Home Inspections

Home Inspection Myths

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An estimated 70 percent of all homes sold annually receive a home inspection. Still, confusion persists over what the process does, and doesn’t, involve. Here are seven common misconceptions:

1. Licensing ensures a professional home inspection. Wrong. Currently, 29 states have some form of inspector regulation—but state requirements vary widely. Verifying the inspector’s credentials, experience, and adherence to professional standards is still important, even in a state with licensing.

2. A home inspection is designed to identify problems that might be the basis for renegotiating the purchase offer. Wrong. The inspector’s service is primarily one of education, providing buyers with a better understanding of the physical condition of the home and giving them the knowledge to make smart decisions. The inspector’s observations or recommendations might help to dispel buyer anxieties and provide useful home repair and maintenance suggestions. When areas of concern or problems are identified, the inspector should play no role in fixing them or addressing them with the seller.

3. Home inspections are needed for existing homes only. Wrong. New construction is often the most in need of a thorough inspection. Many professionals offer “phase inspections” in which the property can be checked at various stages of completion.

4. Having an appraisal, code inspection, and termite or other hazard inspection eliminates the need for a separate home inspection. Wrong. While each of these inspections is valuable, these should never be used in place of a complete home inspection. Similarly, a home inspection should never take the place of other prescribed inspections. To suggest otherwise is dangerous for your client and creates serious risk for you.

5. Home inspections are for the buyer. It’s true, most inspections are conducted on buyers’ behalf during the purchase process, but prelisting inspections for sellers also can be beneficial. Prelisting inspections can identify areas of concern to be addressed before the sale and can assist in disclosure matters. The American Society of Home Inspectors recommends that a home be inspected every 10 years, regardless of whether a sale is taking place.

6. Home inspectors are too nitpicky and will identify every little problem in the home. A professional home inspection is an objective examination of the condition of the visible and accessible components of a home on the day of the inspection. Professional home inspectors don’t point out every small problem or defect in a home. Minor or cosmetic flaws, for example, should be apparent without the aid of a professional.

7. All home inspector certification and credentialing programs are equal. Some organizations for inspectors offer credentials in return for nothing more than an annual payment, while others are new or exist mainly online. When selecting a home inspector, look at the background, history, and reputation of the person’s certifying organization.

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Questions to ASK a Home Inspector

Do you belong to a professional association?

There are many associations for home inspectors, but some groups confer questionable credentials or certifications in return for nothing more than a fee. Make sure the association your home inspector names is a reputable, nonprofit trade organization.

Also, make sure the organization complies with a well-recognized standard of practice and code of ethics, such as those adopted by the American Society of Home Inspectors or the National Association of Home Inspectors.

How experienced are you?

Ask inspectors how long they’ve been working in the field and how many inspections they’ve completed. Also ask for customer referrals. New inspectors may be highly qualified, but they should describe their training and indicate whether they work with a more experienced partner.

How do you keep your expertise up to date?

Inspectors’ commitment to continuing training is a good measure of their professionalism and service. Advanced knowledge is especially important with older homes or those with unique elements requiring additional or updated training.

Do you focus on residential inspection?

Home inspection is very different from inspecting commercial buildings or a construction site. Ask whether the inspector has experience with your type of property or feature. The inspector should be able to provide sample inspection reports for a similar property. If they recommend further evaluation from outside contractors on multiple issues, it may indicate they’re not comfortable with their own knowledge level.

Do you offer to do repairs or improvements?

Some state laws and trade associations allow the inspector to provide repair work on problems uncovered during the inspection. However, other states and associations forbid it as a conflict of interest.

How long will the inspection take?

On average, an inspector working alone inspects a typical single-family house in two to three hours; anything less may not be thorough.

How much?

Costs range from $300 to $500 but can vary dramatically depending on your region, the size and age of the house, and the scope of services. Be wary of deals that seem too good to be true.

Will I be able to attend the inspection?

The answer should be yes. A home inspection is a valuable educational opportunity for the buyer and a refusal should raise a red flag.

Home Inspection Deal-Breakers

Home inspectors are hired to perform an objective evaluation of a home's condition, but at times, their discoveries can prompt the buyer to terminate a sale contract.

Source: Dylan Chalk, owner of Seattle-based Orca Inspection Services LLC, Redfin's blog that, in his experience, the following three issues kill the most deals

Cover-ups.

The house may look great, but a deeper inspection may reveal short-cuts on repairs or renovations made by a prior home owner. These commonly occur in homes that were purchased to be flipped. "I sometimes find flips in need of structural repairs or discover chronic moisture problems that were covered up in an effort to sell the house," Chalk writes. "On the outside, everything looks new and shiny, but there may actually be deep dysfunction lurking in the bones of the house." He also finds problems with vacation homes that have been remodeled multiple times over the years. "There can be a hodgepodge of foundations, additions, and rooflines that make them fundamentally different than they appear," Chalk notes. "These are not 'bad houses,' but they are often quirky and may present risks that buyers weren't anticipating. One tip that often gives these homes away is a quirky roofline that shows obvious additions."

More repairs than anticipated.

This is a common scenario with younger homes, Chalk says. The clients may say, "It's only 20 years old!" But while most 20-year-old houses are in good shape, they often require expensive replacements for systems that last only 15 to 20 years. Systems that usually need to be replaced after 20 years are a deck, furnace, roof, and appliances. Carpets, the home's siding, and even hardwood finishes may need special attention at that point, too. The maintenance list may come as a surprise to some buyers.

The home has bad bones.

Buyers go into fixer-uppers knowing they intend to do a host of repairs, such as the furnace, kitchen, bathrooms, flooring, paint, and appliances. But buyers may not have taken into account the foundation, frame, roofline, floorplan, and drainage. A home inspection that turns up structural problems or drainage issues will add a significant amount to the buyer's budget — even pushing them out of their price range.

Conclusion: How a home inspector presents their findings is just as, if not more important than their findings.

Source: Source: http://realtormag.realtor.org/daily-news,American Society of Home Inspectors, Des Plaines, Ill., The 3 Most Common Reasons a Home Inspection Kills a Deal, Redfin Blog.