Monday, October 12, 2009

Home Inspections and pitfalls

I have written about the use of home inspectors to prevent yourself from becoming the victim of real estate fraud. I stressed that hiring a home inspector is only the beginning of the process. The buyer must follow through to determine what areas the inspector's report may have missed. Inspectors will not move items in the house and will not speak with the seller. Piles of boxes or furniture can easily conceal a defect.

Inspectors have missed roof leaks and other areas of water seepage. Inspectors have missed floor damage as well as mechanical failures. That the inspector missed these items does not relieve the seller of responsibility for fraud, but the buyer should not wait for the outcome of a lawsuit to protect himself.

The same policy that causes inspectors to miss concealed items often causes them to report items as faulty that have nothing wrong with them. Inspectors confronted with unplugged items have reported those items as faulty rather than plug them in before completing the report. The inspectors' refusal to alter the status quo may be quite sound from the perspective of protecting the inspector and the buyer from claims for damaged items in the home, but that policy places limits on what the inspection might accomplish.

As I wrote before, use home inspectors when you purchase your home. But know the limitations of the inspection process and work to overcome those limitations.

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