Home Inspection Myths and Misconceptions

This article from Florida Realtors recently caught my eye. For those who are beginning the process of buying or selling, it’s important to understand the inspection process and purpose. You might even want to consider a pre-listing inspection before you put your home on the market! Here are some common myths and misconceptions about home inspections, according to Florida Realtor Magazine, August 2019. I’ve added some comments from my personal experience over the past several years; these are noted in italics.

Home Inspection Myths & Misconceptions

From Florida Realtor Magazine, August 2019 edition

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The inspection is pass/fail.

Home inspectors do not determine whether a house passes or fails. They evaluate the condition of a home and report on defects. Ultimately, it is up to you to decide whether to buy the house.

Home Inspectors determine if a house is up to code.

Inspectors are looking for defects that could affect the safety of your family or the value of your home. Code inspections, on the other hand, look for compliance with certain building standards. Just because something is not up to code, does not inherently make it a home inspection defect.

A great example of this is the ever-present and top-of-mind issue for Floridians — hurricane code. You may hear that a new construction home has “hurricane grade shutters” which means that they are up to the most current compliance code, most recently updated in 2017. A real life example: a friend purchased her home in 2016, when plywood shutters custom-fitted for attaching to the home were “up to code.” The 2017 code put these out of code compliance, but they are not considered a defect in a home inspection. If the home were to be updated requiring permits, the newest code would be enforced at that time.

The seller will repair every defect the home inspector finds.

While the inspector’s report can be used as a negotiating tool, sellers are not obligated to make any repairs if your agent is using an as-is contract. Note: If negotiating over repairs, focus on issues that could be costly to fix.

The as-is contract is commonly used in Florida and while it does not obligate the seller to make repairs, it also does not bind buyers to purchase a home that is in a condition they find undesirable.

New construction homes don’t have to be inspected.

New construction homes can have serious defects that could be costly to repair. Problems occur when a builder cuts corners, manufacturer’s recommendations are not followed or workers simply make mistakes.

In a swiftly-growing area such as Sarasota, it is always a good idea to have new construction homes inspected. Get rid of the “buyer beware” and be a “buyer informed.”

Home Inspectors determine the value of a house.

The focus of the home inspection is the condition of the home; an appraiser determines a fair market value.

…and keep in mind that any appraised value does not necessarily equate with the value supported by the current conditions in our local real estate market. It is not uncommon for a property’s appraised value to be slightly different than the market is supporting at the moment. Just like the inspection, the appraisal can be used to negotiate price after a contract is reached if the appraised value is significantly lower than purchase price.

Home Inspectors check for termites.

In Florida, termite inspections have to be performed by a pest control company.

Source: Cristhian Perez is a licensed home inspector at Home Check Inspections, homecheckfl.com