Buying a home? The process can be stressful. A home
inspection is supposed to give you peace of mind, but often has the opposite effect. You will be asked to absorb a lot of
information in 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
makes the experience even more overwhelming. What should you do?
Relax. Most of your inspection will be
maintenance recommendations, life expectancies and minor imperfections. These are nice to know about. However, the issues
that really matter will fall into four categories:
- Major defects. An example of this would be a structural failure.
- Things that lead to major defects.
A small roof-flashing leak, for example.
that may hinder your ability to finance, legally occupy or insure the home.
- 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.