Are you preparing to purchase a home? You will want to have it seen by a professional. New homes too!
Here are 7 truths about the home inspection process that will leave you with sound advice – trust me – my reputation is built on offering sound advice.
Inspectors are only as good as the last man (or woman) in. AKA – “The home inspector should have caught that”.
Sometimes it will not matter how much experience the inspector has or how many credentials hang on the office wall. The moment you hire someone to work on your home you will be told that the issue you’ve hired them to repair is/was preexisting and that the home inspector should-a, would-a, could-a.
Truth: Most repair persons do not respect home inspector opinions.
What you see is not always what you get. Most sellers want you to know that they are proud of their home. Pride of homeownership is one of the keys to living the American dream. However, by the time an inspector sees the property the cracks have been caulked, the roof has been patched and the cooling system will freeze you out of the house! After you have purchased your home, be prepared. At some point along the way, you will find cracks, your roof could begin leaking and the A/C system will need servicing. That is one of the realities of homeownership and home inspectors cannot prevent it.
Truth: An inspection does not mean you may forego home maintenance.
They have a license to steal. You have heard it before – “Gosh, they’ve got a license to steal”! You’ll most likely have that feeling after you’ve been “sold” a line of smoke and mirror tactics that have “little-to-nothing” to do with investigating and/or rendering an opinion about the conditions of your property. A prime example is a home inspection service who offers a 90 Day Warranty. This product is usually prefaced by claims that you will be 100%, 110% or even 200% satisfied with the inspection service. Read the details. Most 90-day warranties begin the day of the inspection, often have hidden deductibles and, as coverage begins, you do not own the home yet. In some cases, it can take 30 to 60 days before you take possession. They also have limits of around $500 for items such as Heating adn Air which costs far more. And they are not FREE as advertised, either the Inspector is selling your private information to the company providing the warranty, or they have built their cost into the inspection fee. Do the math.
Truth: Do not be duped by flash and dash – if it is too good to be true, it most likely is.
There is not a crystal ball. If you speak with an inspector who tells you, without hesitancy, that the roof will not leak, the walls will not crack, the drain will not clog, etc. etc., you should be concerned. Home inspectors cannot predict outcomes and you will reinforce the opinion they have a license to steal (see above).
Truth: Inspectors cannot predict the future.
You came recommended. Who says? Inspector recommendations are a hot topic within the real estate industry and have been written and talked about for years.
#1) It is not wise to hire your inspector based on price.
#2) Be careful hiring the inspector as a real estate agent’s recommendation, see if they are a good fit for you. And yes, that includes us! Call us, interview us, talk to us, explore our website, our Facebook, and our reviews. Make sure you ask what they bring to table that’s different than other inspection companies. Do they have a continuing education program in-house? Do they a have Quality Control and Improvement program they follow? Do they have a Radon Quality Assurance Program in place that describes their annual calibration and monitoring process for their equipment? All certified Radon Measurement Technicians are required as part of their certification to have this plan in place. Ask for it. We will be happy to email you ours.
#3) How do they respond to complaints? Are they a full time Inspector? How many Inspectors do they have? How many inspections have they completed? Are they a member of professional organizations? Do they have an office location?
#4) Are they insured? Did you know South Carolina does not require Home Inspectors to have insurance.
Most agents have been legally advised to offer you three or more inspector names/companies. They may not offer three or more mortgage lenders, closing attorneys, and may not offer three or more warranty companies, or a host of other professionals.
An inspector is hired to evaluate the home’s conditions and his findings can seriously alter the outcome of a purchase. Most home purchase contracts include certain contractual contingencies. An example would be that you must financially qualify for the home. Another common condition, called the home inspection contingency, states that you are satisfied with the physical condition of the home at the time of the contract. The buyer will be required to address many concerns prior to closing on the home.
Truth: This is a huge purchase – do not cut corners, interview the inspector and hire a trusted professional. Is this really the time to save $25 dollars?
Out of sight, out of mind. There is no possible way (unless the inspector has a habit of jumping into phone booths and flying with a cape) that your inspector will have x-ray vision. If the seller (or the home he/she lives in) has limited the physical access to rooms, the attic, the crawl space or/and other areas of the home it will be impossible to render an opinion. Look for comments in the report that reflect limited or no access. If you do not see these notes – well, what else has been left out of the report?
Truth: It is wise to ask plenty of questions about the house.
You did read the entire report, right? Once the inspector is finished, it would not be wise to just flip to the summary and “hit the high spots”. Read the entire report. All of it. Often there’s value in the body of the report. Look for notes on maintenance, care and safety information.
You paid for a comprehensive report – if you do not get one, well…you should have gotten one.
Truth: It is wise to ask plenty of questions about the report.
The Takeaway: Look for an experienced home inspector who has plenty of testimonials and a reputation of offering sound advice. Interview the inspector – check with past clients and do not hire based on inappropriate ethics, discounted services and gimmicks. When the smoke clears – you could regret your choice…and that is the truth!