Home inspection repair request list
The home inspection
You took the time to locate the best home inspector possible to perform your home inspection and hopefully, he was working for you and not working for the realtors as so many of them do. Upon completion of the inspection, the home inspector hopefully went over some of the key issues he / she discovered while conducting your inspection with you at the property so you should at least have an idea of some of the more import issues associated with your prospective property. Even without the formal home inspection document, as a home buyer it would be prudent of you to at least start thinking of the issues discussed and whether or not there are repairs or concessions available from the seller to help remedy some of the issues associated with the property. This is the part where you will need to draft a “home inspection repair request list”.
You just received your home inspection report and now what?
Once the home inspection report is delivered, you will notice that the report may be broken up into two categories. You may have a summary, and the body of the report. The summary will attempt to summarize the “key” issues which the home inspector feels, based on their experience and ability to discern what is a significant issue and what is not. These issues are further categorized by the inspector according to whether or not they are safety related, health related or are costly to improve and will thus pose a finical burden onto the buyer. By-the-way, if you are one of the unfortunate ones who ended up with a checklist style report… go get another home inspection and make sure the inspector uses a narrative style reporting system. Checklist home inspection reports are in my opinion useless.
Disclosure, disclosure and disclosure
You may not be aware that the home inspector is simply a “generalist” and as such will have all kinds of disclosure within the report which holds the inspector harmless in the even you discover issues which you or your contractor feels should have been discovered during the home inspection. It’s my suggestion that you read carefully the entire inspection agreement in order to determine exactly what the inspector will and will not do for you before he even sets foot on the property and before you place your entire life savings into the hands of an individual who is not looking out for your best interest.
Seek further evaluations?
Because some inspectors hide behind the “generalist” position they will have all kinds of jargon about how you need to seek further evaluations by “qualified” individuals. Inspectors will do this because most do consider themselves “generalists” and won’t want to step out of that “generalist” position for fear of being labeled an expert. Being labeled an expert can create other issues not associated with the inspection such as being held liable for misdiagnosing an issue or having the agent not refer you any longer because you come across as a know-it-all just to name a couple.
When you see the phrase “seek further evaluation”, this is where you the buyer will spend more money hiring a specialist to further inspect that specific issue even more thoroughly. Yes, I know… you are saying to yourself, “what the hell did I just pay this other guy for… just to tell me to hire more people? Isn’t that what I paid for by getting a home inspection”? You want to hear my answer to that? I knew you did… my answer is yes, that is absolutely what you paid for, on both counts.
There are 2 reasons for my comment.
- I personally think that although home inspectors are generalists, they will hide deliberatly behind this phrase almost like a crutch and when they feel its in their best interest, but there are many, many things that they are fully capable of diagnosing but for time sake, or fear of digging too deeply and thus being labeled an expert, specialist or deal killer, resulting in banishment from the bread-n-butter referral list of the agent, or whatever… they will not. Now in complete disclosure, there really are things that truly do require a specialist for example, an AC system not performing, a damaged foundation, looking at the roofing paper on a tile roof etc…. No matter what, I will always advocate for home inspectors to possess a General Contractors license and only those who have actually built houses or participated in a build in some extensive manner should perform home inspections. But thats another blog for another time, or you can see it here 🙂 .
- You also paid for the services of a professional to locate and bring to light issues or potential issues associated with the property. For example, the inspector may determine that the AC unit is not cooling effectively, but has no requirement to determine the reason that it’s not cooling, just that it is not. Or the inspector may find that there is leaking from the underside of a bathroom but has no obligation to determine where the moisture derives, nor can he simply open the drywall to find out.
How much will all the repairs cost?
Well that is an excellent question. The best way to answer this is simple… you will need to get estimates. Once you have drafted your home inspection repair request list you will need prioritize it in order to employ the services of individuals who can re inspect the issues your inspector has discovered and attach a quote for repairing the issue(s). “Wow… you mean I have to get an estimate from an individual contractor for all these issues”? Yes, and many times the contractors are all different and each individual contractor may charge you for their time to come out an provide an estimate. “But that can cost hundreds of dollars”. You bet it can.
“Can i just ask the inspector to provide an estimated cost for the “major” items”? You can certainly try asking… but most inspectors will likely say something like… “thats beyond my scope, or I’m not allowed, or it’s against the law, or I’m not a contractor and have never even picked up a hammer so I have no idea” (hehe, sorry I added that), but i’m sure you get the picture. The point is most inspectors won’t be too quick to offer a helping hand here. That said, as a home inspector myself and contractor, I will always provide guesstimates for any issue that I am capable of providing (without additional specialized testing) for my clients in order for them to proceed with their transaction.
So who makes the home inspection repair request list?
The person who makes the home inspection repair request list is you. Sure the real estate agent can participate or offer their two cents (which they are almost certain to do and may even insist) but ideally, it should be you the buyer who makes this list. “you don’t want to upset the sellers… keep it in perspective, it’s not a new house”... these are just a couple of phrases that agents may use to eliminate the possibility that you go off, unhinged and start asking for “the whole enchilada, everything, the entire ball of wax”… i’m sure you get the picture.
You will want to make your list using the information you have from the plethora of contractors who marched through the property and wrote estimates for your repairs. You will also want to start to categorize the issues according to the cost of repair, how the issues affects you personally as well as it’s / their health related or safety significance. Compile the list accordingly and had it to your agent.
Remember, this is your house and at the end of the day, you will be making the mortgage, not the agent.