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>WHY SHOULD I GET A HOME INSPECTION?
If something is wrong, there's a good chance that the seller will make it right during negotiations. Nobody wants surprises, you want to know if anything serious is wrong, which could save you thousands down the road. But more importantly, you want to know that the home is safe and also know how to operate it safely in the future.
>WHAT IF THE HOME I’M BUYING WAS PRE-INSPECTED?
There is a conflict of interest having the inspector working for the seller; yet this practice is not unusual. When likely making the biggest investment of your life, don't you want to know that you've hired an expert and that he's working for YOU? While it may be expedient for a seller to hire the inspector or engineer, especially if its known that structural repairs are needed, buyers are always encouraged to hire their own man, even if its just for a second opinion.
>HOW DO I CHOOSE AN INSPECTOR?
An experienced realtor has witnessed dozens of home inspections and is probably the best reference. You might even ask who they or their loved ones used when they bought their last home. They usually know who’s the most experienced and thorough. You're not looking for an alarmist that lacks experience and relies on a checklist and their camera, making a 'mountain out of every molehill' whenever they see something unusual.
>WHAT IS LOOKED AT DURING A HOME INSPECTION?
>HOW DO I BOOK AN INSPECTION?
See “Contact Us”
. You can book by calling us at 907.388.6001 or emailing us with the link in the top right and bottom right corners of every page.
>HOW DO I PAY FOR THE HOME INSPECTION?
We accept Cash, Check and all major credit cards (VISA, MasterCard, etc). Payment is due upon completion of the inspection. A receipt will be attached to the inspection report.
>HOW AND WHEN WILL I RECEIVE MY INSPECTION REPORT?
The home inspector will verbally communicate findings to you onsite on the day of the inspection. Your official report will be emailed to you or your realtor usually within two working days in PDF format which allows you to pass-on or print as many copies as you would like. You’re also encouraged to take notes during the inspection as much of the discussion will not be in print.
>SHOULD EVERY HOME INSPECTOR BE A PROFESSIONAL ENGINEER?
Having a professional engineer inspect your home is a personal choice. It is important to note that an engineering designation is not a mandatory certification. There is no substitute for years of experience. However, engineers having a structural background are invaluable at both identifying serious structural concerns, as well as being able to prescribe a fix, usually on the spot. Non engineer’s are just not licensed to address serious matters involving structural repairs or the use of “alternate methods or materials” found outside of the code books, although a wise home inspector knows a problem when he sees it, and when to call for assistance.
>HOW LONG DOES AN INSPECTION TAKE?
A typical home inspection of an average single-family home (1200 - 3500 sf) takes approximately two to three hours. During this time, your inspector will thoroughly inspect the home, verbally discuss his findings and answer any questions you may have. He will also take time to make sure you understand how the systems in the home work (well, heating, ventilation, etc).
>SHOULD I ATTEND THE INSPECTION?
You should definately be present during your home inspection. Attending the home inspection is a great opportunity for you to ask questions and learn about any issues and maintenance requirements unique to your home. Following the inspection, you are often faced with the decision as to whether or not to proceed with the purchase.
>DO YOU INSPECT COMMERCIAL BUILDINGS OR ONLY RESIDENTIAL HOMES?
Yes. Our commercial inspection services are similar to our residential insopections but are typically more involved. We must take into consideration numerous building and fire code issues as well as handicapped accessibility issues, just to name a few. As a result these inspections take longer and involve greater liability and expense.
>IF THE HOME IS ONLY FIVE YEARS OLD IS AN INSPECTION NECESSARY?
Yes. Just because the home is new, does not mean that everything is in perfect working condition. The home could have been built incorrectly, which can cause things to fail within a short time frame. Problems are always less severe when they are caught early. An inspection is always recommended before purchasing a home (old or new).
>AREN’T ALL HOMES INSPECTED AS THEY ARE BUILT?
No, especially the older homes built outside of the city limits. Alaska is unique in that prior to 1992 all inspections outside of the city were optional. To this day, they are still optional unless the lender requires it. AHFC
has done a fairly good job at encouraging builders to comply with their home inspection requirements in order to get financing.
>CAN I CALL AT A LATER DATE FOR INFORMATION AND ADVICE?
Definately! If any questions come up in the purchase process or after you see the written report, by all means call. Even if questions come up a year later, don’t hesitate. Recently someone called and it had been 14 years since the inspection.
>CAN I CALL WITH QUESTIONS ABOUT A GREAT DEAL ON SOME LAND I FOUND?
Absolutely! Purchasing land is a big decision and you want to make sure you know what you're getting into before you sign those papers. It is important to remember that in general, you get what you pay for. While cheap land may be appealing at first, it can quickly turn from cheap to expensive when you factor in the more complex building procedures, unexpected costs of repairs and reduced future value that may result from the poor quality of the land. For example, land containing ice-rich permafrost requires more elaborate and expensive water and wastewater systems, and foundations on such land often require extensive repairs.
>DO YOU PERFORM SOILS INVESTIGATIONS AND DRILLING?
A soils investigation with drilling is a great way to determine if a piece of land is worth buying. While it may seem expensive, it can often save you much more money in the long run. After all, if there is poor soil, you'd much rather discover it by drilling before you build than by having your foundation fail. While North Star Engineering does not perform the drilling, we can recommend several competent contractors who will. Additionally, we are able to assist with the soils analysis and provide recommendations for foundation designs based on the outcome.
>DO YOU DO WELL AND SEPTIC TESTS?
We do not. In the home buying process, it is customary for the buyer to pay for the home inspection and the seller to pay for the well and septic test. If the same inspector is hired to do both, this can create a conflict of interest for the inspector in that he is taking money from both sides of the deal. At North Star Engineering, we prefer to work exclusively for you, the buyer.
>DO YOU DO INSPECTIONS FOR SELLERS?
Yes, but due to the potential conflict of interest, we have found that it is typically appropriate to perform a less expensive "walk-and-talk" inspection. During these inspections, we recommend that the seller take his own notes as we typically will not provide a written report. This allows the seller to identify any issues that may arise and allows the buyer to take ownership of their own separate inspection, greatly reducing liability to both the seller and the inspector.