Should My Client Get A Home Inspection?

Randy Pierson

By Randy Pierson

Yes, your client should get a home inspection! Whether they are selling a home or buying one, a home inspection is a wise decision. All homes need a home inspection, even new construction. Because, in reality, the contractor is a project manager, meaning he sources out to sub-contractors.

When your client asks for a recommendation, I highly encourage you to only recommend an ASHI certified inspector. ASHI, the American Society for Home Inspectors is the certifying body that educates and certifies individuals to perform home inspections. There are home inspection services available online, but make sure that whoever they send you, is a member of ASHI and has E&O insurance, as well as general liability, in case something breaks at the inspection. Hey it happens!

The best person to do a home inspection for you or your client is a professional home inspector from ASHI. This is an individual who is certified to do home inspections and is equipped to do them. If you use an inspector who is not a member of the ASHI association, you run the risk of not getting an inspection report that is 100 percent correct. There are home inspection services that you can recommend, but make sure that they send inspectors who are ASHI certified and insured.

Advantages for the Buyer

It’s obvious that a home inspection will give your client insight into the condition of that home before they commit to purchase it. However, there are many people who buy homes without doing an inspection, only to find out they need to spend more money doing repairs than initially assumed. If you want to ensure your client steps into a purchase they won’t regret, make sure they get an inspection before they move forward with the purchase.

I can’t tell you how many times I hear, “Well, it’s being sold as is. Should I still get a home inspection?” My usual retort is “Don’t you want to know what condition as is, is?!” It is truly important to make an informed decision when purchasing a large investment.

Once the inspection is complete, you and your client will complete the request for repairs, outlining your client’s cosmetic requests as well as items from the inspection that you and the client find material or concerning. Now it’s crunch time! The question at that time becomes whether to ask the seller to repair the items or to ask the seller for a credit for those repairs.

In my experience, the buyer should ask for a credit and have the repairs done on their own terms. In this route, the buyer can choose the companies or contractors they want for the repairs. Additionally, the repairs and the corresponding warranties are also in the buyer’s name. The best approach is to aim for a price reduction as your client will have more control and it will lower their tax base.

Advantages for the Seller
People who are selling houses – including real estate agents – have realized that being proactive and conducting a home inspection before the selling process begins is a wise decision. Knowing what’s going to possibly be revealed is very advantageous in a real estate transaction. It gives you and your client the opportunity to be prepared. Sellers will know what is wrong with the property ahead of time and can make the appropriate repairs at reasonable costs. I’ve heard agents negotiating over minor issues like broken or missing outlet covers and lights that aren’t working. In these situations, sellers offer hundreds of dollars of credit to fix these minor issues that could easily be resolved ahead of time at a significantly reduced cost.

Now, I’m not saying that everything has to, or will be fixed. There are a lot of variables that will affect that outcome of that decision. Either way, it’s best to get your client in a position to make that decision before the clock is ticking, especially, given the current market conditions.

Whether you are a buyer or a seller, a home inspection is a must in a real estate transaction. As it gives your client the information necessary to make an informed decision. I’d also recommend that you send your clients a regular reminder to get a home inspection. An ASHI certified inspector will check the electrical, plumbing, structure and many other items for wear and tear, as well as typical settlement damage or deterioration. Being able to stop and take corrective action before it becomes even more expensive to repair is the right thing to do and can save your client money in the long-run

“There’s never time to fix it right. But there’s always time to fix it over again!”

Randy Pierson has been a certified American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) inspector since 2000. He also holds certification as an ASTM commercial inspector as well as being a board certified ACAC residential mold inspector. Randy gives many informational talks to his broker and REALTOR® clients. He has been a member of the SBAOR – Affiliates in action since 2002. He is also past president of the NACHI Los Angeles Chapter, and is currently serving as ASHI – California Chapter president. Randy has a Bachelor of Science in accounting and an MBA. In his spare time Randy loves spending time with his family. Randy and his wife Kristi have seven children.