What Really Matters…

Hey Readers,

I had an experience during a recent inspection that got me thinking about buyers’ expectations for their home inspection. How can you know what your home inspection will include? Every individual who is hiring a home inspector should ask their inspector what “standards” he or she follows during an inspection. For example, I am a member of the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors, and I use the standards of practice from InterNACHI (http://www.nachi.org/sop.htm). Prior to the inspection, I discuss with my client where my standards might differ from those, and also note it in the report, if appropriate. This gives my client a clear picture of what he or she can expect to occur during the home inspection.

I realize that buying a home can be very stressful and overwhelming. But remember, your home inspection is supposed to give you peace of mind. Don’t let it have the opposite effect. Most of it is mundane information, recorded for your reference. Things like: the age of your furnace and other major appliances, maintenance recommendations, suggested ideas for improving the home (to perhaps bring it up to modern standards), and occasional minor imperfections. These things are nice to know about and are useful to you in budgeting for future repairs, but the issues that really matter during your negotiation process fall into three general categories:

1. Major defects. An example would be a structural failure, or an active roof leak.

2. Things that lead to major defects. A faucet leaking, that might lead to damaged flooring or future mold growth.

3. Safety hazards, such as loose stairs, or exposed electrical wiring.

In my opinion, anything in these categories should be addressed. Often a serious problem can be corrected inexpensively to protect both life and property (especially in categories 2 & 3).

Many times, the home sellers are surprised to learn of defects uncovered in their property during an inspection. This is just one of the many reasons I recommend sellers have their homes inspected prior to placing their homes on the market. It helps to avoid big surprises that can jeopardize the successful completion of their home sale.

In the end, I would encourage home buyers to remember that NO HOME IS PERFECT. Keeping things in perspective is very important during the process. Don’t walk away from your deal over things that do not matter. Generally, it is not considered appropriate to demand that a seller address minor maintenance issues, nit-picky items or conditions already listed on their disclosure. Your real estate agent’s expert advice will be invaluable as you determine what items need to be addressed and how to proceed through the negotiation process.

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.

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