A thorough pro will look at the foundation and the framing to make sure nothing is cracked, warped or rotting, and examine the roof for problems with shingles and gutters. Inspectors should also look for plumbing leaks and make sure the water heater, wiring, heating systems and fireplaces are safe.
So what constitutes going too far? A less helpful inspector might dwell on things like surface mold, chipped paint or other superficial problems, or present buyers with a long litany of issues, with no context about their relative importance and no estimate of the cost of fixing them.
The trick is finding an inspector who can relay the critical information and put it in context, says Dave Moersen, of HomeCheck Home Inspectors in Gaithersburg, Md., who’s a veteran of more than 4,500 home inspections. “I used to think this job was 95 percent technical knowledge and 5 percent communication, but now I think it’s the other way around,” says Moersen. “Homeowners just want answers.”
Bohdan Mastykaz, a Redfin real-estate agent in Miami, says the best inspectors take pictures and include them in their report to the buyer: “Pictures make everything black and white, and it’s far less subjective that way.”
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