Frequently Asked Questions


Have Questions?

Find answers here to Gate House Watch's most commonly asked questions about the home inspection process.

1How much do you charge for a residential inspection?
Prices depend on several variables: Is it a condo? A mobile home? A single-family home? How many stories? How many square feet? Does it have a swimming pool? Does it have a crawl space? Prices for traditional inspections will vary from the low $200 to the high $300 range. Some clients have a special need such as a mold, lead or radon inspection. In these cases, there will be an additional cost.
2When will I be told the exact cost?
Give us a call and provide the the address. In most cases we will be able to tell you the cost on the spot. Worst case, we will call back with the cost within a few minutes.
3Someone else quoted me a price of $100. Shouldn’t you be more competitive?
A price that low can’t possibly provide you with a thorough inspection. The inspector is not likely certified, licensed or insured. You will probably not get a detailed report. You may get only a verbal opinion or an incomplete summary. The inspector will probably not spend much time at the property.
4How long does it take for you to do an inspection?
The inspection of the premises, the roof, attic, and all of the mechanical and electrical element of the house takes between two to four hours depending of the size, condition and complexity of the house.
The report writing part of the inspection creates a permanent record that is turned over to the client. This report usually takes at least three hours to four hours to complete and in virtually all cases will be delivered within 24 hours.
5How much detail can I expect in the report?
The report will be something on the order of 40 to 75 pages with generous amounts of photographs depicting various conditions of the structure. All aspects of the mechanical and electrical elements are annotated clearly to show any problems or concerns. The report is written in a manner that a non-technical or lay person can understand.
The report will cover more than the areas of concern. It will also describe the location of certain features, like the main water shut-off valve and the electrical disconnect.
It may seem obvious, but be sure to ask any inspector you’re considering what to expect from the report. Surprisingly, there are inspectors who provide reports verbally without putting anything in writing.
6Is this a code inspection?
This is a very “gray area” for some people. When looking a home or commercial building that is 30 years old for instance, the only code that can be enforced is what was in effect at the time the it was built.
When we are inspecting we tend to note things that should be updated especially thing the directly relate to human safety such as electrical issues and plumbing issues.
We will site parts of the building code from time to time if we see some blatant violation(s). The industry definition, as defined by InterNachi, for a home or commercial property inspection is a non-invasive, visual examination of the accessible areas of a residential or commercial property (as delineated and/or specified in the scope and agreement), performed for a fee, which is designed to identify defects within specific systems and components defined by these standards that are both observed and deemed material by the inspector.
The scope of work may be modified by the Client and Inspector when mutually agreed upon prior to, or possibly during, the inspection process.
7Why should I get an inspection at all? – The house looks pretty good to me.
Most people are preoccupied and stressed when purchasing real estate. Throughout the process, lenders and insurance companies will constantly ask for information. Just when you think you’ve provided it all, they’re calling you again, sometimes looking for documentation you have not preserved. You begin to feel like the work required to see the process through will never end.
In addition, your perspective may be clouded by the spark of love at first sight: curb appeal, a great floor-plan, a nice kitchen, a pretty sun porch, etc. None of these features matter when it comes to determining if the home’s systems are solid, and where surprise expenditures may lie in wait down the road. The home inspector’s point of view is not emotional. It is technical and clinical, confirming the overall condition of the property. A good home inspector, more than any of the professionals involved, will be your advocate with a genuine concern for your best interests.
The home inspection is the single most important thing prospective buyers can do to protect themselves from buying a “money pit.”
8Should I plan on being present during the inspection?
It is highly recommended if you are able, particularly for the latter portion once the inspector has a good feel for the property.
9What if there is something in the report that I don’t understand?
An inspector should always make himself available by phone following the inspection to discuss anything in the report that is not clear to the client. If necessary, the report can be amended to clarify any issues the client has a hard time understanding.
It is also a good idea to have a brief on-site meeting immediately following the inspection. The inspector can visually show you findings with an explanation and can answer any questions you may have.
10Can I have a contractor do my home inspection?
The short answer is yes, but with a few caveats.
In some states certain licensed contractors can do home inspections. Bear in mind than most contractors are specialists in one field or another such as carpentry or concrete, etc. A home inspection is a very broad view of the entire home that covers all of the systems within the house. Gate House Watch provides this broad view due to the owner’s 35+ years working across all construction disciplines.
11But, wouldn’t the contractor/inspector be a great choice, since he would able to fix any problems he identifies?
Be careful! If your home inspector volunteers to help with repairs, he is no longer impartial. You can’t be sure if “problems” are real or something he has identified to get additional work.
If the contractor’s main business still involves building or making repairs, home inspection work is probably only a sideline. You may get only a verbal or cursory report that omits important details.
Inspectors who have stayed current in their field use state-of-the-art report writing software. The software prompts the inspector to use the International Association of Certified Home Inspector Standards of Practice, a tried and true template that virtually eliminates the possibility of anything being overlooked. Among truly professional Inspectors, homemade spreadsheets and paper checklists are a thing of the past.

Call Gate House Watch for a free quote 904-770-7939