Q. Are Home Inspections Required?

Q. Hey Mark,

When I make an offer on a house, am I required to have a home inspection or is it optional? Can a house fail an inspection?


A. Hey Justin,

I’ll start with your first question. “Are you required to have a home inspection, or is it optional? The answer is not a simple yes or no. Some municipalities require certain types of inspections to be performed for a real estate transaction. They might be code inspections, or Methamphetamine testing, or other things. The best person to ask this question is a real estate agent in the municipality where the home is located. Some real estate professionals feel so strongly that clients should have a home inspection, they will ask a homebuyer who has refused an inspection to sign a disclosure statement saying they have been advised to have one, but declined. They do this because they do not want to be held responsible should a client later find major problems in a home they purchased without an inspection.

In most cases, however, a traditional home inspection is optional. Yet, the wise homebuyer has one, and I’ll tell you why. An unbiased, expert examination of the property is invaluable. Your home inspector not only has the expertise to identify major defects, but he or she is probably the only person in your entire transaction who has absolutely nothing to gain by whether you purchase the property or not.

Inspections are recommended in new construction, too. People mistakenly assume that newly constructed homes will have no problems, but homebuilders DO make errors and omissions sometimes. Last week, I inspected a home that was only a few years old. I found several builder defects that would have been discovered if the original homeowner had a new construction inspection. Now that this homeowner was selling the home, it became his responsibility to make those repairs. But, if he’d had a new construction inspection when he first purchased the home, the builder would’ve been responsible for making those repairs.

Finally, remember that a home purchase could be the most expensive purchase you make in your life. This is not the time to skimp to save a few hundred dollars. An inspection is an investment in your investment, and well worth every dollar. It can protect you unknowingly jumping into a real live money pit.

Your second question was, “Can a house fail an inspection?” As a home inspector, I am not the person passing or failing the home. I am simply being hired to report the condition of the home, and in some cases perform some additional testing (Radon, Drug pollution, termite, etc.) After the inspection, I deliver a report to you and your agent. The report documents any problems I have found. Once I have explained my findings, you are the one who determines if the house passes or fails in your estimation. Most real estate contracts have clauses that allow the buyer to either back out of the sale, request the seller fix certain defects, or accept the home “as-is”. So, once again, the inspector doesn’t pass or fail the home, but you can, based on the results of the inspection.

Mark Nahrgang is the owner of Kingdom Inspection Network Group – St. Louis and is a professional NACHI certified building inspector in the St. Louis metro area. Mark performs home inspections as well as commercial inspections throughout St. Louis and St. Charles County.


One Response

  1. Thanxs Mark, that answered some of my questions. In the state of Illinois, these “inspections” cost approximately what???? Approximately.

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