The Real Estate Browser Volume 9, Issue 12 | Page 14

14 — Say you saw it in The Real Estate Browser of Lynchburg — Volume 9 Number 12 Myths Of Home Inspections By Drew Howard , President, HomePro, Inc. Myth No. 1: A home inspection is the same thing as a home appraisal In fact, these two things could not be more dif- ferent, says Tim Buell, president of the American Society of Home Inspectors and a retired home inspector in Hilliard, OH. “An appraiser’s function is to determine the value of a house on behalf of the lending institu- tion,” he says. “Home inspectors are only inter- ested in the safety of the home—not the value.” That means if the seller offers up a glowing appraisal report, you shouldn’t be swayed into thinking you’ve just saved yourself the price of a home inspection. Got it? Myth No. 2: Home inspectors can advise you on whether to buy the house “That’s not my field of expertise,” says ASHI’s Executive Director Frank Lesh, of the Home Sweet Home Inspection Co. in Chicago. “Often people ask, ‘Would you buy this house?’ I can only tell you about the functioning portions of the house, not whether you should buy it.” And don’t forget: Even though most inspec- tions are done at the buyer’s request, inspectors are impartial. If you think inspections are meant to help the buyer renegotiate the purchase price, Buell says, think again. Myth No. 3: It doesn’t matter which inspector you hire In the U.S., only 30 states require licensing for home inspectors, according to the ASHI. But even licensed inspectors have various levels of training or certification, so it’s up to the buyer (you) to find a competent professional. “Just because someone is licensed doesn’t mean they’re qualified,” Lesh says. “It means they have met a minimum requirement for their license.” Do your homework by getting referrals from professional associations, agents, and other homeowners, and then checking references thor- oughly. Myth No. 4: The inspector will uncover every single thing that’s wrong with the house Much as you wish they could, home inspec- tors simply cannot check every nook and cranny, Buell says. “People think we can see behind walls, but I’m not Superman—I don’t have X-ray vision,” he adds. Rather, home inspectors are guests in the sell- er’s home, which limits what they can do. “We can’t tear into a wall to look behind it, or rip something apart to see why it’s making a noise,” he says. “We’re there for a visual inspec- tion of readily accessible areas of the home, so if there’s a china cabinet in front of something, we’re not going to move it.” That said, home inspectors do use special- ized tools such as infrared cameras and moisture meters that allow them to gather more informa- tion. But buyers should be realistic about what they’ll learn, Buell notes. For example: If you’re buying a house in the middle of the winter, an inspector probably won’t be able to check a roof with 3 feet of snow on it.