Home inspections come with many predisposed beliefs. We are here to bust those myths. Some are based on antiquated practices, others by sheer folk lore.
So, in my best Casey Kasem voice, "And now, here are your top 20 Home Inspection Myths".
A Long Inspection Report Means Big Problems
All of our lives, we have been conditioned to think that more is better. For home buyers and their Realtors, more can have a different meaning when it comes to the inspection report. When a buyer opens an email with the report and sees 80+ pages, they might feel a little overwhelmed and wonder if this house is going to fall down around them in the next year. Inspectors detail the reports into three major categories: major concerns (structure, moisture, safety - need to be fixed immediately), repairs or upgrades (not life endangering - recommend addressing), and maintenance (items to consider maintaining through the years). In all, a lengthy inspection report does not mean you are purchasing a money pit.
Picking Any Home Inspector Will Suffice
Only 30 states require home inspectors to carry a license to do their job. Thankfully, Indiana is one of them. However, when you are selecting the right company for you, make sure to check out their credentials, ask family and friends for their referrals and do an online search.
Home Inspectors Are Used to Help Negotiate the Price
The home inspector has absolutely nothing to do with the price of the house. The home inspector is there only to report on the condition of the home. Nothing more.
Home Inspectors Are Only Helping the Seller/Realtor
Along the same lines as the above myth, the home inspector is not involved in the deal at all beyond documenting the condition of the home for the prospective buyers. Real estate agents should offer you a list of at least three inspection companies from which to choose. Be wary of those who only offer one, or offer to handle it for you, they may be more interested in quickly closing the deal, not what's best for you.
Home Inspectors Can Tell You to Purchase the House or Not
No can do. You may be able to take a car to a mechanic and ask if they would purchase the car themselves; but, if you ask a home inspector, they will not be able to give you an answer. Ethically. Asking such a question of the home inspector puts them in a precarious position if they answer one way or the other.
The Home Inspector Will Find Everything Wrong
Untrue. A home inspection is limited to a VISUAL inspection of the home. As much as home inspectors would love to have x-ray vision, they can not see inside walls. Nor will they cut into walls to see what is going on. Trained home inspectors will do their very best to find the major issues in a home.
Home Seller Has to Make Changes That Are in the Report
Sellers may choose to make a few changes, or none of the changes. This is where your Realtor comes in to help you negotiate with the sellers and their agent. Having good communication with your real estate agent about what will and won't make or break the deal is very important.
Home Inspection is the Same as an Appraisal
The job of the home inspector is check the safety and address any major concerns in a home. The job of an appraiser is to determine the fair market value of the home.
Buyers do Not Need to be Present for the Inspection
While it is not necessary to be present during the inspection, it is a great time to walk through the house again, take measurements for furniture or appliances, and then be able to discuss with the inspector the summary of the report. This is the perfect time to ask questions and learn more about the home you may be purchasing.
Real Estate Agents Shouldn't Attend the Inspection
Your real estate agent is the person who negotiates and advocates for you during the home buying process. If the agent is able to attend the inspection, they will have a leg up on what to expect from the report. However, the agent should avoid trying to steer the inspection and let the inspector do his or her job.
You Can't Ask Questions
Please ask questions! The only way to learn about your potential new home is to ask questions. Sometimes, inspectors forget that home buyers aren't savvy with all the technical terms and home buying can be super confusing all on it's own. If you don't understand an issue, ask away.
Flipped Houses Don't Need Inspections
Undoubtedly a flipped home should be inspected. The quicker a flipped house gets on the market, the sooner the flipper gets a return on their investment. Cosmetic upgrades are easy and often less expensive to put in place. Unfortunately, bigger issues are often overlooked. Replacing cabinets and flooring, hardware and lighting can make a home stunning. But, if the foundation is in disrepair, the pretty insides may crumble to the ground.
New Builds Don't Need Inspections
You may think a new build is in pristine, perfect condition. Why else would you build a home, right? Remember, there are roughly 20 different sub-contractors that come through a new build. Each of these contractors have their own employees who come and go. There most certainly will be mistakes and items missed. Here are reasons why you should always have an independent licensed home inspector double check your new build.
Condos Don't Need Inspections
Purchasing a condo may have you convinced you don't need an inspection since most condominium neighborhoods have some sort of governing unit to take care of the roof and landscaping. A condo inspection can reveal any issues inside the condo for which the buyer is responsible, saving you money in the long run.
Radon Should Only be Tested if there is a Basement
Radon occurs in every home, whether on a basement, crawl space or slab. Many people have the notion that if the living space is not below ground, there is no cause for worry with radon. This couldn't be further from the truth. Radon seeps in through foundational cracks, joints, well water and exposed soil. Better safe than sorry.
The Home Inspector Won't go into the Attic
Is the attic a part of the home? Then, yes, the inspector should go into the attic. There may be a few things that prevent them from accessing the attic, such as an access panel that has been nailed or painted shut, storage in the closet, but the inspector will reach out to the sellers to get permission to open the attic access or schedule to come back. The attic can tell all kinds of stories about proper venting, roofing, structure issues and insulation, just to name a few.
The Home Inspector Will Test for Asbestos
Unless the home inspector is licensed to actually test for asbestos, they will NOT test for asbestos. The home inspector WILL identify flooring or ceiling tiles that resemble an asbestos product, but they will not test for that. An environmental agency needs to perform the test. In Bloomington you can reach out to Bloom Environmental or VET Environmental.
City Approved Work Means Up to Code
Au contraire mon frère! A city inspector often have very full schedules and are not able to devote the amount of time it takes to fully inspect a home. If the city inspector misses a violation of the code, this does not mean the code has been approved. And, although not having permits pulled for work makes an inspector a bit more suspicious, it does not have an effect on the inspection itself.
Small AC Units Won't Cool the Entire House
AC units should be carefully sized to accommodate the size of the home. There are many factors that go into the sizing. Check with your local HVAC company for an assessment.
Home Inspectors are Deal Killers
Our favorite myth of all time. "The inspector killed the deal!" Blaming a home inspector for finding issues in a home is like blaming the doctor for finding cancer in your body. The home inspector was hired to determine the condition of the home. Some homes have been neglected for years and it shows. Others, the neglect is not so obvious.
There you have it, your top 20 home inspection myths debunked.
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