Home inspectors may report minor defects | You agent can help you understand what is more serious and what is not.


Home inspectors may report minor defects

Question: I have questions about an inspector. I’m selling my home, and the buyer wanted a home inspection. The sales agent told me they were only looking for major defects, and my home is only 6 years old so I thought everything would be all right. No. The inspector started picking on things like a window blind that has a broken slat, a sink stopper that’s not in the sink and a cracked floor tile. There were other things, but these seemed to be petty and not major defects. What should my response be?

Answer: Any response or negotiations to the buyer should come from your agent. You have a choice to either ignore the buyer’s demands or to spend a few hundred dollars, make the repairs and sell the home. Some sales contracts I have read define a major defect as any defect that costs more than $500 to repair or is a safety hazard. Since the home inspector is not a party to that contract he may list every item they deem defective whether or not it costs $2 or $2,000 to repair.

I know of inspectors who report on minor defects such as a knob missing from a gas log while others have missed the fact that a wood deck’s posts were rotting, and the whole deck was in danger of falling. Home inspectors do not always agree as to what should be reported, and major items can be missed or ignored. It all depends on the inspector’s education, training, experiences and expertise. That is why it is so important for the buyers to research which home inspector they want to hire.

The buyer should consider inspectors who are licensed (where required) and who are insured. Look for experience in the number of inspections completed, any affiliations with nationally recognized home inspector organizations, and check with the Better Business Bureau for information concerning the inspection company. If the inspector says an item is defective, he should also be able to explain why it is defective and how it is to be repaired. According to the Code of Ethics of the American Society of Home Inspectors, the inspector is to report:

1. Those systems and components inspected that, in the professional judgment of the inspector, are not functioning properly, are significantly deficient, unsafe or are near the end of their service lives;

2. Recommendations to correct, or monitor for future correction, the deficiencies reported and

3. Reasoning or explanation as to the nature of the deficiencies reported that are not self-evident. A home inspector is working for the buyer and gets paid whether or not the home sale is completed. The inspector should reveal any conflict of interest with the buyers or sellers of the property. This is the largest investment most people will ever make, and it is important to attend the inspection to learn how a house works and how to maintain the home.



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