Why does my Real Estate Agent Insist on Getting a Home Inspection?

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Because, a home inspection is one of the best consumer protection services available. With a detailed home inspection, you will know what you are buying, before you buy it. And that could save you thousands of dollars and years of regret. Home inspectors have attained wide-range acceptance as a distinct and essential profession providing the service of inspecting and disclosing property defects. To those who approach real estate with the old 'as-is' mind-set, the advantages of home inspections are not immediately apparent. But make no mistake; a thorough home inspection can minimize your risk of costly discoveries made after the close of escrow.

Every home, regardless of age or quality, has flaws and defective conditions. The list of defects can be small, medium, or large. A large list of small problems can be as contentious as a small list of big problems. Some issues are obvious, while others are only apparent to those who know how and where to look. When you hire an experienced, qualified home inspector, there is no question as to whether unknown defects will be found; but rather what, where, and how serious, dangerous, or how expensive the defects will turn out to be.

Even new homes are not immune from defects or exempt from human error. Mistakes happen. Quality is often sacrificed for saving time or money or is a result of contractors with poor skills. Don’t be fooled that a new home is flawless, simply because it is new, or was inspected and approved by the local building officials. This unfortunate myth is often busted. Even when the builder warrants the work for one full year, such guaranties are of no benefit unless inherent defects are discovered.

As a homebuyer, after sorting through dozens of homes, often an offer is made after they spend fifteen minutes to an hour walking through a home. This quick viewing, at best, provides a general impression of the overall physical condition of the property, but what about the roof, electrical, mechanical and structural condition of the home? These are just a few of the hundreds of considerations included in a home inspection. Construction defects and safety violations are surprisingly common, but the majority of home inspection findings tend to be routine in nature. Some, in fact, rear their unsightly heads as often as the sun rises; not just in older homes, but often in brand new ones, even before the smell of new paint has waned. While it is impossible to list everything an inspector could possibly check for, the following list will give you a general idea of what to expect. The most common defects are:

  • Roofing Defects; Ceiling Stains, Indicating Past or Current Roof Leaks; Water Intrusion

  • Electrical Safety Hazards; Faulty Installation, Building Violations

  • Hazardous Conditions Involving Gas Heaters

  • Violations In Garages

  • Minor plumbing defects

  • Failed seals around windows

  • Sewer Line damage

  • Elevated levels of Radon Gas

This small list of likely home inspection findings would probably occur in most used homes. A really great inspector will also tell you about routine maintenance that should be performed, which can be a great help if you are a first-time homebuyer or as seasoned homeowner.

Keep in mind, a home inspection is limited to conditions that are visually discernible. Specifically excluded from an inspection are conditions which are concealed from view, such as items contained within walls, ceilings, and floors, or which are buried beneath the ground or behind furniture, storage or homeowner possessions. According to ASHI and NACHI standards, inspectors are not required to perform dismantling of construction, move storage or possessions to discover conditions that are not normally visible. Most inspectors are careful to define the scope and limitations of their inspections. These parameters are generally outlined in either the contract or the report or both.

So what happens after the Home Inspection?

Often negotiation of the inspection objection items take longer than negotiating the price of the home. Many home buyers are under the impression that the sellers must repair the problems discovered by home inspectors? This is a common misunderstanding about the purpose of a home inspection. The purpose of a home inspection is not to corner the seller with a repair list or renegotiate the selling price. The primary objective is to know what you are buying before you buy it. All homes have defects; it's not possible to acquire one that is perfect. What you want is a working knowledge of significant defects before you move forward with the transaction. Prior to making any demands of the seller, try to evaluate the inspection report with an eye toward problems of greatest significance. Look for conditions which compromise health and safety or involve structural concerns. If the house is not brand new, it is unreasonable to boldly insist upon correction of all defects. People often view an inspection report as a mandatory repair list for the seller. The fact is sellers are not required to produce a flawless house. They have no such obligation by law or by contract. Similarly, the buyer of a used car would not require the seller to paint it, replace the tires and rebuild the motor.

Clearly, your agent understands this process and the importance of equipping you to make an informed purchase decision. Be thankful that your agent is working to protect your financial interests. The cost of an inspection is incidental when compared to the price of a new home. Its value is greatly exceeds the cost. A qualified home inspector will most assuredly find items that need repair. Better to have knowledge now than to discover problems later. Your best advice is to take nothing for granted. Listen to your agent and hire a qualified professional for your home inspection services. Don't skip this important step in the home-buying process - it's worth every penny.