In the field of home inspection, the inspector first learns about a house from a client or a referring real estate agent. Sometimes, the inspector will be directed to the MLS listing which, generally, is fairly accurate. However, under no circumstances should anyone, especially the inspector, ever depend on the MLS listing or the agent description. Here are only a few things that I have found on inspections that seriously varied from the real estate information that was provided to me.
Age of the house, per the county assessor, was a dozen years older than the MLS data
Single pane windows were advertised as thermal pane windows
Siding was promoted as being cement-based when, in fact, it was an OSB that was subject to a class-action lawsuit
Flooring was listed as being hardwood when, in fact, it was a cheesy plastic looking laminate product
New roof, per listing, was new but installed in a horrendous manner
Completely new wiring and panel, per ad, actually included 50% knob and tube circuits
New plumbing system, per flyer, included partially concealed galvanized piping
The worst: House listed as stick-built was actually a manufactured home and it had the state mobile home fleet registration sticker on it by the front door
And here is one of the most common mistakes, photo below:
The house was listed as having a full basement. Hmmm, so what is that funny little access door at the end of the place? Let's open it up and take a look.
Hmmm, that is one pretty low basement. You have to get on your belly and crawl into it. Gee, it looks like a crawl space to me. Missing a crawl space, simply because you believed someone who said there was a full basement, can be costly to the inspector's pocket book and his or her reputation. In the field of home inspection, taking someone's word for anything, even when the words are well-intentioned, can be a huge risk.
Inspection credo: Believe little of what you are told, assume nothing, and keep your eyes and ears open all the time! Mistakes can bite!