I was having lunch the other day with friend and local home inspector Robert Foster of Trebor Home Inspections and we were talking about how there are a lot of misconceptions about home inspections.
A home inspection is primarily about providing information. This is the buyer’s opportunity to learn as much about their potential new home as possible, from an experienced professional. Home Inspections are not code compliance inspections. If a house has more than a few years on it, there will likely be items that are not up to current code but are still functional.
A thorough home inspection provides a handbook to your future home. The HVAC might be fully functioning but could be nearing the end of its expected service life or the attic door isn’t insulated causing conditioned air to escape both in the winter and summer. These are the sorts of things that a home inspector may point out that are good to know but shouldn’t affect the purchase of the home.
Home inspection protocols and regulations vary from state to state. In the commonwealth of Virginia, Home Inspector certification is voluntary with no report standardization, which makes for a wide variety in the services rendered by the profession. Before you get worried about how to find a thorough home inspector, remember your real estate agent has had the opportunity to vet inspectors through previous transactions and can recommend an inspector they trust.
Buyers, when inspection day arrives do not be shy. Whether this is your first home or you are an experienced home buyer you should ask every question that comes to mind, because every house regardless of age has issues. Home inspectors are there to serve you by answering all of your questions while conducting a thorough and unbiased evaluation of the house. A thorough inspector will point out everything they discover about the house even the small maintenance issues, which can add up to quite a number of items. Try not to get alarmed by the maintenance items. While you are negotiating through the inspection contingency try to stay focused on the larger items that might be deal breakers if the Seller doesn’t agree to correct them or give you a credit to have them corrected yourself. This is a key area that your agent will help you navigate. I always go through the inspection report with my clients to help them evaluate each item found before deciding what we will be requesting.
Sellers, if the buyer has made a request for deficiencies to be corrected you will also receive a copy of the inspection report. The inspection report can be alarming to someone who has been living in a house for years unaware that deficiencies were present. As you move forward try to focus on what you as the seller would have to correct for any reasonable buyer. There are few problems that can’t be fixed and you are very close to selling your home.
If you have any further questions feel free to contact either me or Robert. We both are more than happy to help.