With apologies to all home inspectors everywhere, let me tell you some of the most memorable things I've ever heard at a home inspection.
- "Margaret only sells GREAT homes, so I love it when I see her name on an inspection request" What real estate agent wouldn't recommend a home inspector who always says this to his/her clients?
I think ALL home inspectors should be trained to include this in their script, don't you?
- "Let's go over some paperwork before we get started." These are the first words spoken by some home inspectors as they hand my clients a clipboard with disclosures, disclaimers and the bill.
Let me just say that it's not very reassuring for a nervous first-time home buyer to know EXACTLY where the inspector's priorities will be for the next hour or two - i.e., covering his/her ass in case of a mistake.
Would it be too inconvenient for home inspectors to say "Hello, nice to meet you ... here's what we'll be doing for the next hour or two..." BEFORE handing my clients your clipboard?
- "I will examine every major system and structural element closely." I guess it's all a matter of interpretation, and he didn't mean to imply that "close" means "close" since he's looking at the roof through binoculars from across the street.
Not all home inspectors do this, of course, but it happens too often.
- "I'll be pointing out my observations about the property." Let's remember the purpose of the home inspection, shall we? Accurate information and peace of mind for my buyers.
I'll never forget the home inspector who pointed out that interior door knobs throughout the house were an inch lower than regulation. Rather than ask if this bothered them (probably not), he went on to say the only way to correct this will be to replace every door in the house - and this will be very expensive.
He's no longer in the home inspection business.
- "I conducted a termite inspection, and they're all very well-fed. Unfortunately, that means we have some serious structural problems with the house."
A bit of humor during a home inspection is fine, but please don't make light of a major home inspection issue! State the problem and recommend the buyers have a contractor provide an estimate for repairs. Period.
One of the most memorable things I've heard at a home inspection actually came from a child accompanying his parents. As the home inspector pushed the test button on a smoke detector, he asked the boy what that sound means. The boy replied, without a moment of hestitation, "That means dinner is ready!"
I don't know which was funnier... the inspector's facial expression or the outcry from my clients. It still makes me laugh, and my favorite home inspector often repeats this story.
There's no such thing as a perfect house, and a home inspection is a necessary step in any home purchase. It protects the buyers from hidden defects and and helps prepare them for the role of home owner. Sellers benefit from a home inspection, as well, because it gives the buyers peace of mind. Most home sellers aren't aware of any dangerous defects, but correcting any identified by the home inspector will help sellers avoid future liabilities.
There's never a dull day in real estate, especially when a home inspection is scheduled!