Home inspection customers aren’t tasked with inspecting, but they are in charge of who does the job and what happens with that information later. This step in buying a house is a rich mine of details that the buyer probably wouldn’t know otherwise.
Inspections matter for any house, and it’s up to the buyer to use the opportunity wisely. Here are 5 common inspection mistakes that the American Society of Home Inspectors warn against, and how to avoid them:
#1: Skipping an Inspection on New Construction
New construction can’t have any problems because it’s new, right? Sadly, no. Defects can exist in any home, the same way that you can buy a product that’s defective straight out of the box. An inspection finds defects with structure, home systems, interiors and exteriors, and that is a lot of ground to cover for everything to be perfect.
A home inspection is just as important on new construction that’s never been lived in as an older home where the systems might be starting to break down. Every home needs an inspection before the purchase is finalized.
#2: Staying Away from the Inspection
Inspectors often work solo, but the customer has a right to be there for the inspection. While it’s not a good idea to walk on the inspector’s heels, it’s a good idea to be close by so that defects can be discussed while they’re fresh in everyone’s mind and while there’s the opportunity to see firsthand what the defect is.
Photos are important, and those can stay with the inspection report as part of that permanent record. But there’s a lot to be said for talking with the inspector. That helps alleviate confusion that can come from only having written words, and makes buyers much more informed about the house.
#3: Choosing the Wrong Home Inspector
Most home inspectors do a good, solid job for customers. With a bad track record, an inspector can’t expect to get any referrals. And if that happens, it won’t be long before he’s out of business altogether. But not every inspector is the right one for you.
Not every state licenses inspectors, but many do. Licensing and other credentials are simple to check. And when an inspector is a member of any national or state inspection association, he’s committed to a code of ethics and professional integrity. A good inspector is one whose qualifications are sound. Where that information is sketchy or unavailable, it’s wise to find another.
#4: Expecting the Inspector to be Psychic
Home inspectors inspect what is visible and accessible at the time of the home inspection. Not only that, separate inspections are often required for termites and other problems such as hazardous mold. If an inspector sees evidence of defects with the house, that information goes into the report. But no inspector can see through walls and floors, and it’s not likely that any can know what will happen after the house is purchased.
Psychic abilities aren’t part of a home inspector’s training. He checks the home inside and out, top to bottom. But what’s hiding inside a wall can’t be known without removing drywall. And unless an HVAC unit shows signs of disrepair at the time of the inspection, the inspector can’t know if or when it will break down.
#5: Ignoring the Inspection Report
Too often, home buyers look at getting an inspection as one more hurdle in the home buying process. But the inspection is a vital piece of information. It does no one any good if it’s tucked into the file and never referred to again unless something goes wrong.
When a home inspector finds defects, the information is intended to help the customer make repairs, make a decision on whether or not to buy or consider whether a different offer on the house is justified. Overlooking the details in the report means that the customer paid perfectly good money for an unused or underused service.
A home inspection isn’t a formality. It’s an opportunity. When a buyer goes into it with the right mindset, there’s a lot to be learned about the property. It might be a stressful time, since the unknown isn’t always pleasant. But knowledge is power, and this knowledge can help buyers make the best decisions about a huge financial investment.
Home inspectors have a lot of responsibility, and ICA School training prepares students for it every day. Our program covers what goes into a home inspection and how to determine defects, plus it covers the business side of the industry. If this sounds like the opportunity you’ve been looking for, enroll now and start working toward your new career today.