A vital step taken before purchasing (or selling) a home is a home inspection, wherein a professional will check for common problems in order to help determine the value of your home. This can give you a heads-up regarding necessary repairs that you’ll want to do before moving in (or renting out, as the case may be).
However, there’s a lot of confusion regarding the details of a home inspection. Often, it’s easy for home buyers to misunderstand the purpose and limitations of a home inspection, which can lead to faulty purchasing decisions. Here are some important things to know regarding a home inspection:
1: It’s Not a Guarantee
Although a home inspector will raise a flag for many possible problems, it’s very common for a home inspector to miss a few things, possibly even extremely expensive repairs. There are a few reasons for this:
- Home inspections are non-invasive, so even if the house is evaluated for things on a cosmetic level, there could still be some surprises that you find when you pry up the floorboards, so to speak… especially if it’s an older house!
- Only 2 in 3 states have actual licensing requirements for home inspectors, and even those with certification required make it pretty easy. So make sure that the person you hire is highly recommended, very experienced, and they have some certifications, even ones not required by the state. For example, the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors offers licensing.
- Also remember to inspect the documents that they provide. They’ll tell you which places they’ll check ahead of time, but do your own research to see if there are other areas that you want to know about before purchasing.
2: Beware Conflicts of Interest
It’s important to ensure that your home inspector is only looking out for you as a buyer. Home inspections that are contracted by the seller, broker, or estate agent can all be easily swayed to serve their interests, glossing over problems and underestimating repair costs. In fact, it can be very easy for a home inspector to still report the facts, but sway the perception of those facts one way or another.
Additionally, many home inspectors are also former contractors. They might have arrangements with certain companies that help make repairs, allowing them to add some extra padding to their pockets. Make sure that your inspector is looking out for your interests!
Check out our next blog post, which offers some tips on getting an effective home inspection before you make a purchase.