Closing Costs & Information

Homeowner Assessment Guide - PDF Format


What to expect during the RAL Property Assessment

What is a Property Assessment?

• A property assessment is an unbiased visual inspection of the exterior and interior areas of a house for the purpose of relocation. It includes structural and mechanical components from the roof to the foundation.
• A relocation property assessment, though similar to a retail home inspection, does not have the same purpose and scope. The property assessment may or may not include the same items found on a retail home inspection. It is intended to follow the established guidelines designed by the relocation industry and the Worldwide ERC® for the specific purpose of relocation.
• A property assessment is not an appraisal, which is focused on the fair market value of a property.

What can you do before and during the property assessment?

• Being flexible and available for scheduling helps the process to get off to a good start -as the relocation company and/or your employer will need the results as soon as possible.
• Please allow for easy access to all areas of the home. The home inspector will not move personal belongings to gain access. Please have any personal belongings moved away from crawl space and attic entries as well as provide clear access to the electrical panels, furnace, air conditioner, water heater, etc.
• Have the house ready for the home inspector as much as possible, such as replacing light bulbs and other maintenance items. This can save time and help avoid possible re-inspections of these items.
• Please allow the home inspector the necessary time to complete the full assessment.
• Advise the inspector of any known problems or defects and answer any questions that the inspector may have regarding the property. Feel free to offer information on any significant remodeling, modifications or repairs to the property.
• Please do not try to conceal any defects of which you may be aware.
• Please have pets secured at the time of the assessment.
• The inspector understands that the assessment is a necessary intrusion into the privacy of your home and he will make every effort to be as professional and courteous as possible. The inspector will appreciate your cooperation to make the inspection process a pleasant experience.

Who will provide you with the results?

• The home inspector will be polite and courteous and will be happy to answer any general questions. However, at the request of the relocation company and/or the corporate employer, the inspector is not to disclose any findings unless they pose an immediate health threat. The relocation company or the corporate employer will review the findings and disclose to you at their discretion.

How much time will the property assessment take?

• The property assessment timeframe varies from house to house depending upon many factors such as size, age and condition. The average property assessment takes approximately two hours to complete, but may require more or less time.

When will the property assessment results be available?

• First, it is important to understand that the RAL assessment is not a pass or fail situation.
• Secondly, after the inspector has be on site, additional work will need to be completed after he returns to his office. The property inspector will provide his written field notes for RAL’s review and it is our goal to provide a final report to the relocation company or the corporate employer within 5 business days from date of inspection.
• Finally, each third party client has their own policy on how and when to disclose the assessment results to the homeowner and will do so at their discretion.

What can you expect during a relocation property assessment?

• Qualified professionals in the home inspection industry perform general property assessments. In some states, licensing is required. The property assessment is of “visible and readily accessible” components and areas of the home.
• Primary inspection points will include but are not limited to:
 •  Foundation -Exterior foundation of the home as well as visible walls and framing members in the crawl space and/or basement.
 •  Exterior Surfaces -Siding material, trim, fascia, soffits, doors and windows as well as the grading surrounding the house, etc.
 •  Roof -Roof surface (shingles, etc), flashing, vents, skylights, attic areas, etc.
 •  Electrical -Main electrical panel and any sub panels, a random sampling of electrical outlets, fixtures and smoke detectors.
 •  Heating & Air Conditioning -General testing of furnaces and air conditioners when safe to operate.
 •  Plumbing -Water heaters, kitchen and bathroom plumbing fixtures, supply and drain lines as well as any other visible plumbing lines.
 •  Interior Surfaces -Floors, walls and ceilings (for structural concerns).
 •  Various kitchen appliances.

Individual Assessments

Individual assessments may be ordered in conjunction with and/or subsequent to the RAL Property Assessment dependent upon client request and/or policy.


What is a Pest/Wood Destroying Insect Inspection?

• This type of inspection may be performed by a qualified home inspector or by a pest control company and may also include wood destroying organisms – it depends upon state regulation.
• The purpose is to determine if there is visible evidence of wood destroying insects (termites, carpenter ants, carpenter bees, or powder post beetles).
• The inspection will include crawl space, basements, exterior and interior of home and garage.
• Inspection time can vary but usually takes less than an hour.
• If treatment has been performed in the past or the property is currently under a termite contract (bond), providing the documentation in advance to your relocation consultant is helpful.

What is a Radon Test?

• A qualified home inspector or a radon specialist may perform this type of inspection.
• The purpose is to determine if there is radon gas entering the home. And if so, to see if it is below the EPA action level for mitigation.
Radon gas is a natural element that can contribute to lung cancer.
The testing devices can be passive, such as charcoal canisters, or may be a monitor that takes continuous, hourly readings.
The test period is generally 48 hours but may be longer depending upon circumstances.
• Certain closed-house conditions need to be maintained at least 12 hours prior to and throughout the entire testing period. All windows should be closed prior to and during the process. Normal entry and exit through the doors is acceptable but should be limited. Test devices should not be moved or tampered with during the testing period. Other closed-house conditions may be required, ask your inspector for any special directions at the time the appointment is scheduled.
• The results are determined off site after the device has been removed.

What is a Well Assessment & why they test your water?

• The well assessment is a general evaluation of the above ground components of the well, such as pressure tank, gauges and actual water pressure.
• A water sample is taken and laboratory testing is performed to determine the condition of the potable water.
• A qualified home inspector, well contractor or laboratory technician may perform this type of inspection and sampling.
• If you know the location of the well, it is very helpful to make it known to the inspector during his inspection.
• Testing is typically for coliforms and nitrates but may include other tests as required by state or local regulations.
• Individual Assessments The water may be run for a 30-minute period to check well pressure and flow.
Lab results may take up to two weeks to process and a few days thereafter for report preparation.

What is a Septic System Assessment?

• A septic system is a wastewater delivery / treatment system that is generally located on the same property as the house. Most systems consist of a septic tank and a drainage field, but some might also have additional components that may need to be assessed.
• The septic assessment can be performed in one of the following manners and is determined by client request in conjunction with state or local regulations:
A Visual assessment by a home inspector will include running the water for approximately 30 minutes to watch for slow drainage. The inspector may also walk the surface of the area identified as the drainage field to look for any visible signs of effluent rising to the surface.
A Visual & Dye assessment by a home inspector is the same as a visual assessment with the introduction of dye into the system.
An Open Tank assessment is performed by a septic contractor, and may be in conjunction with a home inspector or health department official. This will generally include digging to and opening of the septic tank lid to provide access to the internal components. This may or may not include running water through the system and walking about the drainage field.
An Open Tank assessment with pumping is the same as above and it includes pumping out the contents of the septic tank.
PLEASE NOTE: When tank lid excavation, and in some cases excavation of the distribution box, is performed, care is taken to disturb the landscaping as little as possible. However, the digging site will still show signs from the soil disruption and will take time to resettle. Over-seeding and re-sodding are not included as part of the septic inspection. Plants that need to be removed in this process are generally not replaced.

What is a Structural Assessment?

• Will be performed by a licensed engineer.
• This inspection can be deemed necessary by the relocation company and/or corporate employer due to the age of a home (dependent upon program guidelines)
• Or, it may be recommended during the home inspection process if any structural components come into question.
• The evaluation may be limited in scope or could include inspection of the entire house – you should be prepared to allow access to the entire home as this will be at the discretion of the structural engineer based on the request and his visual observations.
• The final engineer’s report can take more than a week to process and become available to the relocation company.

What is a Roof Assessment?

• A qualified roofing contractor or a general contractor will perform a roof assessment.
• It is usually recommended during the home inspection process due to roofing concerns observed.
• It will include the evaluation of the exterior roof surfaces and may include the interior attic space.

What is a Plumbing Assessment?

• A qualified/licensed plumbing contractor will perform a plumbing assessment.
It is usually recommended during the home inspection process due to plumbing concerns observed.
• This evaluation will, in most cases, specifically address the item(s) recommended during the home inspection process.

What is an Electrical Assessment?

• A qualified/licensed electrical contractor performs the electrical assessment.
• It is usually recommended during the home inspection process due to electrical concerns observed which may include Federal Pacific or Zinsco panels, single strand aluminum branch wiring and knob & tube wiring.
• In most cases it will include evaluation of the electrical panel and sub-panels and may include a whole house evaluation of electrical components.

What is an HVAC Assessment?

• A qualified Heating and Air Conditioning contractor will perform an HVAC assessment.
• It is usually recommended during the home inspection process due to heating and/or air conditioning concerns.
• This evaluation will, in most cases, specifically address the item(s) recommended during the home inspection process.

What is a Basement / Crawl Space Assessment?

• A qualified moisture intrusion specialist or a general contractor will perform a basement and/or crawl space assessment.
• This type of assessment is usually recommended during the home inspection process due to moisture entry concerns found in the basement or crawl space.
• This evaluation may include both the basement and the crawl space if both exist and may include the exterior drains and grading as well.

What is a Mold Assessment?

• A mold specialist or a mold remediation contractor will perform the mold assessment.
• This is usually recommended during the home inspection process due to observation of unusual staining or suspected mold/fungi.
• The evaluation will include all areas observed and noted as suspect during the home inspection, but may include greater areas such as interior rooms, attics, crawl spaces and basements.
• This evaluation will typically include sampling of affected areas either by swab, tape lift or air sampling.
• The report can take more than a week to process and become available to the relocation company, because the laboratory analysis alone can take up to a week.


• Re-inspections may be performed at our client’s request. These may include, but are not limited to, items disclosed on the original RAL Property Assessment or Individual Assessments. Re-inspections may also be performed as a result of limitations experienced during the original assessment. It is always helpful when documentation can be provided to substantiate that qualified repairs have been performed in needed areas as disclosed in the original assessment.


Previous page: Links
Next page: RAL Electrical Position Statement