Last week I attended a CE course given by a local home inspection company. The teacher, a home inspector, is a mechanical engineer. He has had extensive experience with large engineering firms that inspect large structures. Yes very qualified!
We spent a full three hours looking at pictures of homes that were “repaired” by their owners. This included garden hose used as a gas line, welcome mats used on a home for shingles, light switches in a shower, and mdf boards used to hold up a floor joist. Very creative!
I have not personally had the pleasure of seeing these type of “repairs” on homes that I have listed or sold. I hope that my streak stays alive!
The main part of our class was a discussion about home inspectors and their relationship with the home buyer and the real estate agent. This relationship has become strained with the home inspection becoming a source of conflict between the seller and buyer.
Specifically most home inspectors are missing “the forest through the trees”.
Is a squeaky gate an item that must be put on a home inspection report?
Is a reminder to change out the air condition filters an item to include on the report?
Is it imperative to highlight deck rails on a 1987 home that are 3 inches too short if they are compared to a 2013 building code?
Heaven forbid we do not have mention of the “lack of GFCI breaker in the Kitchen” on a home built 25 years ago. (We have a standing bet on how many times the GFCI breaker would be mentioned in an inspection report. After 7 years 100%)
The problem is that our home sellers (still a buyer’s market) have dropped price to rock bottom only to be confronted with a list of items that the buyer wants repaired prior to moving into the home.
The issue is that this list of items that the buyer wants repaired are not items that “have” to be repaired or cause a “major structural defect” to the home.
I pushed our teacher hard to ask his inspectors to be more big picture when it comes to inspections. I ask that their inspectors take the time to give an overall assessment, from a structural point of view, of the home. The inspector needs to clarify what he or she feels has to be done vs what needs to be done. The buyer needs to keep the whole deal in perspective when putting together a “laundry list” of must need items that are really more of a like to have items. The buyer needs to look at the age of the home and the present condition of the home.
Homes have a lot of moving parts, are exposed to the elements, and do age over time. Any home has maintenance that must be done on a continual basis. The perfect home does not exist.
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