Some Myths and the Facts About Home Inspections

By
Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Realty Suburban

You have found the house of your dream, placed an offer, negotiated, came to a meeting of the minds with the Sellers....now what? It is time to do inspections. Believe it or not there are Buyers who will question the importance of inspections. Yes, there is an expense associated with having inspections...there is an even bigger potential expense if you do not have inspections.

Here are the some myths and the facts according to the California Real Estate Inspectors Association (CREIA):

Myth: An inspection isn't needed as long as a qualified person tells you the condition of the property.
REALITY:A qualified professional inspector, licensed in states that require it, or otherwise certified by a respected trade group, or both, will inspect your home and report findings in a written document. A checklist of items inspected along with a narrative of his or her findings provides the best documentation. Some reports also may include an action list of items needing attention and digital photos to illustrate the findings. The report is a formal, final, and factual declaration of what was discovered about the property the day the home was inspected. The document overshadows spoken claims that come with no documentation.

Myth: A termite inspection is all you need to know about a home you're buying.
REALITY:Termite inspections, chimney inspections, structural inspections, environmental inspections and a host of others may be necessary and important to get the best inside knowledge of a home's condition, but they are not home inspections. A professional home inspection will address the overall performance of the accessible structural elements, the functionality of the major systems, and some safety aspects of a home and its various components. Herein lies another value of a home inspection. Should the inspector find evidence of termite, chimney or structural problems he will recommend an inspector qualified for the specific look-see.

Myth: You only need a general contractor to do a home inspection.
REALITY:Some states forbid general contractors from performing both home inspections and corrective home improvements on the same property because there is the potential for a conflict of interest. A general contractor certainly has the background to be a good professional home inspector, but don't confuse someone who works primarily as a general contractor with a home inspector, unless he has been licensed or trade group-certified in the home inspection field. An inspector certainly needs to know facets of the building trade, but he or she must also recognize and evaluate patterns of deterioration and wear affecting building structures and mechanics. An inspector maintains an applied knowledge of plumbing, mechanical, electrical, and fire safety issues for structures of all ages and has a general idea of building codes in effect when a particular home was built. Those aren't necessarily the callings of a general contractor.

Myth: You don't need to present at an inspection.
REALITY: Neglecting to attend a home inspection can be a big mistake, often giving rise to needless questions and misunderstandings. The best way to be informed about a house is to attend the inspection. It is also a great way to learn how to operate your systems as well as finding out about their current condition. A professional inspector will want you to be present during the inspection to familiarize you with the home's systems and point out specific conditions outlined in the report. A complete inspection report can assist buyers with future maintenance scheduling. Remember, if the inspection report contains information that is not understood, contact the inspector for further explanation.

Myth: An inspection report is a seller's repair list.
REALITY:While the seller can choose to use the inspection as a repair list, unless the buyer and seller agree to such a contingency in the contract, the seller is under no obligation to make repairs, especially if the home is sold "as-is." The only exception is when a home inspection turns up conditions law mandates must be cleared before the home is sold. The home inspection lets the buyer know what he or she is getting for the money -- before signing on the dotted line. With that knowledge, the buyer not only protects the investment, but perhaps gains some negotiating points, based on the condition of the home.

Myth: A home sold "as-is" does not need an inspection.
REALITY:If you, as the buyer, don't get an inspection, you won't know what the "as-is" is. "As-is" merely indicates the seller, within the realm of the law, has decided not to make repairs, upgrades or other improvements before selling the home. Many states require the seller to disclose known defects or other conditions that could affect the value or salability of the home, but, unless law also requires repairs, upgrades or certain code compliance before the sale of a home, or the contract stipulates such action as a contingency, the seller is under no obligation to make repairs.

Comments (2)

Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

Homefinders.com homes sold have home inspectors for the before and a warranty for the after.

I pay for them.  Everyone sleeps at night.

Nov 07, 2006 10:22 AM
Stephen Gladstone
Stonehollow Fine Home Inspections & Testing - Stamford, CT

Good job... This is very helpful and truthful.

Thank you for some excellent info and please refer your clients to get even more good stuff at:

 http://www.ashi.org/, The American Society of Home inspectors 

Your home Inspector in Ct. Steve Gladstone Stonehollow Home Inspections

See our blogs on active rain and our web at http://www.stonehollow.com/ We Speak House

Apr 27, 2007 07:57 AM