Home Inspection

Are Home Inspectors Ever Wrong?

Are Home Inspectors Ever Wrong?

Most of the time when we’re talking home inspectors it revolves around buyers hiring one to inspect the home they’re purchasing. That’s not always the case though. Homeowners and seller’s hire home inspectors too. Home inspectors can identify repairs that are needed or going to be needed in the future and that can avoid costly deferred maintenance for homeowners or give sellers a chance to correct a problem prior to going on the market.
 


I always like to compare a home inspection to going to the doctor to get a physical. It’s not a pass or fail activity. Home inspectors are looking for items that need repair or even replacement, safety items, and do a visual overview of the home. They’re not there to take drywall down, to look behind walls, or do anything invasive to the home. After they complete their inspection they’ll compose a report often with pictures that includes their findings.
 


This poses the question – are home inspectors ever wrong? Let’s start by pointing out they’re human and no one is perfect so based off that alone yes, there are times inspectors are wrong. We’re all wrong at some point in our lives. Aside from being human and capable of error they’re also not able to see behind walls, under concrete, under floors etc. No two home inspectors are the same. Odds are if you have a home inspection done by two different inspectors they’ll have items that are the same in their reports but, other items that one found and the other didn’t or vice versa. A professional and reputable home inspector will recommend further evaluation if he’s unsure of something or feels there’s more that needs to be looked into.
 


Fortunately it’s rare but, I have had a few situations where an inspector listed a full write up on something he or she thought was wrong and needed repair or replacement but, after hiring a tradesmen that specialized in X area it was shown that the inspector wasn’t correct. Occasionally buyers will take the inspectors report as the final word and withdraw from a contract. That’s worst case scenario and it’s always a good idea to get a second opinion before making any decisions.

As with every other profession not all inspectors are created equal. Do your research before you make a decision on who you want to inspect your home or if you’re a buyer your future home. Ask your agent for recommendations and check inspectors qualifications. If something comes up that’s questionable, get a second opinion so that you know where you stand. 

 

 

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    Should Sellers Get a Pre-Listing Home Inspection?

    Should Sellers Get a Pre-Listing Home Inspection?

    A pre-listing home inspection is something I rarely see homeowners want to do. I can count on my fingers how many times I’ve had a client agree to one and while I see both sides of the story I think the benefits of having one outweigh the drawbacks. I’m not going to say one is needed on every single home but, more often than not I do recommend one be conducted.
     


    The majority of the time a buyer is going to have a home inspection conducted, even if the market is competitive and it’s a void only contingency an inspection is highly likely going to be part of the puzzle that has to be put together before closing can happen. If you possess a solid idea of the condition of your home and the opportunity to fix any major problems before going on the market you lessen your risk of your home sale falling apart.

    Let’s look at the pros and cons!

     

    BENEFITS

    Identifying Serious Problems Upfront

    Surprises and real estate are not a good match. Finding out you have a serious moisture problem before you list is far better than finding out once you’re under contract.

     

    Timing For Repairs

    In Virginia, most homes close in 30-45 days and in a typical situation the home inspection contingency is 7-10 days after ratification. This puts pressure on sellers to get any agreed upon repairs done FAST. There’s no time to waste. If you know about them before you list your home you control the timing and can get multiple estimates and have the work done without the pressure of a closing date looming over you.

     

    Cost-Effectiveness For Repairs

    Timing also plays into the cost of repairs. Whether it’s a contractor of your choice or the buyers if you’re on a time crunch your options for who can do the work in the allotted timeframe may be limited. If there isn’t enough time to complete the repair or if the buyer requests a credit you can bet they are going to want more than what the actual repair costs due to the burden being placed on them to then coordinate the repair after closing.
     

    Fewer Repair Requests

    If you’ve already taken care of any deal breakers or large repair items it’s less likely you’ll get a laundry list of repair requests from a buyer. The overall condition of your home is revealed during an inspection and it can either leave the buyer feeling comfortable or make them want to run.

     

    Trust

    I’ve never met a buyer who didn’t appreciate a transparent seller. You can’t get more transparent than sharing your pre-listing home inspection along with repair receipts for any items you took care of. It sends the message to buyers that you’re not trying to hide anything.

     

    The Report

    An inspection report is an excellent tool to have – not only does it allow you to advertise to buyers up front that your home has been professionally inspected it also gives you a great comparison tool to use when the buyer obtains an inspection as well.
     

    POSSIBLE BENEFITS (keyword – POSSIBLE … not always going to apply)

    Higher List Price

    If you get an inspection done and based on the findings determine you need to replace your HVAC or have a new roof put on you may find your agent recommends listing higher than if they’re old and in need of replacement. This is going to apply to significant replacement items, caulking the bathroom isn’t going to make a difference on your list price so you’ll want to rely on guidance from your agent when it comes to what will impact the list price.

     

    Faster Closing

    The less there is to negotiate on the faster closing can occur. If repairs have already been identified and completed you’re setting yourself up to be able to close faster. Now, not everyone wants to close fast so I understand this might not be seen as a benefit for every buyer and seller but, even just knowing you’re waiting to close and everything is ready to go vs. worrying over repair negotiations and timing for repairs is a benefit.

     

    Competition

    Based on my experience the odds of another homeowner completing a pre-listing inspection are low. Think about if a buyer is torn between your home and another home. Knowledge of your pre-listing inspection could sway a buyer or even attract a buyer faster. There’s something to be said for peace of mind when it comes to the condition of a home and that goes for buyers and sellers.

     

    DRAWBACKS
    Cost

    A pre-listing inspection is going to cost you somewhere in the range of $300-$600 depending on what size and type of home you have.

     

    Doesn’t Replace The Buyer’s Inspection

    Although it’s possible the buyer will waive their inspection if you’ve already had one done it's not likely. The majority of buyers will still want to hire their own inspector and quite frankly they should. The pre-listing inspection is provided to a buyer for information only, not in lieu of the buyer having an inspection conducted.
     

    Variance

    No two inspection reports are the same. Don’t expect for something new or different not to be found during the buyer’s inspection if you’ve had a pre-listing inspection. Inspectors are human and that factor alone means there’s going to be varying opinions and findings.

     

    Disclosure

    This is going to vary greatly by each state so I won’t go into much detail but, I will say in most states if you know of a serious issue with your house it needs to be disclosed. Some states require far more disclosure than others so this is something to check with your agent about.

     

    This post was inspired by a comment from Jay Markanich, Northern Virginia Home Inspector who has also experienced the majority of homeowners opt not to have a pre-listing inspection conducted. Think about the confidence you could have when buyers come through the door of your home knowing that you’ve done everything you can to get your home ready to sell.

    Have you sold a home before and conducted a pre-listing inspection? If so, were you glad you did?

     

     

    5 Seller Tips For A Smooth Home Inspection

    5 Seller Tips For A Smooth Home Inspection

    Home inspections are a big part of the process when it comes to selling your home. Most homeowners understand that after a ratified contract there will very likely be a home inspection. While there are some cases where there isn’t, the overwhelming majority of the time it’s the first steps after coming to terms with the buyers.

    There are many reasons why a home inspection is necessary. Often, these inspections are part of a real estate transaction. However, some inspections are also done on new construction, before a builder’s warranty expires, or as part of a home maintenance checkup.

    No matter the reason, people who are involved in a home inspection process want it to be as smooth and as thorough as possible.

     


    The seller’s anxiety commonly associated with the home inspection process can be significantly reduced by the cooperative involvement of an agent. Hence, certain steps have to be taken to prepare a home for inspection and reduce the occurrence of any discrepancies that may occur further down the road. A proactive approach to home inspection helps make the closing process much easier and prevent the home seller from losing a deal.

    When it’s time for the inspection every homeowner wants it to go smoothly and not be a deal killer. Home sellers have enough to worry about without having to wonder if their property will pass the home inspection. Any person who is familiar with the nature of buying and selling real estate knows how much work flipping a home for profit requires, so inspecting a home to make sure the buyer won’t have issues to deal with is a must.

    According to John Fryer, “owner of Fryer Consulting, “Whatever is wrong with your house will be found out anyway… If you disclose problems in advance and provide potential buyers with an inspector’s report, it can go a long way to diffuse anxiety and help the transaction go through.”  

    Follow these 5 tips for a smooth home inspection.
     

    Replace Burned-Out Light Bulbs

    If a bulb has burned out between going under contract and the day of the inspection replace it. If the inspector comes across a fixture that isn’t working they’re going to note it and while they may say it could be just a bulb you can avoid the remark altogether if you’ve replaced burned out bulbs. This is by far one of the easiest tasks a seller can do to avoid remarks about faulty lighting.

    As simple as it may sound, make sure all the light bulbs in your home are working. Remember, home inspectors are required to report everything. Do not think it is insignificant, because a burned-out light bulb may indicate more serious problems than you may think. It could be because of a wiring problem or something else. Before having your home inspected, make sure all your lights work accordingly.

    Replace Filters

    This is probably the second easiest thing a seller can do to prepare for an inspection. A home inspector is going to check every filter in your home and if they’re dirty they’re going to note it and include it in the report. While you’re at it, make sure they also fit securely, improper size or fit is also something that comes up frequently in reports and is easy to avoid with proper preparation.

    Access To All Areas

    Have a shed that you keep locked? Be sure to leave it open or leave a key for it to be accessed with the day of the inspection. Have boxes or furniture in front of the electric panel? Move it out of the way. Have a crawl space that’s tricky to locate? Leave instructions. It’s an inspector’s job to examine everything about your home and in order to do that they have to be able to access it.

    Unlock all your doors prior to the arrival of a home inspector. Seeing as how the investor needs to view every area of your property, it makes sense to prepare every area for the home inspection. Unlock all the gates and doors to a garage, shed or crawl space.

    Also, make sure to provide unobstructed access to the service electric panel, water heater and all attic openings and crawlspaces. If there is attic access in your garage, move your car out of the garage.

    It is also necessary that you provide the home inspector all the proper access codes for your lockboxes. Make sure that the codes you provide operate properly by testing them in advance. There are times when an inspector will try to gain access to a property only to find out that the code does not work.

    Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

    They’re going to be tested; make sure they’re fully functional prior to the day of the inspection.
     


    Minor Maintenance and Repairs

    Homes take constant maintenance and while these really should be done prior to listing your home I see them come up in reports all too often. Cracked caulking around windows and doors, missing shingles, slow draining sinks/tubs, non-functional doors, missing or disconnected downspouts, cracked windows, broker shower diverters, and overgrown trees/shrubs.

    In addition to the above items make sure your utilities are on and that you are prepared to be away from your home for a few hours. The time it takes for the inspection will vary by the size and type of home. If you have pets you’ll also need to remove them from the home for the duration of the inspection.
     


    Being prepared for the home inspection and presenting your home in the best condition possible will decrease your chances of the buyer walking. The more you take care of upfront the less you’ll have to worry about or have to negotiate on in the future.

     

    How Do You Find the Right Home Inspector?

    You can’t underestimate the importance of finding the right home inspector as you prepare for a smooth home inspection process. Not all home inspectors are created equal—some are better in terms of knowledge than the others.

    Here’s a list of the steps you should take to find the right inspector:

    • Find someone who wants you present

    A good home inspector will always want the homeowner to accompany him throughout the home inspection process. That is because he wants you to get the most out of the experience, rather than just look at their report at the end.

    • Request for a sample report

    Another good indicator of a good home inspector is the quality of his home inspection report. Since many home inspection agencies offer sample reports on their websites, you can check for clarity, formatting, and whether or not they include photos. If a home inspector can show you a good report, that’s a sign that he’s a good inspector.

    • Go through review sites

    These days, reviews tell a lot about how good or bad someone or something is. If you want to know if a home inspector is a good find, Yelp, Google, Review and Angie’s List are great places to check for customer reviews. In addition to good ratings, a good home inspector will often engage with customers and address concerns.

    • Ask about experience and certifications

    Interview the inspector regarding his work history, if he has certifications, as well as if he belongs to any professional organizations. This information can help you get a sense of his level of professionalism and commitment to his industry.

    • Double check his license and insurance

    If you want to hire a good home inspector, make sure that you verify his license and insurance. Good contractors will always provide copies of these items even without you having to ask.

    • Know if he requires extra fee for additional items

    Ask your prospect home inspector if he charges an extra fee for any areas that you want him to inspect that are not usually included in a typical home inspection, such as a septic system or foundation problems.
    Additional Resources 
    The Purpose Of A Home Inspection via Luke Skar with Madison Mortgage 

     

    How To Prepare For A Home Inspection via Moving.com

     

     

     

    6 Common Reasons Homes Come Back On The Market

    6 Common Reasons Homes Come Back On The Market

    No home seller or agent wants to go from pending to active and back on the market. Buyers and sellers make an agreement on a home and everyone including the agents hope the sale goes according to plan but, unfortunately, that’s not always the case. So, why do pending home sales fall through? There are quite a few issues that can come up leading to a home going back on the market.
     


    Re-listing a home as active again can cause buyers to be concerned that there’s something wrong with the home. That’s a myth and not always the case. As long as your agent can determine what caused a contract to fail homes that come back on the market aren’t something to blacklist during your home search.

     

    Whether you are buying or selling knowing why homes go back on the market is useful so that you can do your best to avoid these situations.

     

    Home Inspection Problems

    Problems from the home inspection are the number one reason a home comes back on the market. It’s a home inspector’s job to go through a home and identify problems.

     

    After the home inspection is completed the home buyer may now be aware of some problems with the home and they could be costly. The seller can always negotiate to come to an agreement to have repairs completed, reduce the sale price, or credit the buyer. If an agreement can’t be made between the buyer and the seller the buyer can walk.
     


    Home inspectors can make mistakes occasionally, after all, they are human. However, most of the time they are well trained and in Virginia they have to be licensed so odds are if they find a big issue it’s worth looking into.
     

    There is a way to prevent a house coming back on the market due to home inspection problems. How? Get a pre-listing home inspection before you put your home on the market. Then you’ll know the condition of your home before it hits the market and can address any issues that need to be resolved.

     

    Being prepared for the buyer’s home inspection always works in your favor. Follow these 5 tips for a smooth home inspection.

     

    The Home Didn’t Appraise

    If the buyer is obtaining financing and doesn’t waive the appraisal contingency there will without a doubt be an appraisal conducted on the home. An appraiser will analyze properties similar to the subject home and review recent sales in the area. Upgrades, special features, number of beds and baths, lot size, and location are all factors an appraiser will consider.

     

    If the appraisal comes in at lower than the agreed upon price and the buyer and seller cannot come to terms the buyer can walk.

     

    The Buyer’s Financing Was Denied

    Buyers can get pre-approved and pre-qualified for a mortgage but, that doesn’t mean their financing is guaranteed. If a buyer loses his or her job they could find that buying a home is no longer an option.

     

    It’s good business for a listing agent to contact a buyer’s lender to ensure they are able to qualify. Doing so doesn’t mean it’s a sure thing though. Some lenders pre-vet buyers better than others. Some buyers make dumb decisions such as taking out another loan during the process home buying process that causes them to no longer be able to buy.

    Buyer’s Remorse

    Real estate isn’t exempt from buyers getting cold feet. It can happen for a variety of reasons.

     

    Perhaps they made an emotional decision because there were multiple offers and they got caught up in winning a bidding war. Maybe the home was just so perfectly presented they made an offer before thinking about it financially being a stretch.

     

    Whatever the reason for buyer’s remorse it leaves sellers in a bad spot. Even if a buyer has to forfeit their deposit that still means the seller has to find another buyer. Deposits are in place to discourage this type of behavior.

     

    The higher the deposit the better for the seller. Even with a high deposit that doesn’t mean there’s no chance of the buyer getting cold feet and backing out.

     

    Buyers Could Be Submitting Offers On Multiple Homes

    Unless a buyer can afford to buy more than one home at a time they shouldn’t be making offers on multiple homes. However, depending on market conditions there are cases where buyers are working with an incompetent agent who is willing to write offers on multiple homes at one time knowing the buyer can’t buy more than one.

     

    All it takes is two offers being accepted at the same time and there’s a big problem.

     

    Sound far-fetched? It’s not and it happens more frequently when markets are very competitive. It’s not only unfair to sellers and agents it’s just plain deceitful behavior.

     

    To avoid a home going back on the market because the buyer made offers on multiple homes the listing agent should have a conversation with the buyer’s agent. The goal being to get as much information about the buyer’s sincerity in the offer before the seller accepts it.

     

    It doesn’t remove the risk but, it lessens it for the seller. The more that’s known about the buyer’s intentions the better.

     

    Title Issues Are Uncovered On The Home

    Title issues can put a halt to a sale quickly. There are a variety of ways these can occur; illegal deeds, unknown easements, forgeries, unreleased previous mortgages, and liens.

     

    As soon as a home is pending the title search should be done promptly. The most common title issue is a lien that is tied to a property. This means that the debt has to be paid before the owner can sell the home. If that can’t be accomplished the sale cannot happen.

     

    Closing Thoughts

    Homes come back on the market for a variety of reasons. There are cases when coming back on the market can be avoided and there are others where it can’t be. All parties, agents included should work together to the best of their ability to achieve a successful outcome.  
     

     

    Additional Resources

    Putting A Home Back On The Market Due To A Failed Home Inspection via Bill Gassett of RE/MAX

    How To Get A Mortgage via Luke Skar of Madison Mortgage