Ask The Home Inspector – “Would you buy this house?”

“Would you buy this house?”

I can’t tell you how many times I am asked that. Or often with a first-time, home buyer: “Would you let your daughter buy this home?” The simple answer is: “What I would do has little or nothing to do with what you should do.”

I inspected a home that had been built in the 70’s. So it was older, but it had had many updates, upgrades, and improvements. And the overall condition was extremely high. Based on what my client had said his needs were and what he was looking for, I thought it would be great. In the report, I had noted that the windows and sashes were wood. They were in good condition and operated well, if not quite perfectly. Speaking to my client’s agent later, I learned that the he had walked away from the purchase. Evidently he wanted the seller to replace all of the windows at a cost of some $16,000. The seller was unwilling to do that. So the client terminated the contract. Clearly the windows were a deal-breaker for him. What I would have done was irrelevant.

I did a home which had a number if issues with the brick siding. I thought it might be significant, but when I brought it up, my client said, “I’m a union brick mason.” Problem solved. To another buyer, that could have been a deal breaker.

And it can be the same with a roof or electrical, or any other system. I don’t know what every client’s talents or resources are, or what specific defect may be a personal nightmare.

My job is to identify the defects and deficiencies in the home my client is considering. Then it is up to them to prioritize their importance.

Expectations

One of the first questions I ask a client on site, before we start discussing my findings, is “What are your expectations?” Some buyers don’t mind sloping floors and racked door frames. In fact they may consider them to be “charm”. Others may be a little more OCD, and those things would drive them crazy. It could be a first-time buyer with a tight budget, where any defect is going to be a significant burden. Another buyer might be handy and not mind replacing a sink trap, or a ceiling fan, etc. But he or she may draw the line at getting on a roof. My understanding those things about you help me determine the best way to present my findings to you.

This isn’t to say I will inspect the home any differently. I will go through my same process and identify all of the issues I find. Our conversation on site and the report I write will include them all. But when we talk about my findings, and when I write up the report, it will help me present them to you so you can best understand and assess the information I am giving you.

I did an inspection for clients who were coming from a home they had built eight years prior. It had every detail they wanted designed into it, and it had been brand new when they moved into it. The home I was inspecting for them was over 100 years old, with all of the design obsolescence and wear and tear that that implies. Did it turn out to be the right home? Yes it did. Because they understood it came with the sloping floors and racked door frames (like I mentioned above) and in this case, it also had a foundation that had some flaws that might lead to minor moisture penetration. They saw many of its imperfections as charming. The key for me was we talked about those imperfections and how they fit into their expectations.

A Home Inspector That Works With You

The better I can understand your expectations, the better I can help you understand the condition of the home I am inspecting for you. I inspect homes in the Cincinnati area for home buyers (and also perform seller home inspections) – so whether you need an inspection of an older home in Mariemont, Hyde Park, Oakley or Indian Hill, or a newer property in Milford, Madeira or another town in the area, please contact me to see how I can work with you.

 

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