Homes are built with a combination on natural, synthetic, and mechanical components. Like people and cars, homes need ongoing maintenance to continue to function properly. Even with ongoing maintenance things will break down. Failure
to address small issues can and often does lead to more costly problems. Gutters
will clog; cleaning them routinely can prevent deterioration at the eaves and water intrusion.
Changes in landscaping can create water intrusion problems. It is wise
to have a bi annual inspection of your HVAC system by a reputable licensed HVAC contractor.
Having a licensed reputable plumbing contractor drain the sediment from you water heater and replace the sacrificial
anode can drastically extend the life of your water heater. Maintaining the paint and caulk on the exterior reduces
wood rot and water intrusion. Replacing one mechanical component can have an effect the way other systems function.
When Things Go
Wrong There may come a time that you
discover something wrong with the house, and you may become upset or disappointed with your home inspection.
Or Concealed Problems Some problems
can only be discovered by living in a house. They cannot be discovered during
the few hours of a home inspection. For example, some shower stalls leak when
people are in the shower, but do not leak during the inspection because we do not stand in the shower for several minutes
while the water is running. Some roofs and basements only leak when specific
conditions exist. Some problems will only be discovered when carpets were lifted,
furniture is moved or finishes are removed. Unethical sellers will conceal known
problems before the inspector comes in an effort to avoid getting asked to pay for repairing the problems.
No Clues These problems may have existed at
the time of the inspection but there were no clues as to their existence. Our
inspections are based on the past performance of the house. If there are no clues
of a past problem, it is unfair to assume we should foresee a future problem.
We May Not Note
Some Minor Things Some say we are inconsistent
because our reports identify some minor problems but not others. The minor problems
that are identified were discovered while looking for more significant problems. In
purchasing the home we trust you made an on-site personal examination of the property prior to writing an offer and addressed
issues you saw when writing the contract. The intent of the inspection is to
find the larger issues that affect people's decisions to purchase
Advice The main source of dissatisfaction
with home inspectors comes from comments made by contractors. Contractors' opinions
often differ from ours. Don't be surprised when three roofers all say the roof
needs replacement when we said that, with some minor repairs, the roof will last a few more years.
Last Man In Theory While our advice often represents the most
prudent thing to do, many contractors are reluctant to undertake these repairs. This
is because of the "Last Man In Theory". The contractor fears that if he is the
last person to work on the roof, he will get blamed if the roof leaks, regardless of whether the roof leak is his fault or
not. Consequently, he won't want to do a minor repair with high liability when
he could re-roof the entire house for more money and reduce the likelihood of a callback.
This is understandable.
Most Recent Advice
Is Best There is more to the "Last Man
In Theory". It suggests that it is human nature for homeowners to believe the
last bit of "expert" advice they receive, even if it is contrary to previous advice.
As home inspectors, we unfortunately find ourselves in the position of "First Man In" and consequently it is our advice
that is often disbelieved.
Why Didn't We
See It Contractors may say "I can't
believe you had this house inspected, and they didn't find this problem". There
are several reasons for these apparent oversights:
During Inspection It is difficult for
homeowners to remember the circumstances in the house, at the time of the inspection.
Homeowners seldom remember that it had not rained in days, there was furniture/storage in the area or that the furnace
could not be turned on because the air conditioning was operating, et cetera. It's
impossible for contractors to know what the circumstances were when the inspection was performed.
2. The Wisdom
Of Hindsight When the problem manifests
itself, it is very easy to have 20/20 hindsight. Anybody can say that the basement
or crawlspace is wet when there is 2 inches of water on the floor. Predicting
the problem is a different story.
3. A Long Look If we spent 1/2 an hour under the kitchen
sink or 45 minutes disassembling the furnace, we'd find more problems too. Unfortunately,
the inspection would take several days and would cost considerably more.
4. We're Generalists We are generalists; we are not specialists. The heating contractor may indeed have more heating expertise than we do.
5. An Invasive
Look Problems often become apparent
when carpets, walls, ceilings, or insulation are removed, when fixtures or cabinets are pulled out, and so on. A home inspection is a visual examination. We don't perform
any invasive or destructive tests.
6. Lack of Understanding Many contractors believe they know the scope of a home
inspection even though they have never performed a home inspection. It is not
unusual for a chimney sweep to clean a chimney, run a $5,000.00 pipeline camera up the flue and say I can not believe the
home inspector did not see the crack.
7. Other Considerations Most every profession has some unethical people. Unethical contractors will quickly blame the inspector, make you believe the inspector
is liable, and attempt to talk you into an immediate repair. They often use fear
to motivate you to make repairs right away knowing if they succeed in their efforts no one will be able to determine
if the problem really existed or was as extensive as they claim, but they end up getting paid for a repair that may not have
been necessary or nearly as expensive to correct.
In conclusion, a home inspection
is designed to better your odds. It is not designed to eliminate all risk. For that reason, a home inspection should not be
considered an insurance policy. The premium that an insurance company would have to charge for a policy with no deductible,
no limit and an indefinite policy period would be considerably more than the fee we charge. It would also not include the
value added by the inspection.