Myth #1 – A Home inspection determines value
A home inspection is not an appraisal and shouldn’t be confused with one. An appraisal determines the value of a home and a home inspection examines the condition of a home. If you are looking for a fair market value of your home, you should consult with an experienced realtor or your financial institution. While an inspection isn’t a valuation, it can help you increase the value of your home if you have decided to sell.
Myth #2 – It doesn’t matter which home inspector you choose
As in all professions, there are good home inspectors and bad home inspectors. You should carefully consider a home inspectors qualifications. Experience, certifications, references, reviews and pricing are all important factors to consider. It is also important to schedule early because qualified home inspectors may book up far in advance.
Myth #3 – Home inspectors will advise you on whether to purchase the home
The main purpose of the home inspection is to give an objective opinion as to the condition of a home so that a buyer can knowingly make decisions about the purchase or a seller can address concerns prior to a sale. How repairs are handled is completely between the buyer and seller.
Myth #4 – A Home inspector will find every defect
The home inspector conducts a non invasive inspection of the property. Home inspectors are required to identify and report material defects of the home that are visible and accessible. A material defect is something substantial that would significantly affect the value of the home or pose an unreasonable risk. Not every defect can be found in a home inspection. For example, a home inspector will do a general review of the HVAC system, but will not check interior parts of the system that are not generally accessible. They will not be able to detect a cracked heat exchanger. If you feel the furnace or air conditioner is extremely old and may have issues, you may want to request a more detailed inspection by a HVAC contractor.
Myth # 5 – Buyers should not attend inspection
Most home inspectors encourage home buyers to attend the home inspection. They often recommend that the buyers come toward the end so that the inspector can review findings with them and show them specific points of interest. I personally encourage 1st time home buyers to attend the whole inspection so they can see everything that gets inspected and become familiar with all aspects of the home.
While I encourage home buyer and even their real estate agent to attend, it is not a good idea to bring family members and friends, as it can be distracting to both the inspector and the home buyers.
Myth #6 – New or flipped homes don’t need to be inspected
Just as there are good and bad home inspectors, there are good and bad builders. Which one built your potential new home? New homes can still have material defects and you should know going into the purchase. I know a family that dealt with flooding every spring because of a mistake made by their builder. Granted, it is less likely that newer homes will have material defects but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Myth #7 – Home inspectors can predict the future
Unfortunately, home inspectors are not clairvoyant. We can make sure a dishwasher runs properly one day and it can fail the next. We generally don’t have the ability to see things that may go wrong in the future.
Myth #8 – A home will pass or fail and inspection
A home inspection will not pass or fail a property. It simply reports on the general condition and specifies any material defects. It is completely up to the contracted parties to decide on what to do with that information. If the contract specifies the right to cure, the seller has the legal right to fix any of the defects found in the report. Buyers and sellers may negotiate repairs, a change in the purchase price, or agree to terminate the contract. It is best to discuss your options with your realtor.
Myth #9 – Home inspectors can predict the life of appliances
As stated above, home inspectors only check to see that appliances are running properly at the time of the inspection and let the buyer know the age and basic condition of the appliances. We can’t predict how long those appliances will work. It is good to keep in mind that appliances are a very small portion of the home condition and may or may not even be included in the home purchase. Ask your realtor or refer to your contract to determine if appliances are included in your offer.
Myth #10 – The home inspector killed the deal
Home inspectors are unbiased, independent contractors hired to determine if there are material defects in the home. They are held to a code of ethics and are required by law to report material defects. If material defects are found in the home and the deal falls apart, the home killed the deal, not the inspector.