Bruce's Blog

What is the real purpose of a home inspection?


When you’re buying a home, you absolutely, positively, without a doubt, need to get a home inspection. Not by your handyman buddy or your well-meaning uncle who has always looked out for you. You need to hire a professional, LICENSED, home inspector for the job. This is a must on a resale property and I highly recommend it for new construction as well (to be discussed in another post).

The real purpose of the inspection is to make sure you’re buying the house you THOUGHT you were buying when you negotiated the contract with the seller. A home may look amazing and show extremely well, so we would like to assume there are no problems with it. But it’s what we can’t see that we need to be concerned about. That’s why we bring in the professional inspector.

The inspector will likely point out a laundry list of items that will be marked as “deficient” in the report. It’s NOT reasonable to expect the seller to correct all of those deficiencies. It’s a used house. If you’re buying a 30-year old house, you’re going to have 30-year old house stuff. Save yourself some stress and accept that fact. If you can’t live with that, it may be time to look at new construction. Even those won’t be perfect, but a higher expectation of quality is reasonable.

What you want to pay attention to are the big ticket items, such as roof, foundation, HVAC, water heater, and appliances. These items can cost you big money down the road if they are deficient now. And don’t depend on the home warranty company to take care of them for you after you move in (the topic of ANOTHER post later on). You want to pay extra special attention to safety issues like electrical problems, hidden hazards, unsafe conditions.

If you are buying a home of any age at all, likely there will be items marked as deficient that reflect changes in building code. These may or may not be a concern, but the inspector is required to indicate any code changes as being a deficiency. A seller is not obligated to bring a house to current building code in order to sell it.

Your inspector should discuss all of these items with you after the inspection is complete and will provide you with a written report. Be sure and ask all the questions you have about the inspection at that time. But don’t expect the inspector to advise you as to how to handle things with the seller – that’s not their role. That’s the conversation you’ll be having with your Realtor right away and getting guidance from them.

Good luck with your home purchase! If I can ever be of assistance to you, your friends or family, don’t hesitate to contact me. I’m always happy to answer questions and provide an opinion based on my experience.

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