I just read a home inspector's blog asking "What is nitpicky?" and thought the answer deserves a blog entry of its own:
- Being nitpicky has nothing to do with the actual documentation of the condition of the property—it is what it is. it has more to do with how that condition is reported in writing, and the bedside manner of the home inspector.
I use my home inspector because he's educational and extremely knowledgeable yet has a great bedside manner, which is very important to first-time home buyers (FTHB). Even the FTHB will think that a missing screw or a pointed screw at the electric panel is too nitpicky until one educates them about the possible ramifications relating to one of the four D's: disability, death, damage, or destruction. One of the inspectors for the buyers on one of my listings produced a report that went like that:
- crack in window in living room
- drawer stops missing in kitchen
- door knob loose at front entrance
- Zinsco electric panel present
- sink clogged in bathroom one
- stopper missing in bathtub in bathroom two and at all sinks
- stucco cracks in exterior walls
- trees too close to roof and siding
- negative grading at rear
That's all well and good, but I'm a Realtor and don't want to pretend to be a home inspector by interpreting home inspection reports. I understand documenting the condition of the property, but I would have liked it if he could have educated those buyers about what those conditions meant. When that particular home inspector gave a report to the buyers with 72 items like that, they moved on to a different house. I, of course, knew what all of those meant, but is the buyer going to listen to the listing agent? Probably not.
I have access to over 100 home inspection reports from different companies, although half of them are no longer in business. When a Client wants to use someone other than my recommendation, I simply pull out a copy of the reports for my preferred inspector and for their choice. Invariably they thank me for my guidance and choose my preferred inspector.
See my blog entry from a couple of weeks ago about why I refer one inspector only, and only one.
In conclusion, I'll repeat
- Being nitpicky has nothing to do with the actual documentation of the condition of the property-it is what it is. it has more to do with how that condition is reported in writing, and the bedside manner of the home inspector.
There's only so much land on Earth, so even if the property is a haunted house, there will be someone willing to buy it.
Home inspectors should refrain from commenting, "Why are you buying this?" or "You should run from this house" and similar comments. There is just no way that a home inspector, after spending just a few hours with the buyer, could possibly know why they are buying a property.
I'll come to home inspectors defense with that same statement, though. There is just no way that a home inspector, after spending just a few hours with the buyer, could possibly know enough about the buyer to know exactly what to put into a home inspection report that would cause the buyer to cancel the transaction. Only the buyer knows why s/he is canceling the transaction, and sometimes it's not even related to the home inspection report.
I have met many home inspectors who believe that they are God's gift to the real estate transaction, and they act that way, too. Fortunately, in this market, about 75% of them are already out of business. No wonder.
Fortunately for all concerned, the quality and choices of home inspection software for home inspectors is getting much better, but there are still those home inspectors here in my area who use the checklist carbon report, and sometimes it is virtual he!! to try to decipher their handwriting, especially if one is "lucky enough" to get that fourth carbon copy and needs to read something off of it six months down the road (enter sarcasm emoticon-we need emoticons, ActiveRain!).
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