What Really Matters in a Home
Buying a home? The process can be stressful. A home
inspection is supposed to give you peace of mind, but it often
has the opposite effect. You will be asked to absorb a lot
of information over 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 make the experience even more overwhelming.
What should you do?
Relax. Inspectors are professionals, and if yours is a
member of InterNACHI, then you can trust that he/she is among the
most highly trained in the industry. Most of your inspection will
be related to maintenance recommendations and minor
imperfections. These are good to know about. However,
the issues that really matter will fall into four categories:
- major defects: An example of this would be a
- 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; and
- 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.