Buying a home doesn’t come with many simple answers.
That’s why buying a home is ranked as one of life’s most stressful events. In times like this, myths and misinformation only make things worse by clouding our understanding.
Home inspections are often subject to these myths.
Below, we’re debunking 10 common myths about home inspections.
1. Home Inspection is Comprehensive
Inspectors try to do the most thorough job they can when they inspect a home. But they’re not exactly allowed to take a sledgehammer to the walls to find out what’s causing that funky smell.
Inspectors will make educated guesses for invisible problem areas, but the only difference between what you see and what they see is the experience they can draw on to identify the cause of a problem.
If you find hints of deeper problems, you may need to take them to the seller for answers. If you can’t get any concrete explanations, you might want to factor that into your buying decision.
2. Home Inspectors Can Offer Buying Advice
You pay a home inspector to do a very specific job. You don’t ask for meal recommendations from a supermarket cashier, so don’t ask your inspector to give you advice on whether to buy the property.
As a buyer, you can draw some conclusions by their findings (and the tone your inspector is taking), but no home inspector will want to be held responsible for your life decisions.
Don’t place this kind of pressure on home inspectors. They won’t appreciate being pushed beyond their remit and you aren’t likely to receive anything more than a firm “no”.
3. A Home Can Fail an Inspection
Home inspections aren’t a binary pass or fail situation. Home inspectors are there to report on the general wellbeing of the property. They can point out code violations as they see them, but they can’t “condemn” a property for them.
Homes exist at all levels of repair and presentation. Every buyer has their own internal barometer for the quality of home they want. An inspector is there to ensure the buyer has the most available information to reach their decision.
4. All Home Inspections are the Same
It would be nice to know that all home inspections are the same. In truth, ten different inspectors would give you ten different home inspections.
This isn’t always a bad thing. In fact, it means you can get what you’re paying for out of the best inspectors. Some home inspectors will go above and beyond to keep their clients happy and ensure they have all the facts for making their decision.
This also means that if you find a home inspector you like, it’s worth keeping their details around for future purchases. It isn’t always easy to find a good inspector when you need one.
5. New Homes Don’t Need Inspections
Anyone who has bought or even rented a new-built property knows this one doesn’t hold any water. There’s a reason the punch list exists, after all.
After the completion of construction work, there are often plenty of things left to smooth over. Other faults might not become evident for weeks or even months after completion. A home inspector may spot these issues — or at least their early warning signs.
Don’t buy a home without inspection because it’s new. Newness is no guarantee of quality work.
6. Flipped Homes Don’t Need Inspections
By the same token, some people assume that a flipped home must be capable of passing muster.
The goal of many flippers is in quick profits. They may cut corners to flip a home faster. There could be only a figurative (and sometimes literal) lick of paint hiding the home’s issues.
Don’t assume that a flipped home is ready for the market. An inspector can take a good look at the property and let you know what you’re dealing with under the quick fixes.
7. Buyers Don’t Need to Attend Inspection
You may want to leave things to the experts, but a buyer should attend the inspection along with their inspector.
This is the perfect chance, as a buyer, to ask questions. Home inspectors offer exhaustive reports, but a report can still only contain a limited amount of information. Nothing compares to being on site to discuss the inspection as it unfolds.
8. All Buyers Get the Same Inspection
If you’re a new home buyer, you might think that all inspections are alike. The truth is, a good home inspector will change their methods to suit their buyer.
The end results will be much the same. But they’ll take the time to explain things more thoroughly for new buyers. If you’re a new buyer, take advantage of this to ask any questions you have.
9. Home Inspectors Will Kill a Deal
Home inspectors can catch a lot of flak for what they do. Few people like receiving bad news and property transactions are often laden with more emotion. Home inspectors do an impartial and sometimes unpopular job.
But home inspectors don’t torpedo deals. Blaming the home inspector is a textbook example of shooting the messenger. It’s better to look almost anywhere else for reasons the deal fell through.
10. Inspection = Compliance
While inspectors are well versed in local codes and carry out inspections according to a code of practice, they can’t sign off on a building’s code compliance.
However, they can make you aware if a building isn’t up to code. They won’t give you buying advice, but they’ll leave the ball in your court when it comes to deciding how that will influence your purchase.
Understanding Home Inspections
By busting these ten myths, we hope we’ve cleared up some of the misinformation surrounding home inspections. The best thing you can do while buying a property is to sort the facts from the fiction to keep things as simple as they can be.
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