Home Inspection | Lynne Thompson, REALTOR | Real Living Real Estate

The Purpose of a
Home Inspection

Keeping in mind virtually all of the housing stock in our local area (Greater Boston) is older construction and ‘used’, every home has imperfections. Traditional older homes offer the character and charm that is popular. Newly constructed homes are still worthy of an inspection process, and often are sold with a builders warranty. The purpose of a home inspection is to educate a buyer about the property, and should not be viewed solely as a vehicle to return to the negotiating table. An inspection, especially to a first-time buyer, can be hard to absorb, as a new prospective homeowner often does not have any reference point to interpret the information. I can offer you guidance and counsel, and refer you to reputable inspectors. On occasion, the inspection can be intimidating; after all the inspector’s job is to pinpoint deficiencies, and an inspection process is generally not leaning on the positive side. That’s normal, and less unsettling, if you know what to expect going in. However, you should expect to budget funds towards repairs suggested by the home inspector as well as changes you wish to make as a preference. It would not be unusual for that sum to add up to many thousands of dollars—which often can be managed over the period of time you own the home. Take this into consideration when making your offer—so you don’t feel you overpaid when discovering that there are things which need to be fixed. Pricing a property to put it on the market does take into consideration its location, size, configuration, number of rooms, bedrooms, and baths, lot size, overall condition, and supply and demand. No matter how well cared for, no house is perfect.

A home inspector will highlight maintenance issues, look for pests and insects, point out needed repairs, assess structural condition, approximate the age and condition of the roof, and evaluate major systems such as plumbing, electrical, and heat. Every home inspection turns up multiple issues. Often it may be revealed that a chimney needs repointing, a fireplace isn’t lined (current building codes require linings), some electrical wires may be loose or not properly boxed, ropes in windows are broken, older kitchen and baths do not have GFI outlets, and that current issues may not meet updated building codes. You should expect to find some issues in our beautiful older housing stock.

Gleamed from having attended 100+ inspections, each inspector has his own opinion as to the proper maintenance and condition of a specific home. Keep in mind that the issues brought up by an inspection have probably not been a concern to the current homeowner. (From their perspective, the house is functioning fine – they are used to windows that don’t stay up, they’ve been using the fireplace for years, or older pipes are functioning perfectly fine). If a home inspector suggests new windows, an updated electrical system, GFI outlets or lining the chimney, it does not mean that the seller will concur as the seller did not feel these changes were needed during their ownership.

Occasionally, there may be a major issue that is not known prior to an in-depth investigation, especially if the home has been under long-term ownership. In this situation, there is a possibility that such an issue may require negotiating or repair. There are two options, usually a cash settlement, depending on whether you would be comfortable having control of the repair, or prefer the seller perform the repair.