Not All Who Wander Are Lost

Not All Who Wander Are Lost
October, 2017 - Mexico

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Home Inspectors - Are They Worth It?

This is going to be a bit of a rant on our recent experience with a home inspector. So get ready!

Our house was built in 1977 and we moved into it in 1984. That means the house is 33 years old, and we've owned it for 26 of those years. It is priced to sell as a used home; not a new one. It is in excellent condition. We have worked hard to maintain it.

About a month ago, we received a low-ball offer from some buyers. After 4 counter-offers, we finally agreed upon a price (still a very good deal for them). Now to the home inspector. He came in and wrote a 26 page report. He actually found only a few minor items that needed to be repaired (which we have since done). However, on every section of his report he wrote "potential for failure" and recommended having a licensed electrician, plumber and HVAC service person inspect all the mechanicals. One pipe in the basement had a bit of rust on it so he wrote there was a possibility of a substantial leak behind the wall and this too should be inspected by a licensed contractor. He charged the buyer $420 for this report in which he took no responsibility and passed the buck on everything.

The buyers went nuts. They now wanted us to pay for licensed contractors to come in and check everything. They also wanted us to purchase a home warranty and replace items that were in perfect working order. They became so unreasonable, we had to back out of the deal.

When we bought this house, there was no such thing as a home inspection. I think the original idea of having a professional inspector check to make sure there weren't any hidden problems was a good concept. Our real estate agent told us that in the past few years some inspectors have been sued because buyer's felt they missed something so now some inspectors are recommending contractors inspect everything to cover their behinds.

So, what was once a good idea to protect buyers has now become a nightmare for sellers. I'm sure not all inspectors are this ridiculous, but here is another example where our litigious society has gone haywire.

Thanks for listening to my rant. I would be interested to hear if anyone else has had this experience with a home inspection. Well, we have another showing on Saturday; maybe this is the one.

Trying to stay hopeful .........


  1. I dread the day we have to go thru this. I understand that in California they are even worse. We also did not have any "inspections" when we bought this monster 22 years ago. Now I know of a dozen defects and will have to fully disclose them all. I don't mind, I just don't want to have to rebuild the house completely!

    We've own it long enough that we have pretty good equity, but the prices feel like they are in free fall still.

    I've been hearing things like 40% off last years prices and last year things were down!

    The only thing that seems to be going up is the cost of repairs and materials!

    Oh how I wish this part were over with. At what price do you just bite the bullet and move on?

  2. Home inspections = another license to steal. They are no better than any real estate agent. Just another person with their hand out and taking advantage of people getting into and out of the real estate market. We have enough of our own smarts to walk through a house and know what it is.

  3. Here is the flip side. We made offer on a home, $340 reduced to $280 for $245 and were thrilled that the offer was excepted. Subject to a home inspection.

    The problem was with the finished basement. No permits. I ordered a city inspection and they found 22 code violations. Apparently the parents just did what every they wanted. Cost $22k

  4. Having been a contractor most of my life, I decided to become a home inspector upon moving back to Arkansas as retirement was nearing. Then I found out that the company I was taking the course from was not approved in this state, and the ones that were, had offices in other states but not here! It would have cost me considerably more to have to go out of state and pay expenses for the duration of the course! So after talking to our local realtor, whom we have known for 30+ years, he indicated it would be a waste of time, and more hassle than it's worth. So now I have the training, but never got licensed.

    On another note, when we moved back here to Arkansas,we were (too) desperate to get out of the city we were in, and found a house here on the internet. The realtor seemed very nice, and sent us pictures of everything we asked for, but we realized later that she made sure that none of the very obvious and visually apparent problems showed up in the pictures! The house had everything we wanted, so we closed on it from 1000+ miles away in November of '04and never got here to look at the place until March of '05... at which point our hearts sunk! We expected some things needing to be done, but we didn't realize that it was going to be a Santa Claus sized list, mostly which involved structural problems. The house had looked so good in the photos that we waived the opportunity to get a home inspection, and we've been kicking oursleves ever since!

    Yes, insurance and safety regulations have forced them into the position of protecting themselves, but sometimes it is money well spent. But buyers also have to be realistic. The problem is that some of them don't know one end of a scredriver from the other, and have to rely totally upon what their inspector says. You did the right thing by dumping that sale. Some people are too much trouble to deal with.

    A "realistic" home inspection is there to point out major problems, especially when the buyer is not available to look at the property. But as you said, rusty pipes are a one of those gray areas, where the buyer should look at it himself to see how bad it is, and then make a rational decision based on the age of the house. If they can't do that, then they should be looking at new houses with new warranties!

    In my case, I am perfectly qualified to examine a potential buy for myself, estimate the repairs "if" they are even needed, and make my own decision as to whether to proceed with the purchase. If I had been here, I could have readily seen that I needed to "pass" on this buy. If all the repairs are done as should be done, it would price the house above everything in the area!

    I don't need a home inspector if I am available to look at the property myself! But from my own experience, most people aren't qualified to do so, and if they are buying out of state as we did, then I think they SHOULD have a home inspector check things out. But as I said, they need to be realistic in their expectations, and use a little common sense! If something is in doubt, a good home inspector should have taken pictures of what he saw, so that the buyer can verify what is in the report. If they can't make rational decisions based on that, then you were right to decline the offer!


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