​What is the Role of a Home Inspector?

A home inspector is a licensed professional, often a former contractor, who checks the safety and assesses physical condition of a home. Home inspectors search for defects or other problems that could become problematic later on. Particularly, they focus on the home’s structure, construction, and mechanical systems. When they discover an item that needs a more thorough assessment by professional with a specific license such as plumbing or electrical, they recommend this in their written report and will not comment to matters beyond their expertise.

It is not the inspector’s job to determine whether you are getting good value for your money. An inspector does not establish value, only whether the home has need for repairs or attention to deferred maintenance.

Buyer’s Inspection

It is crucial for a buyer to have information about the condition of a home. Traditionally, a home inspection has been performed at buyer’s expense after a purchase contract between the buyer and seller has been signed. The written report provided becomes the sole property of the buyer whom is never required to share it with the home’s owner.

Having the sale be contingent upon satisfaction of the home’s condition can give buyers an out from the purchase if serious problems are detected. Buying a home without getting expert advice is risky. It is important for a new owner to understand what upcoming costs they need to consider taking on. If an inspector uncovers major problems costing thousands of dollars or more then buyer must decide to void the contract or negotiate the repairs.

Seller’s Pre-Inspection

The trouble with leaving the buyer to have the home inspected is it leaves them with all the information, which means power, in further negotiations. For this reason, listing agents are now encouraging sellers to have homes inspected as part of the preparation process. In doing so, the seller isn’t caught by any surprises without consequence other than having a professional make repairs. If sellers should decide to make some of the repairs listed on the report, it decreases the items buyers have to try and negotiate.

In fact, having the inspection report and list of repairs available to buyers is now prompting buyers to submit offers without and inspection clause, effectively buying the house ‘as-is’. Given the record high demand for and low supply of housing on Bainbridge Island, buyers are willing to pay well over-asking price for a home while knowing the seller will not have to fix any problem that is uncovered before the close of the home. This puts sellers at a huge advantage as it greatly decreases risk of contract termination while also allowing competing buyers to bid against each other.

Buying Local

Bainbridge Island has some of the area’s top home inspectors, including Dylan Chalk of Orca Inspection Services, who has performed more than 5,000 home inspections. Dylan has a new book out called “The Confident House Hunter: a home inspector tips for finding your perfect house.” You’ll find it at Eagle Harbor Books (please buy local) but right now you can preview it here.

To discuss the advantages and disadvantages of having your home pre-inspected as part of preparation to sell, contact me at [email protected] or 206.399.3641.