Buyers & Sellers: How do You Find a Good Home Inspector?

Westcoe Realtors, Riverside Ca…A home inspection is a very important part of a real estate transaction. Generally, no one involved with the sale has much knowledge about construction or the workings of a home…not the buyer, not the seller, and not the real estate agents.

So…you need someone who does understand how a house “works”, and that is the Home Inspector. The question is…how do you find a good one?

Well…finding a good home inspector is like finding a good auto mechanic. You want someone who will tell you the truth, but use some common sense in the application of that truth.

As an example, consider the 3 stereotypical auto mechanics when it comes to discussing the brake pads on a car.

Type 1 auto mechanic scares you to death by telling you the pads are worn, and you would “sure hate to have them go out when you are on the freeway”, and that perhaps to be safe and not hurt your loved ones, you better replace them now before anyone gets hurt, etc.

Type 2 auto mechanic tells you the pads are worn, but not too badly, and that you are good for another 5,000 miles, but they just wanted you to know what you will probably need to do next time…but don’t worry, you are fine for now.

Type 3 auto mechanic looks at the outside of the car, asks you if it is still stopping, and then says don’t worry about it until you can no longer stop when you want!

Ok…perhaps this is a little simplistic, but the idea here is that everyone wants the type 2 mechanic…and in the real estate business, everyone wants the Type 2 Home inspector.

As an example, consider stucco cracks in a home. Most stucco houses have stucco cracks in the outside walls, especially those walls that face the hot sun. Over time, as the sun beats on the wall, the stucco can crack a bit. Mind you, these are not 1″ huge cracks, but rather simply the very small hairline cracks that run up the wall.

The “Type 1” Home inspector will note the cracks, and then go on a big rant about “settling foundations”, or “geological slippage”, or “poor footings”, etc. These inspectors will get a buyer so worked-up about the house falling down on them that the buyer will cancel the purchase of a perfectly good home for them and their family.

Mind you…no one wants any home inspector to ignore any problems with a home. That is uncool and unprofessional.

It’s just the inspector needs to know their job well enough to properly decide what is important, and what is not. Some Home inspectors are so afraid of getting sued that they cover their you-know-what by saying things like the phrases noted above.

Back to our normal stucco cracks. A “Type 2” Home inspector would note the cracks, and explain to the buyer that these are normal in Southern California. They would also suggest that there is no further examination necessary in their opinion, but leave the choice of increased scrutiny to the buyer. In essence, no harm, no foul.

A “Type 3” Home inspector would never even note them on the report.

So…how do you find the right, Type 2 Home inspector? Our best advice is to ask either someone you know who has perhaps just bought a home and had an inspection done, or ask for a referral from a Realtor. As professionals in this industry, we use Home inspectors all the time, and from trial and error, have learned to eliminate the Type 1 & 3 inspectors, and work with the Type 2 professional.

Remember…the goal here is to properly find out if there is anything wrong with the home, so as a buyer, you can make the best informed decision about your purchase. No one wants any buyer unhappy with a home purchase, but we also know purchasing a home can be stressful…and the last thing a buyer needs is a home inspector unnecessarily adding fuel to their fear by not exercising any common sense when it comes to the house.

Good luck, and may you have nothing but “Type 2” professionals in all aspects of your life!

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