By Emily Davis
Much like you can’t fail a health physical (no matter how poor your health may be), a house can’t fail a home inspection. A home inspection is a visual examination of a house’s overall condition. The home inspection report reports on a house’s physical shape and identifies components that might need crucial repair or replacement. Although what’s covered in a standard report can vary by inspector, typically the following will be included: heating system, central air conditioning system, interior plumbing and electrical systems, roof, attic, visible insulation, walls, ceilings, floors, windows, doors, foundation, basement and all structural components. In reality there is not a grading system, such as “A”, “B”, “C” etc. or a “PASS” or “FAIL” designation. Many buyers would like to have such a way of grading a house or a way of telling them how well the house they’re buying did. It would help them get things into perspective.
If you’re considering buying a house and your inspector identifies problems with it, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t buy it. The findings simply mean you now know what you’re getting into. Inspectors will let you know what defects were found as well as safety hazards. If the plumbing needs to be replaced in six months, at least you won’t be surprised when it happens. If major problems like this are found, the seller may agree to make the repairs. Of course, no house is perfect. It’s quite normal for a home to have some problems. It just depends on how many you’re willing to deal with before you walk away from the sale. In some home buying deals you can even insist that some repairs be made as part of your contract but this isn’t mandatory.
A person may go to a doctor who is a “General Practitioner” for an overall physical checkup. In the process the doctor may listen to the patient’s heart. If he hears something that sounds unusual or irregular, then he will often recommend that the patient see a specialist like a Cardiologist. The Cardiologist may say, don’t worry, you will be fine; or we need to do further testing or special treatment of this condition.
Home inspectors do the same thing. If they see something that is not right or needs further review, then they will recommend a specialist; such as a plumber or electrician to correct or review their findings.
Home inspectors do not grade or rate the over-all condition of a home. They provide an overall view of the condition of the home, with certain limitations. Every home has good qualities, along with some imperfections, just as people. Home inspection reports are not about all the good qualities.
It is left up to the buyer to decide the overall condition and desirability of the home with the information collected in their home inspection report.