Philosophical Musing on Home Inspection

As a professional home inspector, I believe that my number one responsibility is to do my best to protect my client, their family, and their money.  I see a home inspector as an essential advocate for their client.  I have no vested interested in the overall transaction (I get paid my fee regardless of whether you buy the house.)  I see this as a positive.  I am 100% on your side, but I am not influenced by subjective factors, Realtors, cosmetics, values, commissions, or any other outside influences.

Being a home inspector can start to feel slightly negative over the years, if you choose to let it.  My job, after all, is to point out everything possible that is wrong with a house that you like enough to spend your hard earned money to buy.  Rather than focusing on that negative side of the coin, I choose to focus on my role in doing my very best to help protect my client.  I want to use my expertise to give them as much information as possible to help them make better informed decisions.

Very few houses are perfect and will have nothing noted on the home inspection report as deficient.  It is equally rare for a house to be in such horrible condition that the buyer should run away screaming.  The reality is that most all houses fall somewhere in the middle. Being in the middle means that the house will have a variety of deficiencies that are typical for the age, type and location of the home.  These typical deficiencies include items such as code changes (in older homes,) deferred maintenance, and life cycles failure.  Since these things tend to be typical for a neighborhood or age, in my opinion, they tend to carry less weight in decisions, unless the list is just unusually long, because most of the houses you are considering will tend to have some kind of similar list.

Some houses will also have a few unique major concerns or deficiencies – the big system surprises.   This list tends to include the big ticket repair items.  Things like bad roofs, failing foundations, water intrusion, leaking showers, or defective HVAC systems are commonly found major deficiencies.  This is the really important list.  Repairs that could end up costing thousands of dollars.  Most all clients will want to negotiate some or all of these big ticket items.

These different levels of negatives are then balanced against the good or positives factors of the house.   Most likely you will know the good list.  It was probably heavily marketed.  The most obvious of the good list would be nice updating and remodeling, neighborhood benefits, school districts, pools, etc.  Some less obvious, but just as important would be things like a new roof, new HVAC, new water heaters, efficiency upgrades.

In the end, it all comes down to money and the client’s financial position, comfort level and expectations.  Pretty much anything and everything is “fixable” when discussing deficiencies found during a home inspection.   The client just has to be comfortable with the costs versus the benefits for their specific situation.  Information is the key.  My goal, and sincere promise, is to do everything in my power to give you that information.  I am human and never claim to be perfect, but I promise to always work as hard as I can to protect my clients.

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