A home inspection is a process where an individual, with the right training and certification, carries out an inspection of a house. A home inspector will thoroughly evaluate the home to ensure potential homeowners or homesellers know if there are any faults with the physical structure of the home, including the roof and foundation, or any malfunctions of home's operating systems, including pipes, electrical work, HVAC systems, etc. After an inspection is conducted, the inspector prepares a report of their findings and provides this to their client. After gathering the reports, the owner can consider getting it fixed or repaired depending on the findings.
Very often people confuse home inspectors with real estate appraisers. These are two separate jobs with their own set of rules. Real estate appraisers determine the value of a property. Furthermore, real estate inspectors are not responsible for verifying different compliances and codes. Other errors that come about are, the level of detail an inspection or report should contain, or, a crossover between the different reasons why an inspection is being conducted.
To help avoid some basic errors that could prove to be costly, here’s a list of the most common mistakes people make when they are hiring a home inspector.
1. Buyers, believing that the home is perfect. Most buyers have only seen the home for a limited time. The house may have been staged or at least cleaned and presented for sale and so looks its best when the buyers see it. They love what they see and have decided that it is the perfect house for them. It’s like meeting a person for the first time and basing the relationship on the first impression.
You can’t expect the house to be perfect. None are, not even newly built homes. So when the home inspector finds flaws during the inspection, it comes as a shock to buyers who are expecting perfection. We try to put our findings into the right context, so a buyer understands that a home of a certain age should be expected to have some wear and tear. Even new homes can have some flaws because building a home is a complicated, messy process with a lot of hands involved. However, everything, even the large ticket items, can be fixed. The buyer should take all the information available into account during their negotiation process. That’s the main reason why you get a home inspection, isn't it?
2. Sellers believing their home is perfect. It’s hard for sellers to look at their house objectively. They have an emotional attachment to their home. The little flaws have become part of their life, and they don’t see them the way buyers or an inspector does. So when they hear criticism of their home they can, sometimes, take it personally.
Sellers (and buyers) should understand that buildings deteriorate over time. All building materials suffer wear and tear and have a limited lifespan. When you live with it day after day, you don’t notice the changes. House components need maintenance and eventually repair or replacement. It’s all part of owning a home.
So when someone points out something that you might not have noticed or thought was significant, understand that it’s not a criticism of the occupant. It’s just part of the overall assessment of the condition of the property.
We try to point out positive features of the properties we inspect as well so that we present a balanced view. But some sellers might not hear all of this and will only hear the negatives. Don’t take it personally.
3. Buyers not attending the inspection. A home inspection is an opportunity for the buyers to get a better understanding of the details and condition of the home they’re buying. When you’re spending as much money as homes cost today, why would you skip the opportunity to learn more about what you're investing in? I don’t quite understand why buyers skip attending the inspection. I know people are busy and have commitments, but there is almost nothing that will impact your life more than purchasing a home. Putting the time and effort into making sure the investment is a good one is worth every minute. Not only will it give you a better understanding of the condition of the home, but your inspector will usually provide information on how to maintain or repair items that could help make components last longer or more efficiently and save you money in the long run.
4. Shopping for the cheapest inspection. The old axiom, ‘You get what you pay for’ applies here. When you’re spending half a million dollars or more on a home, do you really want to have your inspection done by someone who will save you twenty-five or fifty bucks? Really? Shop around for an inspector, but money shouldn’t be what makes the decision for you. Look for qualifications and dedication. Look for someone who treats your home inspection like it’s the most important thing they’re doing that day because it is the most important thing you’re doing that day.
5. Clients not reading the inspection report. There’s a lot of information delivered during an inspection, and it’s almost impossible for the client to remember everything the inspector said. While not everything said will be in the report, the essential items will be and it’s vital for the client to read it all. It’s best, if the client is a buyer, for the client to:
a) Read the report before completing negotiations or waiving the inspection condition on the offer to purchase. When you complete this stage of the purchase, your purchase is complete so you want to be sure you know what you’re agreeing to. It's best to be sure you are clear on all the information available to you.
b) Re-read the report when you take possession of the property as a reminder of issues that should have been addressed and things that may need attention going forward. There may also be some information on the operation of certain items that could be useful.
c) Refer back to the report when issues pop up or you’re performing maintenance on the home. There could be information that will guide you on how to deal with components or issues on an ongoing basis.
d) If, after living in the home for a while, you find something that you think your inspector should have found, re-read the report. It’s not uncommon for clients to complain about something their inspector “missed”, when in fact the inspector identified it and included it in the report. It’s easy to forget everything said during the inspection. If you need more information about the issue, contact your inspector and ask for more information or advice on dealing with an issue.
6. Buyers of new homes not having a home inspection. As mentioned earlier, building a new home is a complicated and sometimes messy process. Municipal inspectors are not on site very often and can’t watch everything. In fact, the building company is not always on site when the subcontractors are working. No one is in complete control of the process. So, despite all the best intentions, no house is built perfectly. Home Inspectors always find issues.
Once again, with an investment as large as purchasing a house, it’s worth the time and money to get a home inspection. Not only will the inspector have a chance to assess the building, but the buyer can learn about the components of the home and how best to operate and maintain the property.
The best time to have the inspection is as soon as possible (days not weeks) after you take possession. That way any flaws or issues that are identified are more easily attributed to the builder and not blamed on the homeowner.
To avoid these and other mistakes, reach out to the experts at GoldEye Home Inspection. We are home inspectors in Guelph providing property and home inspection services in Kitchener, Waterloo, Burlington, Hamilton, Brantford, Cambridge, and Milton. We provide you with the information you need to make an informed decision about the property being inspected in a clear, concise, and professional manner. We deliver an oral report on site and a detailed, electronic report to all customers following the inspection. For a complete list of services, please click here. If you have any questions about home inspection, we’d love to hear from you. Please contact us here.