Why are home inspections important?

According to a 2021 survey reported by HomeAdvisor, an average home inspection costs just $340, which I consider to be money well spent for the most important purchase for your family, both in regard to safety and asset protection.

Although home inspections are a normal step in the home buying process, most home buyers are not completely clear on why home inspectors are hired in the first place. From the buyer’s perspective, an inspection provides an unbiased overview of the existing condition of the home and can catch dangerous hazards, major deficiencies and any other items that could result in hidden costs or decreased value of the home after the sale. Without an inspection, the buyer can only rely on their own tour of the home and the accuracy of the real estate disclosure, a lengthy document provided by the seller, who may not have knowledge of any underlying issues. A common response on disclosures is “not known” or “NK” but this can be problematic for obvious reasons. Oftentimes, sellers are hesitant to list defects in their home or highlight any prior issues for fear of losing a deal or settling for a lower price. Outside of potentially costly repairs, the primary responsibility of the home inspector is to find hazards that could harm or injure occupants of the home.

Additionally, a home inspection supplies a written record of the patent defects in the house. Simply put, a patent defect is something that a skilled third party like an architect, engineer, or home inspector would find upon close inspection of the property. If the buyer is unaware of deficiencies, after closing they assume responsibility for the condition of the home as is regardless of needed repairs, so the inspection provides a chance to negotiate value based on the report. If a home inspection is waived, any major material defects could lead to massive repair bills for the new home buyer to correct. If the inspector makes a mistake and misses any major deficiencies, the buyer is usually covered through the inspector’s errors and omissions insurance policy. Without this safety net, the new home buyer must either pay out of pocket or sue the seller, resulting in a potentially lengthy lawsuit to prove that the real estate disclosure was deliberately misleading or fraudulent.

Overall, a home inspection can be a lifesaver, both literally and financially, so do not skip it to save a few dollars!


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