The people who need home inspections the most – home buyers – are the focus of a new campaign by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). HUD knows why home inspections are so important, just as inspectors do. But the people who take on the most risk are often the ones who know less about the condition of the house than anyone. An inspection helps protect buyers, and that’s the message the HUD hopes to drive home.
ASHI’s Stance on the Importance of Home Inspections
The American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) has long stressed the importance of home inspections. The lack of qualified people to serve as advisors to home buyers was the impetus for the home inspection industry. Before then, the best that buyers could hope for was a knowledgeable friend or relative to give a house the once-over in search of problems that the buyer might not recognize.
ASHI stays active in support of buyer education. In 2010, they addressed members of Congress in support of legislation that would require counseling for all home buyers on the importance of getting an inspection. Because inspections are voluntary, the risk of buying a house full of defects has always been fairly great. With counseling, buyers would at least be made aware of the possibility of problems, and that an inspection could help them be more informed buyers.
What the HUD Requirements Say
The HUD campaign is called, “For Your Protection: Get a Home Inspection.” The handout begins by explaining why inspections are so important and gives a brief breakdown of what an inspector does. It then moves into the difference between an inspection and an appraisal. Many buyers don’t realize that an appraisal is different. And because that’s usually required by the lender, buyers often mistakenly think that they’re covered.
In addition to educating buyers about the ins and outs of an inspection, it raises awareness. No document could cover every potential issue that a home inspection might catch. Likewise, it couldn’t adequately explain the potential problems that might arise later without one. The HUD campaign shows buyers what’s available, why it’s important, and how they have the authority to insist on protecting themselves.
The new HUD requirements went into effect on September 14, and should help a great many buyers learn a lot more about what’s possible. They don’t mandate home inspections; it’s still the buyer’s choice. What they do is open up a dialogue that buyers might not know was even an issue.
The effect of the requirements could mean a bump up in business for home inspectors. And this would be a great time to capitalize on all of the free federal marketing on your behalf. Every buyer should receive the HUD handout explaining why inspections are important. With your name out there, you’ll be you could be the one that their realtor recommends for the job.
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