Home Inspections: Necessary or Nuisance?

You are about to close on your new house and the subject of the home inspection comes up. You understand this is something important but on the other hand, you're anxious to take possession of the property and are hesitant about taking on any unnecessary steps. Let’s just move in!

Wait a minute! Is that the right thing to do? Is a home inspection something you should skip? Isn’t this something easy that you could do yourself and save the money and aggravation of getting a home inspector?

Here are some thoughts on this matter:

  • You are not a home inspector! –No matter how easy you may think this is, it’s better to let the professionals do their job! Few of us have the knowledge needed to identify structural, electrical and plumbing problems. Additionally, even if you are knowledgeable, your emotional involvement in this process might get in the way of your doing a good job of it.

  • This is not a pass or fail test! – Even new homes have issues and it is quite common for an inspector’s report to include up to 50 or more issues. And no matter how long this list is, it does not mean that the house is not worth buying.

  • Home inspections do not predict the future! – The inspector’s report identifies issues that exist today. It can never predict what problems might arise in the future.

  • Check out your state’s licensing and certification requirements – You may opt for the specialist that your real estate broker recommends. However, should you decide to do the hiring on your own make sure you hire an inspector with plenty of experience? Look into the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (nachi.org) for more information on selecting an inspector.

  • If you want to go, go! – Tell the home inspector you want to accompany during his assessment. This way he will be able to point out to you the things he is discovering. Also, his willingness to let you be by his side will show you his professionalism and how transparent his assessment is. Just remember that a thorough home inspection may take 3 or 4 hours for an average sized home!

  • Do not mix home repairs with the inspection – You do not want to hire a professional that will offer to fix everything he finds. He may end up “finding” many things that are not really necessary just to get to do the repairs.