By knowing in advance what home inspectors are looking for, the homeowner can eliminate many potential problems prior to a professional home inspection, realtors can help prioritize those items that will effect the sale and investors will know what to look for when doing market research.
For the Homeowner:
A self guided home inspection provides a step-by-step process that will help a Homeowner/Seller pocket more cash at the close of escrow. By knowing in advance what home inspectors are looking for, the homeowner can eliminate many potential problems prior to a professional home inspection.
Eliminating problems outside of escrow allows the homeowner to leverage time and control expenses in their favor. Having time to collect competitive bids from qualified persons for repairs, utilizing free services often available from local agencies, doing the repairs themselves and having the time to shop for the best price on materials are ways a self guided home inspection can build in more profit when the property sells.
For Real Estate Professionals:
When a client is willing to properly prepare their home prior to a formal inspection the Realtor acquires a more complete picture of a property's condition and thus more effectively advise a seller prior to and during the listing and sale. The Realtor can also help prioritize repair items that will most affect the sale of the property. The non-technical information the homeowner collects by doing a self guided inspection assists the Realtor by creating a more proactive seller.
For the Real Estate Investor:
Real Estate Investors/Buyers are taught that the profit is made at the purchase and realized at the sale. Besides the property's location and features, having a more specific way to look at a piece of property prior to making an offer, purchasing a foreclosure or bidding at auction can have a significant impact on the decision to purchase or pass.
Investors/Buyers who learn how to look at a building from the perspective of a professional home inspector are able to effectively recognize a building's true condition. This ultimately means greater control of costs, resulting in more profit when the property sells or reduced grief while living there.
VERY IMPORTANT POINTS ABOUT HOME INSPECTORS
There are a few points to be aware of regarding the reports of professional home inspectors. The information a report contains could have a direct impact on the sale and sales price of the property.
HOME INSPECTORS ARE NOT BUILDING INSPECTORS
Home inspectors are not required to be licensed in many states and they may not have any hands on construction experience. The report is a visual inspection made by a generalist who is not representing himself as a licensed contractor.
Home inspectors make mistakes like anyone else and all parties are free to get second opinions.
A HOME INSPECTION IS NOT A CODE INSPECTION
Home inspectors need a basis for the report findings. One of the many sources are the uniform building codes. Home inspectors use other sources of information including local building codes and ordinances, manufacturer's installation instructions and the Business and Professions code.
When the home inspector requests information regarding year built or when additions or remodeling construction is conducted, they do so because construction only needs to comply with the building codes in force at the time the building permits were pulled.
A HOME INSPECTION IS FOR A SPECIFIC LOCATION AT A SPECIFIC MOMENT IN TIME
After the inspector has left the site, if a window is broken, the furnace stops working or a toilet overflows causing damage, he or she obviously cannot report these situations.
THE HOME INSPECTOR IS A GUEST IN THE HOME
Inspectors are guests in the home and as such are not authorized to disassemble any fixture or appliance or remove any personal belongings, furniture, rugs or carpets. They should, however, be authorized to operate all the usual components of the home including lights and switches, stoves, ovens, dishwashers, compactors, disposals, spa tubs, hot tubs, generators, fans, garage doors, furnaces etc.
WHAT AUTHORITY DOES A HOME INSPECTION REPORT CARRY?
The homeowner does not have to fix any items just because they were listed in the report unless such repairs are required due to law or regulation established elsewhere. Common sense would dictate that hazardous conditions are addressed immediately but a home inspection report carries no authority requiring any person to take any specific action. However, the information collected during a home inspection could be used by the buyer to ask the seller to lower the asking price or repair or replace certain items.
Repairs or replacements that are conducted prior to any inspection will almost always be less expensive than those requested to be done by the perspective buyer.
PASS OR FAIL?
The home inspection is a visual inspection of the property's condition at the time of the inspection. A pass or fail concept is purely subjective and not an aspect of the process.
VERY IMPORTANT. IF THE INSPECTOR DOES NOT SEE IT OR FIND IT, IT WILL NOT BE ON THE REPORT
HOWEVER, this does not release the seller from the legal responsibility of disclosing everything they know about the property. The seller should not attempt to hide anything they find in their own investigation. That is not only wrong, it is against the law.
In the disclosure process the term "material facts" means anything about the property that could effect the buyer's decision to purchase. These facts must be disclosed by the owner, including any problems that have been repaired. There may be nothing evident to any person who looks at the property but a neighbor could disclose the previous problem for you, and that could lead to a lawsuit.
In the inspectors reports, the terms "Notes" "Issues" and "Findings" each refer to the same thing. They are aspects of the property that are potential hazards, flaws, defects or any condition that significantly affects the value, desirability, habitability, or safety of the dwelling. A responsible home inspector will look for and report on these items.