Inspecting the home inspection

By Erik J. Martin
CTW Features

 After the price haggling and before closing, home inspections are an essential part of the homebuying process. Here are the top 5 misconceptions. After the price haggling and before closing, home inspections are an essential part of the homebuying process. Here are the top 5 misconceptions. Considering that a home purchase is one of the biggest investments you’ll ever make, it’s smart to enlist the help of a professional home inspector prior to buying a property. However, many buyers aren’t aware of what to expect from the inspection and what to do with the results.

To separate fact from fiction, here are five major misconceptions about home inspections:

1. All home inspectors and inspections are the same: The truth is that only 35 states currently regulate the home inspection industry and require licenses, and even those that do may not require much training.

“Even in states that have licensing requirements, there is a huge variation in the type of inspection you will get from each company. And just by having a license, you are not assured of getting a thorough inspection,” says Kenneth Peter, certified home inspector and franchise owner with Pillar to Post Home Inspectors in Boulder, Colo. “Comparing home inspectors and companies can be difficult, but you must perform your own due diligence for your protection.”

2. Inspectors will find everything wrong with a property: Actually, a home inspection find major issues with major home components including the roof, structure, heating/ cooling systems, attic, electrical and plumbing. Inspectors aren’t going to scrutinize small details, like broken blinds, minor carpet stains or other cosmetic items.

“Inspectors give a quick overview of glaring faults that can easily be found. For example, if they can’t gain access to an attic at the time of inspection, they can’t find items there,” says Kurt Wannebo, CEO and broker, San Diego Real Estate and Investments, San Diego.

3. Inspectors will issue a “pass” or “fail” grade on the home: “Not true,” says Bruce McClure, home inspector and author of “Buy or Run” (Inspectors International Press, 2013). “Inspectors report on [the home’s] condition, and it’s up to the buyer to decide if they want to proceed with the sale. The inspector also shouldn’t comment on the price or recommend that the client buy or run.”

4. Inspectors will provide repairs or repair quotes: Wrong again, the experts say. “Inspectors do not do repairs and they’re not there to assess the value or cost of anything not working,” Wannebo says. Once the inspection is done, you’ll have an opportunity to renegotiate whether you want the seller to fix the problem or you want credits to repair or replace items, but the inspector does not take part in this.

5. The more you pay, the better the inspection will be: In reality, many companies and inspectors charge more than others but don’t deliver a more thorough inspection for your dollars.

“The reputation and experience level of a home inspector always determines the outcome of an inspection, not the price tag,” says Ralph LaTorraca, broker/owner of La- Torraca Realtors in Bloomfield.

Peter says these and other misconceptions persist “because people buy homes so infrequently that they don’t know or understand the process. Hiring an inspector is much more difficult than many other purchases, so you need to do your homework.”

© CTW Features

Choosing your inspector

Want to ensure that your home inspector is looking out for your best interests? Follow these tips:

 Get a referral to a reputable inspector from a trusted real estate agent or lender or your local Better Business Bureau.

 Opt for an experienced professional who belongs to the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) and/or the National Association of Home Inspectors (NAHI).

 Be sure the inspector has certification training and is licensed (in states where it’s required) and also has insurance for general liability and errors and omissions.

 Ask to see a copy of an example inspection report to make sure it covers everything that’s important to you.

 The inspection should take at least two and a half hours and yield a written, thorough report that indicates defects and recommendations and includes digital photos.

 Additionally, says Bruce McClure, home inspector and book author, “Ask yourself, ‘Is he answering all my questions? Is he explaining things clearly? Is he saying anything that doesn’t sound right, or have you seen something that you think he may be downplaying?’”