One of the things I love about my job is that every day is a new day. It never gets boring. We get to meet new people daily and help move them forward with their home purchase. This can be a bumpy ride and the home inspection can be the hardest part to get through so we do our best to make this a positive experience that is mindful of our clients’ experience. We do this by viewing the home buying process as a journey from uninformed optimism to informed optimism. In the middle the buyers may experience various states of pessimism but we make sure we put them on the path to informed optimism. Understanding the mental state of the buyer at each point on their journey is critical to ensuring a successful transaction and a positive experience for everyone.
As I mentioned before, the journey begins with uninformed optimism. The buyer has fallen in love with a property that they really know very little about. There may be some uncertainty based on what was in the Seller’s Disclosure but in general the buyer is excited and hopeful. They have invited us to review the property to verify the condition of the home and that they are not making a huge financial mistake. The home inspector is called in for a reality check.
The results of the home inspection really don’t matter but the home inspector and their report will determine if the buyer goes into crisis mode (and runs for the hills) or if they are ready to move forward. So what is the difference? The goal of every inspection should be to leave the buyer in an informed state. The rose colored glasses are off and the buyer know what they are purchasing. One difference between a good inspector and a bad inspector is how these results are delivered. If all the buyer can see is a long report full of defects then the inspector has communicated poorly and left them in a state of uninformed pessimism. If the inspector has done a good job taking care of their client, the buyer will understand all of the issues in the report, they will know which things they should really care about and they will know what to do about each one. This is a state of informed pessimism and the only thing left is negotiating with the seller. A good inspection report will make this a breeze for the Realtor.
It is really the REALTOR that guides the client from informed pessimism to informed optimism but, make no mistake, there is no way to get from an state of pessimism to optimism without being properly informed. If the home inspector has failed, the deal may fall apart for the wrong reasons. When a seller walks away from a property because they have a poor understanding of what defects have been found or those findings have been blown out of proportion, everyone loses. The Buyer misses the opportunity to buy the house they were once smitten with, the Seller has to go through the process again and both Agents are back to square one.
Our job as home inspectors is to make sure everyone is headed in the right direction. As much as we would like to take our clients all the way to the closing table, we understand our role and we are not part of the negotiation. I am continually impressed with the way REALTORs
overcome surprises that come up in the home inspection. More often than not, the seller is also unaware of the major issues and what to do about them.
It’s difficult to know what you’re going to get when you order a home inspector but there are things you can look for before you hire someone. First, check their online reviews. See what others have shared about their experience. Next, check to make sure they are experienced. A professionally trained and independently certified home inspector has a better chance of understanding their role than someone who is self taught with nothing but online training. An experienced inspector will also be able to communicate their findings in a way that keeps everything in perspective. Finally, make sure that the inspector is available to help request repairs. Home inspectors are not supposed to prioritize their findings but they will certainly let you know if you are giving unnecessary consideration to minor issues that are easy or inexpensive to address later.