Buying a home? The process can be stressful. A home inspection is supposed
to give you peace of mind, but often has the opposite effect. You will be asked to absorb a lot of information in a
short time. This often includes a written report, checklist, photographs, environmental reports and what the inspector
himself says during the inspection. All this combined with the seller's disclosure and what you notice yourself
makes the experience even more overwhelming. What should you do?
Relax. Most of your inspection will be
maintenance recommendations, life expectancies and minor imperfections. These are nice to know about. However, the issues
that really matter will fall into four categories:
1. Major defects. An example of this would
be a structural failure.
2. Things that lead to major defects. A small roof-flashing leak, for
3. Things that may hinder your ability to finance, legally occupy or insure the home.
4. Safety hazards, such as an exposed, live buss bar at the electric panel.
Anything in these categories
should be addressed. Often a serious problem can be corrected inexpensively to protect both life and property (especially
in categories 2 and 4).
Most sellers are honest and are often surprised to learn of defects uncovered during an
inspection. Realize that sellers are under no obligation to repair everything mentioned in the report. No home
is perfect. Keep things in perspective. Do not kill your deal over things that do not matter. It is inappropriate
to demand that a seller address deferred maintenance, conditions already listed on the seller's disclosure or nit-picky