A very important point on the absolute NEED for home inspections!
We're in the middle of an economic and individual housing meltdown in this country. People are losing their homes, banks are losing their assets. To comfort the government, banks and homeowners, new appraisal regulations are being made left and right. Upgraded appraiser qualifications are being put in to place to keep honest appraisers honest, mandatory review appraisals are ordered, or two appraisals per property are what we are to expect under some loan conditions.
As an appraiser, I have had attic and crawlspace photos have been asked of me... I have even been asked to perform re-inspections for something that was noted by the home inspector.
Appraisers are not home inspectors.
These are some canned statement that I enter into each one of my appraisal reports in hopes that the underwriter and other powers-that-be might finally understand the difference:
"The appraiser is not an expert in the identification of hazardous substances or detrimental environmental conditions..... A property appraisal is a document that provides an estimate of a property's market value. Lenders require appraisals on properties prior to loan approval to ensure that the mortgage loan amount is not more than the value of the property. Appraisals are generally for clients such as lenders; home inspections are for home owners and buyers. "
When I reread these statements, however I see a flaw. Are home inspectors really there to protect just the home owners and buyers or are they there to back the validity of the value of the home that the appraiser has assigned to it?
When we purchased our first home in 1997, it was an FHA requirement to have a professional inspection done (this is no longer the case as far as I know). As first time home buyers, we also ordered a second inspection (the independent inspector came up with a few more issues than the FHA inspector did, I might add).
Even now as a real estate professional, I would never trust myself to catch all the details that a home inspector would... and you better believe I still hire home inspectors for my own assurance as well as recommend them to anyone purchasing a place whether it be a new construction or 100 years old.