Buying a property? The process can be stressful. A building inspection is supposed to give you peace of mind, but often has the opposite effect. You will be asked to absorb a lot of information in a short time. This often includes a written report, checklist, photographs, and what the inspector himself says during the inspection. All this and what you notice yourself makes the experience even more overwhelming. What should you do?
Relax. Most of your inspection will be maintenance recommendations, and minor imperfections. These are nice to know about. However, the issues that really matter will fall into four categories:
- Major defects. An example of this would be a structural failure.
- Things that lead to major defects. A small roof-flashing leak, for example.
- Things that may hinder your ability to finance, legally occupy or insure the structure.
- Safety hazards, such as an exposed, live buss bar at the electric panel.
Anything in these categories should be addressed. Often a serious problem can be corrected inexpensively to protect both life and property (especially in categories 2 and 4).
Most sellers are honest and are often surprised to learn of defects uncovered during an inspection. Realize that sellers are under no obligation to repair everything mentioned in the report. Keep things in perspective. Do not kill your deal over things that do not matter. It is inappropriate to demand that a seller address deferred maintenance, conditions already listed on the seller’s disclosure or nit-picky items.