Share this Article

Five Things You Should Know About Home Inspections

Written by on Wednesday, 21 May 2014 12:29 pm
 PRINT  |   EMAIL

If you're hiring someone to inspect the home you want to buy, or you're a seller trying to find out if there are any hidden problems that need fixing before you put your home on the market, here are five things you need to know:

1. You can choose your home inspector.

Your real estate professional can recommend an inspector, or you can find one on your own. Members of the National Association of Home Inspectors, Inc. (NAHI), must complete an approved home inspector training program, demonstrate experience and competence as a home inspector, complete a written exam, and adhere to the NAHI Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics.

2. Home inspections are intended to point out adverse conditions, not cosmetic flaws.

You should attend the inspection and follow the inspector throughout the inspection so you can learn what's important and what's not. No house is perfect and an inspection on any home is bound to uncover faults. A home inspector will point out conditions that need repair and/or potential safety-related concerns relating to the home. They won't comment on cosmetic items if they don't impair the integrity of the home. They also do not do destructive testing.

3. Home inspection reports include only the basics.

A home inspector considers hundreds of items during an average inspection. The home inspection should include the home's exterior, steps, porches, decks, chimneys, roof, windows, and doors. Inside, they will look at attics, electrical components, plumbing, central heating and air conditioning, basement/crawlspaces, and garages.

They report on the working order of items such as faucets to see if they leak, or garage doors to see if they close properly. Inspectors may point out termite damage and suggest that you get a separate pest inspection. The final written report should be concise and easy to understand.

4. Home inspectors work for the party who is paying the fee.

The NAHI Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics clearly state that members act as an unbiased third party to the real estate transaction and "will discharge the Inspector's duties with integrity and fidelity to the client." A reputable home inspector will not conduct a home inspection or prepare a home inspection report if his or her fee is contingent on untruthful conclusions.

The inspector should maintain client confidentiality and keep all report findings private, unless required by court order. That means it is your choice whether or not to share the report with others. If you're a seller, you don't have to disclose the report to buyers, but you must disclose any failure in the systems or integrity of your home.

5. Inspectors are not responsible for the condition of the home.

Inspectors don't go behind walls or under flooring, so it's possible that a serious problem can be overlooked. Keep in mind that inspectors are not party to the sales transaction, so if you buy a home where an expensive problem surfaces after the sale, you won't be able to make the inspector liable or get the inspector to pay for the damage. In fact, you may not be entitled to any compensation beyond the cost of the inspection.

As a buyer, you need the home inspection to decide if the home is in condition that you can tolerate. You can use the report to show the seller the need for a certain repair or negotiate a better price. You can also take the report to a contractor and use it to make repairs or to remodel a section of the home.

One thing you should not do when buying a home is skip having the home inspected because of cost or undue pressure by the seller. A home inspection is reasonable, it can save you money in the long run, and it's required by many lenders, particularly for FHA loans. There's a reason why buyers should beware, and a home inspection gives you the information you need to make a sound buying decision.

Rate this item
(8 votes)

  About the author, Blanche Evans

6 comments

  • Comment Link Stacy Tuesday, 15 July 2014 9:01 am posted by Stacy

    There is great variety among the expertise of home inspectors. I've been a buyer and a seller multiple times, and it's very frustrating as a seller when an inspector makes comments about cosmetic issues and then the buyer wants them fixed. In my current home, the inspector said that any nail holes from pictures on the wall should be filled in, and the buyer asked for that in his repair request! Completely out of line, and that simply created problems when it should never have been mentioned at all. I realize inspectors feel the need to point out something to earn their fee, but when a house is practically perfect due to the diligence of the home owner, don't go looking for stupid stuff like "patch nail holes prior to closing."

    Report
  • Comment Link Bill Friend Saturday, 21 June 2014 10:23 pm posted by Bill Friend

    Finding a home inspector with years of practical experience and good communication skills trumps hiring someone who has had hardly any real world experience and has simply taken a "Home Inspector" training course. How do you know? Do your homework. Call and talk to the inspector, ask for references, ask how long they have been in business, how many inspections they have performed, how long it takes and what they look for. Have they ever been involved in a lawsuit? The reality is, most of the calls I have had start out and sometimes end with, "How much do you charge?" They don't ask any other questions. Do people think all inspectors are created equal? You better think again.

    Report
  • Comment Link Frank Newman, certified InterNACHI home inspector Saturday, 21 June 2014 7:07 pm posted by Frank Newman, certified InterNACHI home inspector

    The points are generally right on- other than the ads for NAHI. Home buyers should know that there are other very good organizations that train and recommend home inspectors.

    Report
  • Comment Link Kevin Friday, 30 May 2014 6:46 am posted by Kevin

    I will side with Kelly! Blanche needs to check her facts. I am also a licensed Agent, as well as a Realtor, full time for the last 10 years. Lenders DO NOT require home inspections, nor do they care to see them, generally speaking. Lenders DO however require appraisals. Regardless, the more you provide them (in terms of a home inspection), the more potential problems you can create. If you choose to do a home inspection as a buyer, you are NOT required to share this information with your lender in most cases. If you do, you are simply asking for trouble from a financial/lending aspect!

    Report
  • Comment Link Kelly Thursday, 22 May 2014 10:26 pm posted by Kelly

    Blanche should check her facts. Lenders do NOT require Home Inspections and in fact most lenders want no part of knowing what was found during the inspection. Sending an inspection report on to a lender can result in major problems with the loan process.

    I am currently licensed as a Realtor (since 2007) and also a mortgage loan originator (since 1989).

    Report
  • Comment Link Andrew Show Thursday, 22 May 2014 10:58 am posted by Andrew Show

    Blanche makes excellent points for home buyers. Always insist on an inspection as a contingency of the purchase offer and be sure to include "pest" and "radon" as crucial parts of the inspection if you live in areas that have those issues. Note that radon inspections are often downplayed by sellers agents and even many buyer agents.

    Report
Individual news stories are based upon the opinions of the writer and does not reflect the opinion of Realty Times.
Start Growing Loyal Leads!