What really matters on a home inspection
Buying a home? The process can be stressful. A home
inspection is supposed to give you peace of mind, but often has the
opposite effect. You will be asked to absorb a lot of information
in a short time. This often includes a written report, checklist,
photographs, environmental reports and what the inspector himself says
during the inspection. All this combined with the seller's
disclosure and what you notice yourself makes the experience even more
overwhelming. What should you do?
Relax. Most of your inspection will be maintenance
recommendations, life expectancies and minor imperfections. These are
nice to know about. However, the issues that really matter will
fall into four categories:
- Major defects. An example of this would be a structural failure.
- Things that lead to major defects. A small roof-flashing leak, for example.
- Things that may hinder your ability to finance, legally occupy or insure the home.
- Safety hazards, such as an exposed, live buss bar at the electric panel.
Anything in these categories should be addressed. Often a
serious problem can be corrected inexpensively to protect both life and
property (especially in categories 2 and 4).
Most sellers are honest and are often surprised to learn of
defects uncovered during an inspection. Realize that sellers are
under no obligation to repair everything mentioned in the report.
No home is perfect. Keep things in perspective. Do not kill
your deal over things that do not matter. It is inappropriate to
demand that a seller address deferred maintenance, conditions already
listed on the seller's disclosure or nit-picky items.