Is this a growing trend? Is there any reason to hire a home inspector? I have been seeing a rise in queries for do it yourself home inspections, and comments that home inspections are not needed.
Getting things out of the way: if you are coming to this post looking for a guide on do it yourself home inspections, you will want to read through the posts in the real estate investors category. That would be your best guide, but there are other posts on the site which can help. The real reason for this post is a “in defense of home inspection” post. You know them. Every home inspector has one on his or her site. It has been years since I have written one. Mainly because I have not encountered much of a reason to express my thoughts on the matter. Well, I guess many posts here skirt around the topic though.
I encountered a few things in this last week which have prompted me to share some of these thoughts. While going over my analytics, I discovered that some variation of “self guided home inspection” phrase was showing up as a reason for people to come to this blog. That is fine with me. I hope to demystify some aspects of the industry, while demonstrating that some knowledge may not be gained through a self guided course. When you think about it, any field requires practice, learning, and ability to master. This may be a sign of the economic uncertainty of our current market. Buyers want to make the right decision, but they wish to save money. Home inspections are not a requirement to buy a home, but they are possibly a value. I say possibly, because I know some of you may not be convinced. Hey, I want to save money as well, so I can relate.
I want to address some things that I have heard/read lately:
“Home inspectors are deal killers” I imagine if a home inspector was overly trying to impress upon his clients that his findings are serious, then yes they could be killing the deal. I always like Realtors who state that most home inspectors are deal killers, except the one that they suggest. What I find is that there are many factors causing the deal to be killed. As an example, let me mention a sale that fell through last year. I was not the home inspector, but I had a second row seat. The inspector did his job, but I did have problems with his report. One issue was the placing of prices for repairs. He included items which he thought might need to be repaired, but he was not sure, since he did not properly view it. The buyers had offered $20,000 less than the asking price. The sellers had accepted to make a quick sale. With report in hand, the buyers demanded a $30,000 price reduction. The sellers refused. The sellers began making repairs on their own (spending under $1000 to complete half the list, which according to the inspector would have cost in the area of $15,000). The home inspector played his part, but we also have the buyer, who wanted the best deal. We have the buyer’s Realtor, who did not try to make her client see reason. The seller’s Realtor went back to say that some repairs were needed, and the sellers had already come to the same conclusion. On top of the $1000, they spent an additional $2000, which completed most of the remainder of the repairs.
“Do not trust a home inspector, hire a real expert” Some variation of this line has been going around. I have noticed Realtors making it more. If you have not figured it out, a home inspector is an expert. We go through training, and we have have continuing education classes. We also keep abreast of the latest trends and findings. We must to do our job. I wish that I could let everyone listen in on my phone conversations. I am always clear as to my abilities and how I will perform my job. About a quarter of my business calls are requesting a service that I do not perform, and I tell them so. There are times when a home inspector is the expert you need, and there are times when another expert will be better for you. Home inspectors that I know are honest about their services, because it is bad business not to be.
“I do not really see a need to have a home inspection” There is no requirement that you have a home inspection. As for need, maybe you do not need a home inspection. If you are quite knowledgeable about residential construction, and you are going to check out every aspect of the home before purchasing the house, then you might not need it. To let you know, one of my recent clients was a gentleman who builds homes, so if a home builder is using a home inspector, shouldn’t you? I imagine that it comes down to a question of value, and I already wrote about that topic. Be aware that a seller cannot know everything about their home, and so they will not place everything down on the seller’s disclosure form.
I realize that a home inspection may not be in everyone’s budget. That is a more honest statement, and if you need a do it yourself home inspection, then hopefully this site will be of assistance.