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Frequently Asked Questions

Inspections and Contingencies

Guide to Whole House Inspections

Generally, a whole house inspection is intended to disclose any major defect that might materially affect the property, not minor routine maintenance and repair items. The inspection is in no way a guarantee or warranty and does not replace homeowners warranty insurance.

The following items are areas that the inspector routinely examines:

bulletAppearance of home from outside: Sidewalk, driveway, brick, wood siding, chimney, foundation, grading around the home, roof, down spouts and gutters, windows and trim
bulletEntire house: Random electrical outlets, doors, random windows, walls, floors, ceilings, heat vents, fireplaces
bulletBasement: Floor, foundation walls, electrical panel box, sub-flooring, support beams and support joists, plumbing, heating, water heater, air-conditioning (except in winter months)
bulletKitchen and bathrooms: Kitchen appliances such as range, refrigerator, dishwasher, disposal, water pressure, drain pipes, toilets, sinks, cabinets, fans, shower, bath tub
bulletAttic: Insulation, roof supports, vents
bulletGarage: Walls, floors, garage door, automatic garage door opener, fire safety

Items generally not inspected:

bulletSecurity systems, pools, pool equipment, hot tub, radon, asbestos, lead, indications of wood destroying insects

The inspector will ask the person paying for the inspection to sign an agreement before proceeding. Payment for the inspection is usually due at the time of inspection.

Most inspectors will prefer that the buyer (if they are paying for the inspection) be present. It is not necessary for the sellers to accompany the inspector throughout the house; however, they may if they so choose. The Realtor may be present. Some inspectors may inspect items not included in this guide. A written report will be provided to the person paying for the inspection. You may wish to have additional items inspected that are not included in the whole house inspection.

Recommendations from people who have had satisfactory experiences with inspectors in the past is one method of selecting a firm. If you must select at random, check the Yellow Pages under Building Inspection Services. Further, check with your local Better Business Bureau to see if any complaints have been filed against any company that your are considering.

These suggestions are for informational purposes only and are not intended to be a prerequisite to the inspection. Information obtained from the Cincinnati Area Board of Realtors.


Buyers and Sellers will typically outline conditions of sale in a contract to purchase. The sales will be contingent on certain terms or events. It is critical that these intentions are communicated clearly and concisely in writing. The contingency itself should specify what will happen and when it will happen. The contingency must also provide for the contract to be canceled or renegotiated and for earnest money distribution, in the event the contingency can not be satisfied. Contingencies should be written and reviewed with great care. The following areas are often incorporated into purchase contracts as contingencies.

bulletFinancing; type of financing, interest rate, amount financed, and number of years for amortization
bulletWhole House Inspection
bulletLimited Inspections ex. Structure, Roof, Mechanics, Electric, Plumbing
bulletTermite and Wood Destroying Insect Inspection
bulletSale of Present Home
bulletVerifying Zoning, Covenants and or Restrictions
bulletSale of Present Home

The Expertise of a AMERICAN REAL ESTATE Sales Associate always provides valuable assistance.

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