HOW THOROUGH SHOULD AN INSPECTION BE? I have been mulling this question over in my mind lately and have been discussing the same with some friends and acquaintances. It seems to me that some people have the attitude that a home inspection is a look at the homes structure and mechanical systems for major defects. I have taken the approach over the past five years to mention even small details that may not seem to be a big deal. My reports include anywhere from 40 – to over 100 photos of so called issues that I wish to point out to my clients. I have had some Realtors claim this type of approach is going overboard and may scare away potential buyers from a perfectly average home. So where should a home inspector draw the line in their reporting after all every home is someones castle.
I understand that while every home has issues and older homes tend to have more then newer homes simply based upon normal wear and tear. So when I get to a home I always ask myself, “what is it that the clients might want to know”. I can only base my response to this question upon what I myself would want an inspector to tell me, that is – all they can see as potentially causing me financial or physical hardship in the future. I also realize that it is not possible for an inspector to pick out every flaw in a home in the short two to three hours they are on site nor would this objective be reasonable or productive to the purpose of the inspection. So for what it is worth I will talk here about the balance I have learned to develop in my inspections.
It is my opinion that when a homeowner hires an inspector they are putting their trust in that inspectors abilities to look at a home and determine if there are both major and minor issues present that pose immediate or future risk of costs associated to the home. Furthermore the safety of the homeowner should also be considered when doing an inspection. For example I see all kinds of mediocre workmanship in the homes I inspect. Most of the time I believe the homeowner or contractor did the best they could to do things right. Having said that I also feel it is important to call out even small problems that may lead to larger issues in the future. Look no further then to the black attic sheathing in a previous post to see how a very small oversight can lead to a much larger and more costly problem.
The problem most inspectors face in this business is where to draw the line. Do you look at a potential issue and say oh that will likely never get worse or do you draw on your experience and say I can see where this will lead. I personally have got myself in hot water more then once for drawing conclusions, but after all my company name is Border Home Inspections, not Close Enough Home Inspections.
I would be glad to here some feedback on this topic so let me know what you think.
Click the link for the view from the perspective of a realtor as she writes Why I love my Deal Killer (inspector) and you should too.