What Home Inspectors Look For
A home inspector’s job is to check that all of the main functions of the home are in good working order. Home inspectors are not responsible for checking whether or not the alarm system works or if the carpet matches the walls. As inspectors we usually will not answer questions such as “Would you buy this home?” or “Could I get the homeowner to pay for that?”. A home inspector will not move things out of the way or go into areas that are not accessible.
Some people actually get very angry with home inspectors who go out of their way to point out problems to home buyers. Often home inspectors like me who put their clients first get fewer referrals from real estate agents and home owners. Home inspectors like me end up having previous clients and attorneys as referral sources. Some people may not be happy a sale does not close, however I would prefer that to my buyer being unhappy there are problems after they move into the home. After all, if the house is a lemon, no matter what was covered up at point of sale, it will ultimately lead to an unhappy home buyer.
Intentionally or not sometimes problems get covered up in either an attempt to get a deal to go through or out of ignorance. Home inspectors sometimes find things like strategically stacked boxes in front of a foundation wall cracks. Bad karma can be a bad thing. Home inspectors like myself take our responsibility to home buyers quite seriously and have no interest pushing a sale through.
The decision to purchase a home is ultimately up to the home buyer themselves. I have seen many home buyers walk away for reasons that are minor in the scope of life and seen others buy homes with major problems. A good home inspector will not sway the purchase either way since he is not getting paid to do so. The information that an inspector can make available is an to aid the buyer in dealing with potential hazards or repairs that the home inspection report might report. The issues are then described to the buyer so they can discuss them with their attorney or the appropriate trades persons to obtain cost and scope of work proposals. In fact, home inspectors are there to educate the buyers on the proper use and basic functions of the systems in the house and to provide recommendations for proper remediation or repair of damage.
There are laws that govern what a home inspector can and cannot do. For example, the State of New Jersey does not allow home inspectors to check the septic system unless they have additional certifications to do so. Most home inspectors take their job quite seriously. Experienced home inspectors do our best to please our client.