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  • The 7 Things You Should Know About Home Inspections

    Wednesday, August 16, 2023   /   by Amy Brown

    The 7 Things You Should Know About Home Inspections

    Ahhhh, the home inspection...often considered by buyers as their "get out of jail free" card and guarantee that they are buying the perfectly conditioned home. But let's put the home inspection in perspective, shall we? There are several presumptions made on what home inspectors can do and we should really shed some light on that as the home inspection is never meant to be all-inclusive nor a stamp of approval.

    So, first of all, if at all possible, buyers, you are going to want to attend the last 2 hours of the home inspection yourself so that you can walk through the house with the inspector, understand the machinations of the home, and any discrepancies that he is seeing that day, in real time.

    But here is what you should expect:

    1. Follow them...but not too closely

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    Remember that the inspector is there to help you so try to give him some space to do his job. Be respectful and give him time to inspect the area so that he can answer your questions thoroughly and to the best of his knowledge.

    2. They can only inspect what they can see

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    The inspector is not allowed to take panels off of walls, pull up carpeting, or take down fixtures to inspect behind them. They have to conduct the inspection "non-invasively". They are liable for any damage done to the home so remember the inspection is limited to what they can see right in front of them.

    3. They are not inspecting the decor.

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    You may not like the paint job or tile installation but the inspector is not there to judge poor workmanship. Unless it is a functional element that could be a danger to a homeowner, it will not be included in the report and cannot be used as a bargaining chip with the seller.

    4. They can't predict the future.

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    The inspection results are really only good for that day and the inspector cannot determine if or when something may fail. In the unfortunate circumstance that you do close and for example, the HVAC breaks, that is not something that the inspector is liable for.

    5. They might recommend another or different type of inspection

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    A home inspector is a general inspector and not a specialist. If he sees a possible issue with the foundation, electrical, plumbing, etc. he will recommend that a specialized inspection be performed. At that time, it is up to the buyer whether they choose to order that or not. 

    6. Things sound so much worse than they actually are.

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    A common term in an inspection report is that an item is at the "end of its useful life". This does not indicate a defcon 1 status of emergency that the item MUST be replaced yesterday. It simply means that it's old and approaching the end of working capacity. It probably works just fine today and has in the past and you might be hard pressed to find a seller to agree to replacement.

    7. The report is not meant to be a "laundry list".

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    A home inspector is going to list every single tiny item that they come across that is considered a discrepancy down to missing screws in the electrical box and that pesky anti-tilt bracket on the back of the range. If you go to the seller with a list of every tiny handyman item that needs to be fixed, you are liable to turn them off to any assistance completely and not get them to agree on the major items that are the real concern. Realize that you are buying a "used" product and that certain things are best left to DIY or your neighborhood handyman. Only concern yourself with asking for the big stuff.

    Have a great day everyone!