Buying a home? The process can be stressful. A home inspection is
supposed to give you peace of mind, but often has the opposite effect.
You will be asked to absorb a lot of information in a short time. This
often includes a written report, checklist, photographs, environmental
reports and what the inspector himself says during the inspection. All
this combined with the seller's disclosure and what you notice yourself
makes the experience even more overwhelming. What should you do?
Relax. Most of your inspection will be maintenance
recommendations, life expectancies and minor imperfections. These are
nice to know about. However, the issues that really matter will fall
into four categories:
- Major defects. An example of this would be a structural failure.
- Things that lead to major defects. A small roof-flashing leak, for example.
- Things that may hinder your ability to finance, legally occupy or insure the home.
- Safety hazards, such as an exposed, live buss bar at the electric panel.
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 and 4).
Most sellers are honest and are often surprised to learn of
defects uncovered during an inspection. Realize that sellers are under
no obligation to repair everything mentioned in the report. No home is
perfect. Keep things in perspective. Do not kill your deal over
things that do not matter. It is inappropriate to demand that a seller
address deferred maintenance, conditions already listed on the seller's
disclosure or nit-picky items.