do next?
"Further Investigation” means that the condition observed requires more information and investigation to fully understand the scope of the repair, there is a potential for concealed damage, and/or the subject area is beyond the scope of our expertise. The report will indicate which type of specialist is required.
Does a standard home inspection include a radon test?
No. A radon test is a separate service provided by companies certified by the EPA. If radon testing is desired, Litt Home Inspection will provide this service at an additional cost.
Why should I have a radon test?
Radon is a radioactive gas that has been found in homes all over the United States. It comes from the natural breakdown of uranium in soil, rock, and water and gets into the air you breathe. When you breathe air containing radon, you increase your risk of getting lung cancer. By testing for this colorless, odorless gas, houses can be remediated for protection.
What type of radon testing do you offer?
We offer two different types of radon tests. A Continuous Radon Monitoring machine and a Charcoal Liquid Scintillation test kit. A Continuous Radon Monitor is a machine that frequently measures radon gas present in the home (hourly). This machine is placed in the lowest livable space in the home and is activated for testing radon. When the test is completed, the machine will print out a graph and a listing of the hourly readings so that your measurement professional can interpret the radon gas performance as well as the average level of radon. This machine is more resistant to tampering and can detect unusual radon gas performance because it is sensitive to the fluctuations of radon and will show if the radon levels suddenly drop (This could mean a window or door was opened, or other conditions may have prevented a successful test.)
Charcoal Liquid Scintillation (LS) testing is a set of two passive plastic vials that are set up in the lowest livable space in the home. During the test period, the charcoal vials are opened and absorb the radon decay products. They are sealed at the end of the test period and they are sent to the lab for analysis. Radon levels in the home are derived from the analysis of the vials through light that is projected into the charcoal. This type of test is considered very accurate and provides an average level of radon in the home.
Can a radon problem be fixed?
Yes. Even very high levels can be reduced to acceptable levels. A radon professional is qualified to evaluate and install a system to solve the problem. In most cases these systems involve the installation of a fan and ducting to help prevent radon gas from entering your home. The fan operates continuously; ductwork runs from below the basement floor to above the roofline where the radon gas is safely discharged. Generally these systems are designed to be as unobtrusive as possible. The radon mitigation contractor will design the best system for your home.
If I make improvements to my house such as an addition or structural changes, should I retest?
Yes, as these changes may affect radon gas levels. Retesting after the completion of any construction is recommended. It is also advisable to consult a radon professional prior to any construction.
Is radon only a problem in certain parts of the country?
High radon levels have been found in every state. Radon problems do vary from area to area, but the only way to know your radon level is to test.