I can’t understand why anyone would buy a home without getting it inspected first. If you have watched even 5 minutes of any HGTV show, surely you know that problems are always uncovered when they start working on a home.
No inspection is going to catch 100% of the potential issues with a home. There are circumstances that make that impossible, from:
- homeowners covering up issues
- lack of access to an area during the inspection
- problematic weather conditions during the inspection
- simple human error
- stuff happens like HVAC systems or water heaters dying unexpectedly
The goal for a home inspection does not have to be a 100% find rate of any potential problems though. Finding most of them should be enough for you to make an informed decision about purchasing the home. That is really what the goal of a home inspection is – making sure you have as much information as possible as to the actual condition of the home and its key components.
A home purchase is, for most people, the single biggest purchase they will ever make in their lifetime. The dollars involved are significant. The investment and expectation for that investment to hold and grow its value over the years is also part of the home buying equation. Without a home inspection, you are really rolling the dice.
In our situation, we had a home inspection – which, as it turns out, was not a quality inspection and major, major items were missed. We are talking over $100,000 of repairs that had to be done! We ended up suing several parties (including our inspector) and in that process had the home inspected by another home inspector. He found so many issues, which if we had known about even half of them when we were in the buying process for our home, would have allowed us to terminate the deal and avoid the nightmare we lived.
It is critically important that your inspector is qualified to do home inspections and certified by a nationally recognized organization. They should maintain an active membership in that organization and you should be able to find them listed in the member area of the organization’s web site.
The laws regarding home inspections are different in every state too. Some states are protective of home buyers and have stringent rules about who can call themselves a home inspector, while others do not. Each state also has its own laws about inspections themselves. If you want to know what your state’s laws are, your best bet is to go to the official state web site and search for “home inspection law”.
In addition to being actually qualified and certified in some way to perform inspections, it is so important to have an inspector that does not have any conflicts of interest. Often times, your realtor will recommend an inspector. I’m not saying that all inspectors that get referrals from realtors are suspect. That is not really fair. BUT, it is important to remember that the realtor wants the deal to close. Sometimes, too many things found in inspection reports make deals fall apart (as they should, frankly). So, exercise caution when choosing an inspector that is loved by realtors…