Top 5 Biggest Home Inspection Mistakes

Written by Posted On Tuesday, 11 August 2015 11:06


You found the house of your dreams. The sellers accepted your offer. Now what?! Well, the majority of homebuyers will turn to a home inspector to determine whether or not this home is, in fact, so dreamy. In most contracts, the buyers will have a certain amount of time (usually 3-7 days) to bring a home inspector into the property and negotiate the contract based on their findings. The home inspection is one of the most important steps you can take to make sure your new home is, not only a safe place for your family, but also a sound investment.  


Of course, the home inspection process can be quite stressful for buyers and sellers alike. But, as a buyer, if you do your research and hire an inspector that knows his stuff - and, read this article on the five biggest mistakes buyers make during the home inspection process - you can ultimately avoid buying a money pit.  


Mistake #1: Not having new construction inspected


The house is brand spanking new. What in the world could be wrong with it? Why would you even think of spending $400 bucks to have an Inspector inspect it? Well, because new construction may be new….but, nothing is perfect. 


Homebuyers are notorious for making the mistake of not having new construction inspected. Most assume that it must be in good shape in order to pass all local ordinances and codes. Well, unfortunately that is sometimes not the case. One inspector I have used in the past once found over 300 mistakes in a new construction home. Thank goodness the buyer still had an option to walk away.  If not, he would’ve been investing in a nightmare.


So, what am I trying to get across here? Please don't assume your builder- or the contractors – built everything right just because the home passed code. An inspector is your last line of defense against structural defects that could make your home a poor investment.


Mistake No. 2: Choosing the wrong inspector


You know that friend of your friend’s that just got his inspection license and is going to cut you a deal? Well, even I like to save a buck or two – but, when it comes to such a huge investment as purchasing a home, you need a trustworthy professional. You want to choose someone who knows what they are doing and have good reviews to back up their work.  


As a real estate agent myself, I hate to say this – but, don’t just go with your Realtor’s preferred inspector. That could start to become a conflict of interest. I recommend doing your own research. The three most well-known associations are the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) , the National Association of Home Inspectors (NAHI) and the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI).


Check out these resources when choosing the right inspector. Make sure to ask about licensing, professional affiliations and credentials, and whether or not the inspector carries errors and omissions insurance.


Mistake No. 3: Not being there for the inspection


As an agent, I have had clients that choose to shadow the inspector during the whole inspection. I don’t recommend this, because, I mean – give the man some room to do his job. But, what I do recommend, is that you meet your inspector at the property when he is finished with the inspection. This way, instead of trying to make sense of the written report you get from the inspector - you have a chance to see the issues he discovered first hand. 


From experience, I can tell you that those written reports can either make a small issue look huge, or a huge issue look small. So, make sure you are able to understand the issue clearly by seeing it with your own two eyes.


Mistake No. 4: Not taking the inspector's recommendations seriously


It is the job of the buyer’s agent to negotiate and come up with a resolution when it comes to addressing the issues found in a home inspection report. But, sometimes, some issues are swept under the rug during negotiations. In this case, buyers don't follow up on items discovered in the inspection before they close on the property.  All issues, big or small, should be taken into consideration before investing in the property.


I don’t know what was in the water, but, three of the homes I sold last year needed new roofs. We brought a certified roofing expert in who was able to get the insurance company to pay for a total roof replacement before closing. If the inspector hadn’t caught these roof issues during the inspection, then, the new owners would’ve had to come out of pocket big time.


On that note, I also recommend bringing in different experts to address specific issues found by the inspector (plumber, electrician, roofer, etc). Many of these contractors will give you a FREE inspection/estimate – sometimes all you have to do is ask. The golden rule here: it’s better to be safe than sorry.


Mistake No. 5: Expecting your inspector to have a crystal ball


There are some extremely knowledgeable and skilled inspectors out there. But, unless he has ties with Nostradamus, he can’t see the future.  Sure, an inspector can look at an aging air conditioning unit and tell you the average number of years a unit typically lasts. But, he can’t tell you an exact date when it will bite the dust.  The same goes for any other potential future issue the home may have. You know that 15 year old gas water heater that should’ve only lasted 10 years? Well, it may be all luck now, but expect to have to replace it in the new future.


So, even though a good inspector can give you an idea of what may need to be replaced, he can’t know for sure.  Make sure you take that into consideration when negotiating repairs. I’ve seen a seller replace a whole furnace unit before closing. It can happen.


 Like I tell my kids, a worry-free life is a happy life. So, eliminate some of those future worries and take care of the situation before investing.


In Conclusion: 

I know the whole house-buying process can be stressful. But, if you do it right, it can actually be fun. As I tell my clients, take advantage of those due diligence days (# of days after you’re under contract that you have to determine whether or not you want to walk away or negotiate). Bring in a trustworthy, knowledgeable home inspector and make sure to listen to him. Remember, according to the ASHI itself “…the home inspector has no vested interest in the buying process - their income is not connected to the transaction. You are paying them for an inspection, that's it. They should always be neutral.”


So, don’t stress out too much during the inspection process. Consider it a learning experience and make the best of it!



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Emily Benner - Path & Post Real Estate

Emily is a proven real estate professional with a depth of experience only surpassed by her passion to create amazing client experiences. By focusing on each client's unique needs and concerns she is able to leverage persistence, dedication, and compassion to help buyers find their path to the right home. Emily is a proactive guide along the journey and has a keen awareness of how to win the game of contracts for her clients. She is a North Atlanta resident and has a degree from Kennesaw State University. When she is not acting as a strategic guide, you can find Emily seeking a new town or campsite to explore with her two teenagers. Emily also enjoys horseback riding and supporting the communities she serves via various charities benefiting kids with cancer.

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