Home Inspectors – Could You Please Use Words Like Collapse, Major, and Violation Carefully?

Real Estate Broker/Owner with KGC Properties LLC, Tucson Property Management & Real Estate

Over the years, I have come across terrific home inspectors and then some not so terrific.  Receiving an inspection repair request, the Buyer agent said, “This is the 4th inspection that has scared my Buyers – I hope it works out.”

You hope?  Get a new inspector then is my first thought.  My second was the same after I read the first page of the report.   The inspector wrote, “This home has many safety and code violations that are of major concern.  Immediate repair needed or reconsider the purchase.”  Really. 

The choice of words people use can make a difference in any situation.  With that said, what did this home inspector point out as major?

GFI outlets.   I guarantee every home inspection report on a home that wasn’t built recently – will point out lack of GFI outlets.  Not all homes built many years ago meet today's requirements.  Some homeowners have upgraded as they upgrade appliances, etc., others do not.

HVAC/Swamp Cooling/Furnace.  A missing damper plate, loose vent tape, or dirty filters, does not mean the entire unit will fail to operate or needs replacing. There is a difference between major and minor issues – even when it comes to HVAC systems.   

The Roof.  Roofs are always a major concern.  Rightfully so.  Especially in Arizona where flat roofs are common.   But there is a difference between a roof that needs repair, a roof that is 10 years old and one that needs replacing.  If you own a home long enough – you will pass through all phases of roof evolution at some point.  On this home, a 2-foot section of the roof over the garage was disclosed as damaged and repaired. The inspector noted the repair, then went on to write, “The repair needs more evaluation or the roof may collapse.”  Collapse is a huge word to use. The word “may” was used – but it’s smaller than the word “collapse”.

I am not saying not to take inspections seriously.  And I am not saying these issues above could not turn into major ones - anything minor can turn major if neglected.  

What I am saying is, protecting a Buyer is priority. Even if it means protecting them from not so terrific home inspectors.    

Posted by

Buying or selling Tucson real estate, Mt Lemmon, Tucson bank-owned homes, Tucson rental homes, or Tucson lease option homes? Visit www.KGCPropertiesLLC.com .



This blog is written with my opinions and my opinions are  presented with accuracy but not guarantees. Please talk to a professional before making any real estate, financial or agency decisions.    Gabrielle Kamahele Rhind - 2014. If you want to reprint parts of this - just email me for my permission: KGCProperties@gmail.com .


Comments (7)

Fred Hernden, CMI
Superior Home Inspections - Greater Albuquerque Area - Albuquerque, NM
Albuquerque area Master Inspector

The inspectors job is to not give his opinions as to whether to purchase the home or not. It is to merely make observations and point them out in his report. The decision to buy or not to buy is up to the Client/Buyer. I am surprised that inspector felt the need to inject his opinion like that. They are trained to not kill deals. I would suggest that you find yourself a good, educated, experienced, certified, licensed inspector and use him all the time.

Mar 09, 2012 09:53 PM
Carol Zingone
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Florida Network Realty - Jacksonville Beach, FL
Global Realtor in Jax Beach, FL - ABR, CRS, CIPS

Gabrielle - good post. Many inspectors use CYA language designed to protect them, and that may well lead a buyer into thinking the roof will indeed collapse.

Mar 09, 2012 09:56 PM
Cara Marcelle Mancuso
Golden Girls with SW Desert Homes - Tucson, AZ
Call a Marana neighbor, I'm THERE!

I hate it when my buyers take the home inspection report and use it as a to-do list, even when it's been explained over and over that warranty violations, termites, roof, and perhaps safety concerns are some MAJOR concerns.  I wish home inspectors did a better job of explaining that a 1960 home is not going to come with grounded three-prong outlets and if it's really a concern, run your vacuum cleaner from the GFIC plugs in the kitchen or bathrooms!  OK, I'm over-reacting here, but I will say I work with a few inspectors on my team, and recommend different types for different personalities. It can make or break a transaction.

Mar 09, 2012 11:53 PM
Harry F. D'Elia III
RentVest - Phoenix, AZ
Investor , Mentor, GRI, Radio, CIPS, REOs, ABR

They always put in water damage when it has been fixed a long time ago. We have to decipher the CYA language at times.

Mar 10, 2012 02:39 AM
James Dray
Fathom Realty - Bentonville, AR
Exceptional Agents, Outstanding Results

Each business has their own set of rules they live by.  What is considered major to one person is minor to another.  Sounds like double talk?  Exactly :~)

Mar 10, 2012 08:57 PM
MC2 Home Inspections
MC2 Home Inspections LLC - Indianapolis, IN
Indianapolis home inspection service 317-605-3432

So let me understand this post correctly. The home has had 4 failed home inspections and you are looking for a home inspector to go in there and sugarcoat his findings with "less alarming" words to make the home sound better than it really is? That doesn't exactly sound like someone who is looking out for the best interest of their clients. 

Maybe, just maybe, it is the home itself that is the problem and not the home inspectors that have inspected it?

Mar 10, 2012 09:30 PM
Gabrielle Kamahele Rhind
KGC Properties LLC, Tucson Property Management & Real Estate - Tucson, AZ

HI MC2 INSPECTIONS!  No. This home, which I have listed, hasn't failed four inspections.  The Buyer who made on offer on this home, has made offers on four other homes and used the same inspector for each - and according to the Buyer agent, has resulted in the Buyer canceling the contract.  I am representing the Seller in this one - not the Buyer.  Again, this is a good example of how choice of words and misinterpreting things can lead to issues.  

HI JAMES!  They do - but every home is going to have some issues - and by the same token, minor issues shouldn't be made to sound major.  More double talk right??!!

HI HARRY!  Water damage is another one that is always pointed out!

HI CARA!  Ugh - that To Do list - I hear ya!  And when an agent allows it is even more frustrating.  I often see Buyers lose out on the more important repairs because the Seller does 50 small things and says forget it to the things a buyer really wanted.

HI CAROL!  It's happened - and it's hard to tell a Buyer that a roof won't collapse just because a basketball hoop fell on it.  BUt - it's up to the Buyer!

HI FRED!  I agree - I was surprised to see the inspectors opinion.  But I have seen this individuals reports before and he is very graphic about his opinion to Buyers about whether they should buy it or not. Not sure that's a good idea to do - but - it's his business!

Mar 10, 2012 10:15 PM