When you go to the doctor for your annual physical, you get professional feedback on your health. You learn if you have any medical issues that need to be fixed. A home inspection is like a physical examination for a house. An Inspection Report simply describes and identifies what might need repair or replacement in the home you want to buy.
The difference between a good inspection and a bad inspection is the Inspector – not the condition of the house. The house is what it is – and you will find out what its condition is sooner or later. Sooner is better. Later is a surprise that you don’t want to have.
But How do You Find the Best Inspector?
There are 3 types of inspectors. New inspectors are enthusiastic, hungry, and cheap. If you’re lucky, they have some training and at least follow a Standard of Practice, but often they’re employees of a larger company and what they're trained to do is run through a house as quickly as possible and get to their next job – because they're expected to do 2 or 3 inspections a day! New inspectors come with two strikes against them: 1) the likelihood that they’ll miss important issues because of their inexperience, and 2) the very real possibility that they will misidentify things as problems where none exist. Bad information from a new inspector could cause you to miss out on the Home of your dreams.
Then there is the Over-zealous inspector. Often, they specialized in a trade before becoming inspectors. They have a nasty habit of making mountains out of molehills – especially in the trade they used to be in. Many don’t have a holistic understanding of homes and how the various systems interact. They tend to only focus on their one area of expertise and they often miss the “Big Picture”.
The Best Inspector is an experienced Certified Professional Inspector. They have a well-rounded construction background and the ability to effectively communicate their findings to you. They won’t miss a thing and they’ll supply your Realtor with the information they need to negotiate on your behalf. They’ll get you the facts that will help you to make a good decision now – and be comfortable with that decision in the future.
How do you find the Best Home Inspector?
Your Realtor knows who it is! But why do so many Real Estate agents not give you the name of that best Inspector? It’s because of a very persistent myth. Realtors are terrified of a Negligent Referral lawsuit. The most common way Real Estate agents protect themselves against this unlikely event is they give you a list of three home inspection companies because they've been told it reduces their liability. But the reality is, the chance that referring an experienced Certified Professional Inspector will result in a lawsuit is about the same as being struck by lightning the same day you win the lottery.
I understand where this seems to make sense. If they tell you to hire an inspector that disappoints you, it can come back to bite them in the form of a lawsuit. But Realtors actually create liability for themselves in referring three Inspectors instead of the best one they know. They’re asking you to play the lottery when they already know the winning number!
Do you trust your Realtor? If you don’t, fire them and get another one. If you do, ask them who the Best Inspector is that they know, and trust in that Realtor's expertise and the Inspector they recommend will be the best choice to work hard on your behalf.
Your Realtor is like a General going to battle for you. The Inspector you hire is their Forward Observer who gathers intel so they can best fight that battle. If you get the home you want for a price that is fair, you will be their customer for life. Of course they will help you pick the best Team to serve you.
What do you hope will be the best outcome of your home inspection?
You may hope that the inspector finds nothing wrong with the house, the negotiations go smoothly and you live happily ever after. One can dream, right? Yes, I’ve found that 4-leaf clover. If there’s nothing wrong with a house, I turn my focus to showing you how to maintain and monitor your home to keep it good condition.
But almost every home has some issues. Honestly, the best outcome is to find and identify all the issues with the home, and to document them in a fashion so your Realtor can negotiate skillfully on your behalf.
What do you fear could be the worst outcome?
Buying a home is always stressful, especially at the time of the inspection. You’ve invested so much time and energy to find this home and now you worry that the inspector will find a “show-stopper” like a bad foundation or a sacred burial ground in the basement and the deal will be killed.
These are even rarer than the “perfect home”, but they do happen. Sometimes it’s best to run – not walk – away from a home with serious problems. That’s why you’ve hired a Realtor you trust. That's why you insist on the Best Inspector.
You’ll find a better house, and when you get through the inspection and finally settled in, you can sleep well, because you know that you hired the best team that wasn't afraid to go to battle to find The Perfect Home for You.