Home inspections are not legally required in most home purchases. Although, depending on your location, certain types loans may require very specific inspections. For example, VA purchase loans in Nevada do require a clear Pest/Termite inspection. That said, inspections have become standard operating procedure for the vast majority of home buyers and it’s rare to see a transaction close without at least one. Recently I’ve seen a troubling trend evolve involving a higher percentage of buyers electing to NOT attend their inspections. I think this is a mistake, here’s why:
1) People perform better when they know their being watched: This is not to imply that I think home inspectors are lazy or task oriented, in fact I’ve found the exact opposite to be true. This is more of a commentary on human nature. When you boil it down, home inspectors are in the “service” industry and within reason almost always aim to please. Think about it.
2) You get to ask questions: To say that this appointment is informational would be a huge understatement. More than just a health and safety check, think of it as an orientation. I’ve seen buyers point at some random object and say, “What’s that do?” The Inspector might say something like, “That’s the anti-siphon valve. It prevents outdoor irrigation water from leaching into your home and you will need to ensure that it gets winterized every fall.” Pretty informative right? Guess what, that level of detail rarely appears on an inspection report and it’s quite important.
3) Buyers can customize their inspections: Perhaps you’ve had the experience of living under a leaky roof? Mention that to your home inspector and I’m willing to bet that he/she will take extra care to walk every square inch of the roof on your new home.
4) If you’re there, you’ll receive two reports: The first happens as the inspector is wrapping up. They might say, “That outlet has reverse polarity. What you’ll need to do is turn off the breaker, pull the fixture out and reverse the wires.” (requires a screwdriver) The second, written report will state something like this, “One or more outlets are not wired properly, the entire electrical system should be evaluated and repaired by a licensed electrical contractor.” This statement is not meant to inform the buyer, it’s a disclaimer written by the inspector’s attorney or insurance company.
A big portion of our Northern Nevada buyers are busy professionals relocating from some distance away, traveling back for the inspections can be inconvenient. If you’re hiring a properly licensed and accredited inspector you will receive a written report, often with photos. On the other hand, this might be the most important purchase of your life. I think you owe it to yourself to make it to this appointment.
I do have one last tip for home sellers, for goodness sake stay away during the inspections. They’re going to pick on all those little things you failed or forgot to fix which will make you crazy. Actually, it will make you sound crazy as you attempt to explain why they didn’t get fixed in the first place😊