Home inspectors sometimes get a bad rap for killing sales. After all, if someone is interested and the price is right, what else could happen to change the buyer’s mind besides finding hidden problems with the house?
But that shouldn’t keep inspectors from doing a thorough job. Real estate agents who have plenty of business will appreciate a good, solid inspection because it saves their reputation, too. No agent wants the blame for connecting a buyer with a house that’s falling apart. And buyers will appreciate it, too.
Here are some of the most common deal breakers, according to the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI):
Bad Bones Mean Big Money
They say that beauty is skin deep but ugly goes to the bone, and that’s definitely true for some houses. Bad bones can mean a lot of different things, but it usually refers to structural and foundation problems that are so extensive as to make repairs impractical or perhaps even impossible.
The problems might be caused by poor workmanship on the part of the builder, homeowner neglect, damage from the environment, or a combination of any of these. If you were speaking in terms of a car, bad bones might equal being totaled. It means there’s money to be spent years past the closing table.
When a house has bad bones, prospective buyers see dollar signs flowing away from them. Make no mistake, although many homeowners love the idea of a fixer-upper, not everyone does. And those who do might not relish the idea of jacking up the sinking left rear corner of a kitchen and inadvertently throwing all of the interior doors out of alignment as a result, or bringing in a crew to stabilize a crumbling foundation.
Nothing Lasts Forever
Even if the house’s bones are fine and it’s sound as sound can be, other major systems that need repair or replacement can turn buyers off. ASHI says that houses that are about 20 years old should be fine, but that’s also within the timeframe when big replacement and repair issues creep up.
Many roof systems have a 10-15 year lifespan, some a bit longer. Heating and cooling systems are sadly inefficient and out of date after 10 years, and any kitchen appliances probably need replacement, too. Carpet won’t be in great condition, and hardwood floors might need refinishing.
If the house price accounts for replacing and repairing what needs it, a house with these types of issues might perform well on the market with the right buyer pool. But for buyers who want something that’s move-in ready, a whole-house upgrade isn’t appealing.
Unskilled DIY Kills Sales
Blame it on weekend DIY shows and Pinterest ideas if you will. Homeowner home improvement is often an oxymoron, especially in house flipper situations. Home improvement takes a lot of skill and also a lot of experience. There are plenty of examples of how to take shortcuts, and that’s something an inspector can sometimes spot, at least if the subpar work isn’t buried.
Inspectors have seen loose tile that’s been glued up using construction adhesive, and wood rot under showers where no waterproof membrane was installed. And when it comes to electrical and plumbing, DIY work might not just be unattractive, it might also be unsafe.
Getting deeper into DIY territory, some homeowners might resort to camouflage to cover up known problems, and that’s another area where an inspector can really help protect his customer. A new coat of paint can hide water stains from a leaking roof, at least for a while. But an inspection of the attic tells another tale.
Home inspections aren’t required, but they’re an integral part of the real estate business. They protect buyers from investing in trouble, and they also help agents build a good name for themselves.
Although you might encounter some people in your work who don’t necessarily appreciate your honesty, the best inspectors take that in stride. Houses have problems, that’s just how it goes. But buyers count on you to find them.
Are you just beginning to think about a career in home inspections? ICA School has the comprehensive training program that you need, and you can complete the course at your own pace. Get a free course demo and see for yourself.