Home Inspection Reports and Repair Requests

Home Inspection Reports and Repair Requests

Home Inspection Reports and Repair Requests

So you’ve found your perfect home and the home inspection report has arrived. Home inspection reports are long and sometimes a bit confusing to read and problems WILL be found.  The inspector is paid to find the problems, not the perfections.  Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a “perfect house” (at least, as far as an inspection report goes).  The purpose of the inspection is so that there are no surprises once you’ve purchased–you know exactly what you are buying. Knowledge is power, but what do you do with that knowledge?

The report is soooooooo long.

Don’t panic, a long inspection report is normal.  The inspector is paid to be thorough, so it’s a good thing! Just because there are findings (and there will be), it is NOT a reason to panic.  Inspections are based on today’s building codes and not the code from the year the home was built.  As you can imagine, building codes, methods and materials change quickly, so an older home will have items that are not up to the current code that are listed as “deficiencies.”  This does not necessarily mean there is anything wrong, it just means that they would not be built/used in the same way if the home was built today.  A good example would be a home built in the 1950’s likely will not have GFCI outlets in the kitchen or bathrooms, unless the plugs were updated later.

Should we walk or should we run?!

The short answer is: what do you think? Only you can answer if the inspection went well or not. An inspection report’s results are truly in the eyes of the beholder. What is a big deal to me may be no big deal to someone else and vice versa. If some of the findings are of an important nature, the buyer can request repairs from the seller.

So…what do you request?

There is no blanket answer for this, as every house and every buyer is different.  It all depends on what matters to you as the buyer—you may not be concerned with any of it and no repair request needs to be made. However, sending the whole report as a “repair request” is not the answer. Go over the report with your agent and see which (if any) items are important to you. Keep in mind that repair requests are not a blank check and the sellers are under no obligation to agree to anything. To keep the repair requests in the realm of reality, they should either be broken components or safety concerns. A repair request is not a way to get a free kitchen remodel (bummer, right?). It is best to break the worrisome inspection findings into categories–the most important categories are:

  1. Broken / Non-Performing Items: If something is broken or not performing.  (Example:  The inspection report finds that the Central A/C is not working—requesting an AC service would be a reasonable request.)
  2. Safety Issues: If there is a high safety risk, the item likely needs attention.  (Example:  Live exposed electrical wiring near the bathtub—a repair request to eliminate this hazard is definitely legit.)
  3. Non-Essentials: Think of this as your “to-do list” for your future maintenance.  These are not major issues, but should be monitored in the future.  You should never ask for aesthetic changes based on your preferences—that is not the purpose of a repair request. (Some examples: Power washing the porch or painting over an ugly colored wall.)

A home inspection is optional.  However, I would strongly encourage anyone buying or selling real estate to get a home inspection.  Yes, it is an extra expense.  However, not everything will be listed on the seller’s disclosure–the current owner may not even be aware there is a problem.  Best case scenario, you get a “clean” inspection and there are no major problems.  A few hundred bucks will help you sleep much sounder knowing that you are making a wise purchase.  Worst case scenario, major issues can be uncovered that can save you thousands of dollars down the road.  The more you know, the better you will feel about your purchase or the better you will feel about knowing when it is time to walk away. At the end of the day, it has to be right for you in order to move forward.

Lisa E. Priest is an inspection enthusiast and an East Texas Area REALTOR® with Picket Fence Realty, Inc. You can reach her via phone or text at 903-948-3343 or read more at BuyPalestine.com.