Home inspections are a relatively new invention when compared to real estate in general. Until a few decades ago, buyers either had a working knowledge of homes and possible defects to look for, or they went into a sale hoping not to inherit someone else’s problems. But while official home inspections evolved to help eliminate the confusion, there is still some that surrounds the industry.
A lot of people think that a home inspection can make or break a sale, and that’s true. But maybe not for the reasons that you think. Here’s why:
Homes Don’t Pass or Fail
One of the biggest misconceptions about a home inspection is that there’s a passing or failing grade. Home inspections don’t work that way, says Pro-ASHI. So a new house in immaculate shape with all brand new appliances and fixtures won’t pass an inspection. But an old, handyman special with broken fixtures, a bad roof, and a long list of items in serious disrepair won’t fail one, either.
What a Home Inspection Report Shows
The purpose of a home inspection is to give an accounting of everything that’s accessible, what condition it’s in, and whether it operates safely and as it should. It’s a snapshot, so to speak. An inspector looks for defects, such as an outlet that doesn’t work properly or a stovetop burner that doesn’t heat up. Where an item on the report is inspected, the report explains whether it’s safe and functional or not.
What a Report Doesn’t Show
The Standards of Practice that most inspectors work by explain that there’s a limit to what’s inspected in any home, and also a limit to what an inspector is required to provide in his report. For example, if a wall is inaccessible because of furnishings, the inspector is not required to move them in order to access a row of outlets. The report will also, at least in most cases, omit any type of judgment call on what repairs might cost.
Why Inspections are Critical
The whole purpose behind an inspection is information. The knowledge that an inspector gains from working his way through a house and around the property gives the customer information that he needs to make an informed decision. A buyer can learn whether there are problems that he doesn’t want to take on, but any customer, even the home owner, can benefit from the information recorded in a report.
A home inspection doesn’t issue a passing or failing grade, but it remains one of the most useful tools that anyone on any side of the real estate industry can benefit from. What it gives is information. And with accurate information, there’s less room for error and dissatisfaction.
ICA School is committed to educating home inspectors who support this critical industry. If you’re still wondering whether it’s the right career path, get a free demo and see firsthand what our comprehensive, work-at-your-own-pace training is all about.