A home inspection is a sampling procedure and will not capture all the issues.
As home inspectors we do our best to identify issues. The work is done by checking a representative sample of items. For example, bedroom windows are checked for proper operation because that is a life-safety issue (for emergency egress); however, not every window that opens is operated. Windows that do not open freely may be indicative of structural (racking, settlement) or component (end of service life) issues.
A home inspection is non-destructive.
For example, if we cannot see the insulation in the wall or ceiling, it is reported as having “No access.” We do not cut into the building envelope to see what is behind the surface material. The condition of hidden-from-view components such as rotten stud framing walls, mold growth on the back side of drywall or leaking concealed plumbing will not be captured in the report… unless there is a visual surface manifestation of the condition (sag, rot, water stains, swelling, delamination).
Do I really need a home inspection?
The short answer is …no you don’t!
This is a recommended service but not a requirement. However we expect the day will come when this is a mandatory requirement in any residential real estate transaction.
Who doesn't need it?
For example, contractors purchasing for lot value, investors who flip real estate, a family planning for major renovations to the purchased property or an experienced home buyer… may all have sources of expertise that they call upon to make that informed purchasing decision.
Who benefits from it?
Now we come to the majority of buyers.
You may be a first-time buyer, new to the city, have a career unrelated to real estate or have zero interest in knowing how heating, plumbing or electrical systems work.
So you have a choice, either hire the expertise to provide you with a clear, unbiased condition assessment report or, rely on your knowledge base and objectivity.
In consideration of the high dollar value of the purchase and the fact that you are likely to be emotionally biased… bringing in an independent authority make good sense.
Its all about risk management!
In business, every major financial decision to purchase an asset includes a risk assessment.
This takes into account health and safety issues, remaining service life, anticipated repairs or replacements and their associated costs.
An inspection report will provide you with all of the above except the cost information. By association guidelines, we are not allowed to provide cost estimates. However we clearly identify those issues where quotes are adviseable, prior to purchase.
When it comes to risk management, surprises are best left for birthdays… but certainly not for a home purchase.