Myths About Home Inspections

Oh my, the myths and misunderstanding that are associated with a Home Inspection. If you are in need of this valuable professional service…and if you’re buying a home then you are in indeed in need…then it’s important that some of these myths be dispelled. While the list is long, here are some of the more flagrant examples:

  • The Inspector is in cahoots with the real estate agent – You know, this is the one that galls me to no end. While there are certainly examples of that having been true, I am not personally aware of any such examples. When choosing an Inspector, or a real estate agent for that matter, you should have already weeded out any or either of those that are unethical…because those two people being in some sort of unholy alliance is just that…unethical! It happens far less than you might think or might have been led to believe.
  • The Inspector will find everything – This makes me cringe when I hear it said, usually by an agent who knows that I’m very thorough and that I am likely to find something there if it’s a reportable condition. The fact is, though, that an Inspector rarely finds every last single issue that someone else might think is potentially problematic. Should they find all of the major items for which there is some visual evidence to suggest a problem exists?…Yes! Should they do their absolute and dedicated, honest best to find any and all significant items within the context of the standards of practice under which they operate?…Yes! Will they find everything?…Probably not.
  • An assessment by a General Contractor is just as good – This myth is so blatantly false and inaccurate that it’s really difficult to fully detail. Let me just say this, I was a General Contractor for many years prior to becoming a Home Inspector but I wasn’t a really good Home Inspector until I had been doing that professionally for many years. This is not an apples-to-apples comparison and is mostly completely invalid.
  • If I have a home inspected, then I’ll know it was built according to the building codes – Again…not true. I know of no recognized standard for Home Inspections that includes any requirement for the assessment of building code compliance. In fact, if an Inspector isn’t Code Qualified, it may not be legal for them to directly comment on building code compliance issues.
  • A new house doesn’t need to be inspected – This is, perhaps, the most costly of all myths that affects uneducated or unwary consumers. If one were to assume that all builders are perfect and that all of their constructed homes are without deficiencies…well, that’s just not the case. Let’s move on…
  • A home being marketed AS IS doesn’t need an independent inspection – Oh boy…here we go again. If you are buying a home where no representations have been made by the seller…or worse yet the home is being specifically marketed AS IS, then how in the world are you going to know what AS IS…is…unless you have it inspected?
  • I don’t need to be present for my Home Inspection – Well, legally, this is true. And a professional Inspector would get the information to you in the form of a good report. But, you will almost certainly miss out on a full and complete understanding of your Inspectors findings if you do not attend. Please, attend your Home Inspection!

Having a good understanding of what a Home Inspection is, and of what the Inspector is going to do…or not do…is of paramount importance. Dispelling some of the associated myths is part of that better understanding. Once you’ve selected what you know to be a professional Home Inspector, and should you have any lingering doubt about anything you might have heard, ask the Inspector. If he or she is truly professional, you won’t be intentionally misled with any inappropriate or incorrect answer. Remember…don’t be shy when selecting a Home Inspector! Ask the tough questions and expect appropriate answers.

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