Home Inspection: A Realtor's Perspective

As a realtor for REMAX in Gilbert, AZ, Cynthia Chenier believes that both buyers and sellers can benefit from having the home professionally inspected. But she also points out that current homeowners and those who are having their home built would find a home inspection beneficial.

Before Selling Your Home

“Having a home inspected prior to putting it on the market gives the seller time to correct any issues to get their home in sell-worthy shape,” she says. “The home inspector will provide a report with photos and a commentary. The sellers can use this as a guide and then make it available to prospective buyers, along with receipts for work, etc., to show the repairs have been made. The buyer can see that the seller has stepped up to the plate and has taken every step to make the home in the best shape possible —figuratively ‘kicking the tires’ with a better knowledge of the maintenance of the home.”

When Buying a Home

Potential homebuyers should also hire a home inspector to avoid any unpleasant “post purchase” surprises or to determine if the needed repairs are more than they want to assume. For example, Chenier recalls a sale that fell through after the potential buyer reviewed the report. “In this case, the buyer didn't care if the seller would make repairs. The list of items looked to be far more complicated then it actually was.”

Chenier insists that her clients have a home inspection before signing “on the dotted line” as a way to look at the home from another angle. “This is the largest purchase the buyer will probably be making. I often tell my clients that I can sell a home but I can't build one. The mechanics of the home are nothing I know about or understand,” she says.

As a Current Homeowner

Current homeowners can learn a lot about the condition of their house by bringing in an expert, she says. “Some of the surprises that home owners experience come from the areas of the home that they never spend much time on—usually, the roof. If they haven't experienced a leak in the interior of the home, they suspect that all is good. But, like anything else in the home, it too needs maintenance. Then there is the electrical system. In my experience, home owners are always surprised to find incorrect wiring.”

When Building a Home

For those building a home, a home inspection during various stages can identify and correct potential problem areas before construction is complete. Although city or county inspectors inspect the structure during various stages of completion, if they are overwhelmed with inspections, they could overlook or miss something, says Chenier.

How to Choose a Home Inspector

When selecting a home inspector, Chenier recommends using one who handles both the interior and exterior of the home: ranging from the roof, eaves, attic and porch to HVAC, plumbing, major appliances and the overall structural integrity.

And the cost, says Chenier, is relatively minimal. “Inspectors usually charge per the square footage of home,” she explains. “On an average size house, that could run only about $300.00” — a small price to pay for that extra peace of mind.

Last Updated: 5/2009