Frequently Asked Questions about Home Inspections

What is a home inspection?

A home inspection is a comprehensive visual examination of the physical structure and systems of a home, from foundation to roof, as provided by an objective third party. The home inspector will provide you with a report detailing any components that are not performing properly and items that are unsafe. Areas that may need further evaluation or repairs will also be noted by the home inspector. This report will give you the knowledge to make an informed decision, and ensure that you are getting a good value for your investment.

Is a home inspection necessary?

When buying a home, most people find it difficult to remain objective about the house they really want. To obtain the most accurate information about a home's condition, you should get an impartial, third-party, home inspection expert. Hiring a professional home inspector can actually SAVE you money: I usually reveal repairs, maintenance or otherwise, that far exceed the cost of the home inspection. These repairs may be done by the current owner, or, may be negotiated off the asking price. The end result is that the home inspection saves you money, rather than costing you money.

When selling a home, it is a good idea to have a home inspection conducted before waiting for a buyer's home inspector to uncover hidden problems. This will give you the time to decide whether it makes more sense to have any necessary repairs completed yourself or disclose them to potential home buyers prior to the negotiation process. You'll have a more buyer-friendly home and may even sell your house sooner!

Do I need a home inspection if I'm buying a brand new house?

Buyers should never assume that all systems and components of a home function properly just because the home is new. Simply put, new construction is no longer a guarantee of quality. Don't just take my word for it, though: Even the Council of Better Business Bureaus agrees that buyers should have their home inspected - old or new - in order to minimize repair surprises at a later date.

Are you qualified to do VA / FHA inspections ?

YES. Inspectors in PA that are CERTIFIED by a nationally recognized home inspection organization such as NACHI, are qualifed to do these inspections. I am a member of NACHI (Certificate # 05111583) and am therefore qualified to do VA/FHA home inspections.

Can I do the inspection myself?

Professional home inspectors are uniquely suited to perform objective and comprehensive visual examinations of a house. By hiring a professional home inspector like myself, you will benefit from the experience, training, and depth of knowledge I have, as well as the unbiased and thorough report of the property's condition. An inspector is familiar with the many elements of home construction, as well as their proper installation and maintenance. In addition, an inspector understands how a home's systems and components should function together, and can interpret his findings to make helpful recommendations.

Should I attend the home inspection?

Absolutely! Your attendance of the home inspection is not required, however, most of my clients find it helpful to be present while the inspector works. This will allow you to ask questions about the condition of the home, how the systems work and how to properly maintain them. I am happy to answer all of your questions so don't hesitate to ask! After walking through the home with me, you'll have no problems understanding my written report and will know exactly which areas of the house need your attention. You'll also learn valuable details about your new home, such as where the main shutoff valves to the utilities are located, how the house operates and more.

First time home buyers often find my home inspection service especially useful, not just as a home inspection, but for maintenance tips and answers to a variety of questions.

What is included in a home inspection?

With O'Leary Home Inspections, you receive a complete evaluation from foundation to roof, inside and out. On the inside, I will inspect the plumbing system, the heating and air conditioning system, the electrical system, framing, windows, kitchen appliances, etc. On the outside, I will inspect the roof, chimneys, gutters, foundation, retaining walls, decks, etc. For information about the NACHI Standards of Practice, please call (412-491-5488) or email me ( and I'll send you a copy.


I also provide radon testing, termite inspections/pest inspections, and lead testing. Click here for a list of inspection services I provide to home buyers and home sellers in the Pittsburgh and Greensburg areas of Pennsylvania.

When and how will I get the results of your home inspection?

I have a unique reporting format that is precise, easy to read and easy to follow. Usually, the home inspection reports I prepare are no longer than 10-12 pages of concise information. Most often, I email the home inspection report to my clients in approximately 24-36 hours. Some prefer to have it mailed or faxed, which I am happy to do as well.

What if problems are found during the inspection?

Relax: Most of your home inspection will be maintenance recommendations, life expectancies, and minor imperfections, all of which are nice to know. However, the issues that really matter fall into four categories:

  1. Major defects, such as a structural failure
  2. Things that lead to major defects, such as a small roof leak
  3. Things that may hinder your ability to finance, legally occupy, or insure the home (asbestos, lead, etc)
  4. Safety hazards (gas leak, electrical issue, etc)

Anything in these categories will be addressed. Often serious problems can be corrected inexpensively to protect life and property. No home is perfect. Keep things in perspective: You don't have to miss out on your dream home over things that don't matter.

What is the cost of a home inspection?

Home inspection fees vary, based on the size of the home. Additional services, such as radon testing, pest inspections and testing for lead paint may be warranted, depending on the individual property. Don't let the cost of a professional home inspection deter you: The knowledge gained from a thorough inspection is well worth the expense. The cost of a home inspection is small when compared to the cost of an oversight on your part down the road. Click here for a detailed list of my home inspection fees.

How do I schedule an inspection in the Pittsburgh or Greensburg area of Pennsylvania?

The best way to schedule a home inspection or get answers to your home inspection questions is to call me directly at 412-491-5488 between the hours of 8am and 8pm. I usually answer the phone personally. If you don't reach me right away, please leave a message and I will return your call as soon as possible.

How long will the home inspection take?

The time it takes me to complete inspections varies greatly depending on the size and condition of the house. Generally, though, you can expect your home inspection to be complete in 2-4 hours.

When is payment to the inspector due?

Payment for the home inspection is due the same day of the inspection, unless other arrangements have been made in advance. If you have elected to have a pest inspection/termite inspection, radon testing or lead paint testing, those fees are due to the inspector the day of service as well.

What if I have questions after my home inspection is complete?

Call me anytime... next day... next year - you get the idea. I am accessible!

If you have any questions for a professional home inspector or would like to speak with me about scheduling a home inspection for your Pittsburgh or Greensburg home, please don't hesitate to call me at 412-491-5488. I look forward to helping you buy your new home with confidence!