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Buyer’s Expectations of the Home Inspection

By Steve Vacha


Expectations can be everything.  If a person has an unrealistic expectation about anything, they will probably be disappointed.  (Some of us football fans will never learn)

When it comes to home inspections, it is important that the buyer understands just what exactly a home inspection is.   If the buyer has unrealistic expectations of what the inspection will do for them, they may be disappointed, angry, or think they made a bad choice.

It is often important for the buyer’s agent to help the buyer understand the home inspection process, and what information they realistically will receive.  If the buyer’s agent can stress to the buyer that the home inspection is primarily for finding major structural and safety concerns, then the buyer will often expect to receive and focus on that information.

To see the home as a whole, instead of focusing on small marginal concerns is the goal.  If the buyer has this expectation from the start, then they will be able to more effectively use information in the home inspection to decide if there are important concerns that need to be addressed.

The old adage works here: we do not want the buyer the miss the overall value and assets of a home for the minor discrepancies:  “Not seeing the forest for the trees.”

During the walk-through process, the inspector can help the buyer to see the concerns that are raised in perspective.   I must always remember that some people have little experience with the real cost of repair or replacement of the various items in a home.  For example, some buyers may think an average furnace can cost $10,000.  Helping a buyer to understand the process or simplicity of some repairs can help to ease tensions or unnecessary stress.

Most home inspectors follow ASHI Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics when completing a home inspection.   The American Society of Home Inspectors is the oldest, largest, and highest profile organization for training, testing and supporting ongoing education for home inspectors. Their Standards of Practice helps guide inspectors in the performance of their inspections including which items are to be inspected.


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