Six Home-Inspection Myths

Having faulty or mis­guided beliefs about home-inspec­tion services can lead to poor buy­ing processes and final decisions.

Dan Steward, president of Pillar To Post, North America's leading provider of home-inspec­tion services, offers responses to some of the most common myths about home inspection.

Myth: All qualified home inspectors are alike.

Truth: Just because someone claims to be an inspector--even a certified inspector-doesn't mean he or she is qualified. Not all states require home inspectors to be licensed. Before choosing an inspector, examine the person's credentials and be sure you trust not just the certification but the certifying body. You can find if someone is a member of the Ameri­can Society of Home Inspectors or the National Association of Home Inspectors on line at www.ashi.org or www.nahi.org. Another good standard for finding a home inspector is to ask him or her how many inspections they perform in a year. At least 350 inspections per inspector is a good number.

Myth: The inspection report functions as a list of repairs the seller needs to complete.

Truth: The seller can choose to use the inspection as a repair list, or as a negotiation tool to move the deal forward.

Myth: The home inspection will go fine without your presence.

Truth: You don't need to be there, but it's a good idea and a great way to learn how to operate systems in the home and under­stand its condition. It also lets you ask questions of the inspector and the seller.

Myth: You don't have to bother getting a home inspected if it's being sold "as is."

Truth: A home sold "as is" should certainly be inspected, so you, the buyer, know exactly what "as is" means. These homes aren't being sold free of defects, only with any defects left unrepaired. Many states require the seller to disclose known defects or other conditions that could affect the value or sala­bility of the home, but impose no further obligation.

Myth: A structural inspection is enough.

Truth: A home inspection covers more than just looking at the structure. Home inspectors look at all the home's major sys­tems, such as plumbing, electricity, and any internal climate control systems such as heating and cen­tral air. If a home inspector does find potential problems-or other issues that are dealt with by specialists, such as chimney or structural problems-he or she will recommend a qualified service agent for that.

Myth: You don't need to have an inspection for a newly built home.

Truth: This could be one of the costliest myths of all. A recent Con­sumer Reports investigation found 15 percent of new homes sold had serious defects, and studies suggest things are getting worse. In another study, 41 percent of the homes examined, constructed by various builders, revealed problems such as mold and moisture, and 34 percent had frame and structural problems.

Home inspectors conduct a visual inspection of all elements of a home and check items such as the water heater and built-in appli­ances, building a foundation of knowledge about the home and its systems.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

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