Perspectives

My Perspective on Home Inspectors

February 28, 2011

It is interesting when you are looking to buy or sell a home, and a home inspector is hired to inspect the house. I have been involved in many such occurrences, and I generally find it quite humorous when you get the final inspection back.

Most of the home inspectors retain a certain level of personal pride in their work, and they feel if they don’t find something wrong with the house, that they have somehow failed the customer. Even if a house is brand new, and built right to code with no issues, they will still find something.

A family member of mine sold such a piece of property, and an inspection was done on the house. Basically, the house was almost perfect, but the inspector found a couple of shingles on the roof that were loose/worth replacing, along with a couple of other extremely minor details.

And while I appreciate the attention to detail, I really think it is funny that they feel they just have to find something wrong with the house. And at times, this can really be a problem for the buyer and seller, as it could really alter, if not kill the deal.

So my advice is, check your inspectors carefully. Ask them some probing questions like, “Have you ever been sued or complained about by a customer?”, and “Do you check for every nut and bolt, or do you generally just check for code compliance?”. Feel free to ask more questions, but these questions can reveal over-the-top inspectors that could be a potential problem for you, especially if you are the seller.

As you do more and more deals, you can then develop a list of inspectors you are confident in, and pass that advice on to your clients for speedy, informed decisions.

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2 Comments

  • Reply san diego property inspection March 3, 2011 at 9:41 pm

    Jeffry – First and foremost, a home inspection is not a code compliance inspection, so perhaps you are using home inspectors not practiced in the discipline. A professional home inspector that belongs to one of the large inspector associations like ASHI or NACHI will NEVER cite code. It’s ingrained into our minds and even a non-seasoned inspector knows better.

    So you feel that new homes are perfect? Interesting that we are contracted frequently to perform warranty inspections on homes that are 10 months old and we find issues that I would not classify as “over the top” as you mention. Not that the furnace is failing, but how about several broken clay roof tiles, a masonry wall with the top course of block loose and not secured to the rest of the structure, AC condensing units that are out of level beyond manufacturers specs which could result in premature failure, HVAC distribution ducting that is not properly sealed and pumping conditioned air into the attic space, beautiful tile floors except the fact that several of the tiles are not secured to the slab below, post-tension slabs with cracks and displacement because the slab was used to inventory supplies and most likely was damaged by cherry-pickers or forklifts during the building of 140+ units, breakers installed in electrical panels that are a different brand than the manufacturer of the panel effectively voiding the panel warranty.

    Home inspectors are like real estate professionals. Some are out to set the world on fire and they bring a lack of experience to the table and ultimately damage the profession.

    • Reply Jeffry Evans March 5, 2011 at 2:26 am

      Darin:

      I appreciate your feedback. Please don’t misunderstand what I have said. The questions I posed are probing questions – they don’t mean that I hire compliance-only inspectors. They are meant to draw out just how spirited a home inspector might be.

      And you are right when you said some inspectors are like real estate professionals in that their conduct brings a damaging image to the profession. I can’t agree more. Most folks out there despise real estate agents and brokers, and hail home inspectors, simply because they feel that the inspector is on their side, and the real estate professional is just out to make money.

      Well the truth is, both the real estate professional and the home inspector are out to make money.

      The problem is, the real estate professional is in face to face contact with the client, and often their focus on getting the commission is heavier than their focus on getting a good deal for their client, and the client sees that. While a similar story may be told of the home inspector, the fact that the client often has no face to face contact with them, this “money grubbing” perception of home inspectors is not conveyed in the client’s mind.

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