By: Jim Allhiser President
The term “home inspector” brings to mind report cards where a home “passes” or “fails.”
To some other inspectors this may be their reality. Through confusion and posturing other inspectors get to pretend like they get to make decisions. This is a small and disappointing group of my profession, as most good home inspectors want to make it very clear that home inspectors don’t pass or fail anything!
As a good inspector all I am there to do is to consult. I should take a good look at the home and compare it to a perfect home (which is fantasy, by the way). There is no way that I could predict what my client will find important so I tell them about everything! Besides that, I am not loaning my client money and I am not going to be living with them. I really don’t care if the gutters get cleaned or if the window trim gets caulked properly. I am simply an observer and suggester.
This utter lack of authority can be very confusing to some people involved in the transaction. I frequently hear agents, who should know better, talk about how homes “passed.” Or clients ask me if I “require” this or that. I just have to smile and tell my poor buyers that the only people that can pass or fail things are the people that are buying the home. This can be frustrating for some that wish to hide behind an inspector, but I am about empowering people. With proper education, my empowered buyer can ask the seller to have the deterioration in the flooring repaired and feel that this is reasonable.
Buyers often ask me, “..Would you buy this home?” This is an impossible question for me to answer and that is not a cop-out! The fact is that I have not been looking for a home. I have not been mentally preparing for the change in lifestyle, finances, and the move. I do not know what the school is like. I have no idea what the other similar homes are like. My buyers are frequently much more savvy about the competing homes than I am. They have been doing serious real estate research! I have not. Homes can be a very emotional decision. How could I guess the emotional state my clients are in after spending 3 hours poking around a house?
Trust a good inspector to do a great job at observing most all of the things that buyers will find important relating to the CONDITION OF THE HOME. Ask as many questions as you would like but don’t be surprised if we never tell you if the home passes or fails!