“Nearly 84% of home buyers request a home inspection in their purchase contract.”
If I had to guess, I would say that the majority of those 84% were encouraged to request a home inspection by their real estate agent. And rightfully so.
The reasons for having a home inspection are numerous, but several myths have arisen over the years. My goal is to provide you with the real reasons a home inspection is a good idea, dispel the myths surrounding home inspections and provide guidance for choosing a home inspector.
8 Myths About Home Inspections
Unicorns don’t exist. Neither does perfection, most of the time. This is why home inspections exist. Check out the myths below and find out the real deal on home inspections.
- Myth: Home inspections are for buyers.
They’re important for sellers, too. The burden of cost normally falls on the buyer, but a pre-sale inspection can help minimize surprises. As a seller you should expect to do the following things when selling your home. If you think your home is in questionable condition, or even if you don’t, call an inspector and avoid scaring off potential buyers.
- Myth: A home inspector’s report is a seller’s repair list.
Buyers often see the home inspector’s report as the seller’s fix-it list. Actually, sellers are not required to repair these items, particularly if the home is listed “as is”.
The real purpose of the report is to provide you with more information about the condition of the home you wish to buy. This information can help you negotiate more favorable terms and pricing. Homes are rarely perfect, however, so choose your battles wisely during negotiations.
- Myth: A new home doesn’t need a home inspection.
News flash! New home construction can still have issues. In fact, you may not see some of these issues until years down the road. Consumer reports has done studies in the past on new homes sold and found that as many as 15% of new homes had a serious defect.
- Myth: I’ve already had an appraisal, a code inspection and a pest inspection so I don’t need another inspection.
All of the above inspections will give you insight into the condition of a home, but none of them replace the standard home inspection. A home inspection will thoroughly evaluate structural elements, major systems, safety features and other aspects that more specific inspections are likely to overlook. However, if a home inspector finds evidence of damage from pests, he can recommend a professional to take a closer look.
- Myth: All home inspectors are the same.
Not all home inspectors have the same training or experience. Make sure to find an American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) certified inspector. This is a major purchase, and you want someone with proper training and a proven track record inspecting your home.
- Myth: You don’t need a home inspection as long as a qualified person inspects the property and tells you if anything is wrong.
Realtors hear this one a lot. Some homebuyers have contractors come in and look over the property. Others have their 3rd cousin’s girlfriend’s son do the inspection because they happen to be a handyman. Many states have put the kibosh on contractors performing home inspections as it can be seen as a conflict of interest. Remember, a general contractor’s everyday job is quite different from an inspector that oversees the inspection of hundreds of homes.
- Myth: A home sold “as is” doesn’t need an inspection.
Wrong! A home being sold “as is” simply means that the seller has decided not to make any repairs or upgrades as a condition of selling the home. However, several states require sellers to disclose defects which sellers have knowledge of but do not intend to fix. Willful ignorance of such defects is not advised.
- Myth: You have to have a home inspection
If you want to be a gambler with the biggest purchase of your life, or you feel that Lady Cleo from your psychic hotline has provided you with great home inspection advice, then no, you are not required to get a home inspection. That is, unless you are planning on taking out a mortgage. Lenders may require an inspection anyway.Besides, why wouldn’t you want to know everything going on with a property you’re about to own?
What Do Most Home Inspections Cover?
Every property is different, so what is evaluated during a home inspection can vary. Ask your home inspector what their report covers. Here is a brief breakdown of the important items most inspectors will check.
- Foundation and basement
- Structural items
- Heating and cooling
- Doors and frames
- Walls floors and ceilings
- The attic
- Easy-to-see insulation
You can find a more complete standards of practice from the American Society of Home Inspectors.
How To Find a Quality Home Inspector.
Depending on your location, finding a home inspector may lead you to hundreds of sources or just one or two. Here in Sanpete County, the later is more likely.
A great place to start your search for a qualified home inspector is the ASHI. To get certified, an inspector has to pass a rigorous technical exam and complete over 250 inspections. Much like the Realtors, ASHI inspectors must follow a strict code of ethics. You can find one near you using the ASHI search page.
While others may balk at the cost of the inspections, remember they can save you tons of time and money when selling or buying a home.
Have more questions about home inspections? Contact me!
Share your home inspection nightmares and triumphs in the comments below.