Human nature is ‘funny’ and, as Realtors, we come across all kinds. ‘Did the home inspector find too much?? ‘ ‘They must be making things up.’ ‘Did the home inspector find too little??’ ‘Obviously, they’re incompetent!’ It can be a no-win situation depending on what side you are on, buyer or seller.
I have had both buyers and sellers assume the inspector and I are in cahoots! Offended as I may be, I suppose I understand the logic. The less they find, the smoother the negotiations, right?? Although that might make sense, let me tell you that strategy would be extremely short sighted. The after closing phone call when the buyer calls to report something amiss with the home, is dreadful. I would much rather the home inspector red flag more than less. Trust me, we all want/need to hear about the ungrounded plug, the breach in the firewall, the faulty grading, the lack of attic insulation around the HVAC. So on and so forth.
However, the scope of a home inspectors job is limited. I can’t speak to the sinner or saint probability, but I can assure you they are no Superhero. Your inspector absolutely can’t see through walls, and your inspector can’t see into the future. An Inspector's job (According to Walt Steppenwolth..."How to become a Home Inspector") is to report conditions as he/she sees it at the time of inspection. ...not the cause .... not the fix .... not the estimated cost.
Sellers tend to get agitated, if not downright offended by what the home inspector reports. I have many times had to calm a seller down. It usually goes something like this…. ‘That guy is an absolute idiot. There is nothing wrong with my house. I’ve lived here for 12 years and never had an issue with the (fill in the blank here)’. Then I say, ‘I realize you haven’t had a problem, and your home is amazing! They just need to point out potential issues so it doesn’t come back and bite you later’. This dialogue is usually much longer, taking 30+ minutes and the sellers sometimes walk away questioning if I am on their side. Ouch. ☹
The reality is, the home inspection is a basic picture of the home overall. The more that is brought to light, the better. The more the buyer is aware of, the better. So sellers: go into it with an open mind. Your home is not perfect and even though it has worked for you does not mean it is A-Okay. Buyers: don’t freak out. Just because an outlet is missing a GFCI, this is not ‘grounds’ to ask for an electrician to re-wire the home!
I believe the Home Inspection is worth every penny, and I believe it genuinely benefits both the buyer and the seller. So, don’t skip an inspection but also realize the home inspector doesn’t have x-ray vision or a crystal ball. They would charge a lot more for that.