MILITARY VETERAN OWNED & OPERATING 7-DAYS A WEEK
MILITARY VETERAN OWNED & OPERATING 7-DAYS A WEEK
I have never seen a perfect house and there is probably not such a thing, in terms of faults or minor issues. Time, usage, and especially weather, degrade houses and the materials within them. Because of this, there may come a time that you discover something wrong with the house, and you may be upset or disappointed with your home inspection. Why is this ...........
Intermittent 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 when you simply turn on the tap. Some roofs and basements only leak when specific conditions exist, such as the wind coming from a certain direction. Some problems will only be discovered when carpets were lifted, furniture is moved or finishes are removed.
These problems may have existed at the time of the inspection but there were no indications or clues as to their existence. The inspection is based on the past performance of the house. If there are no clues of a past problem, it is unfair to assume the inspector should foresee a future problem.
We Always Miss 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. We note them simply as a courtesy. The intent of the inspection is not to find the $200 problems; it is to find the $2,000 problems. These are the things that affect people’s decisions to purchase.
The main source of dissatisfaction with home inspectors comes from comments made by contractors. Contractors’ opinions often differ from the inspectors. Don’t be surprised when three roofers all say the roof needs replacement when the inspector said that, with some minor repairs, the roof will last a few more years.
Last Man In Theory
While the advice given by the inspector 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 they are the last person to work on the roof, they will get blamed if the roof leaks, regardless of whether the roof leak is their fault or not. Consequently, they won’t want to do a minor repair with high liability when they could re-roof the entire house for more money and reduce the likelihood of a callback. This is understandable – if you are a contractor in this situation!
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 forgotten or 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:
1. Conditions 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 was snowing, there was storage everywhere in the basement or that the furnace could not be turned on because the air conditioning was operating, etc. It is 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 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
Home Inspectors are generalists; we are not specialists. The heating contractor may indeed have more heating expertise than we do. To reiterate the doctor analogy: The walk-in doctor is a generalist – he/she makes a diagnosis on what they see and hear, at the time. They know a fair bit about most things medically, but, will send you to a specialist if they think this is prudent or necessary. The home inspector plays the same role in the home buying process – the inspector knows most thing about the house and will refer you to a specialist if the need arises for a more specialist assessment.
5. An Invasive Look
Problems often become apparent when carpets or plaster are removed, or when fixtures or cabinets are pulled out, and so on. A home inspection is a visual examination. The inspector doesn’t perform any invasive or destructive tests.
6. Not Insurance.
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 that a home inspector charges. It would also not include the value added by the inspection.
For 2022, I am continuing to offer a 15% discount on Home Inspection Fees to all Nova Scotian Health workers on production of a current Official Identity Card.